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teri’s designed life

May 31st, 2010   |   Life

I hope you have a great Memorial Day planned! I myself am planning on a day of relaxing, running, and continuing to perfect my football throwing abilities with Erwin in the park. I’m getting better every time.

Today I’d like to share a sneak peek into the life of one of the amazing people who applied to be a Dream Reporter. Her story touched me so much I knew I needed to share her story here on MML. With Teri’s permission, I present her Designed Life.

Enjoy!

Teri’s Designed Life

My personal statement is “endlessly learning, and searching for things that inspire me or at least make me smile.” My overall dream is to Live a Handmade Life. I have the intention to live a creative life, and develop my art business I formed a few years ago called Vieira Girl that until recently was just a hobby a creative outlet for me.

I have taken drastic steps in my life as of December and quit my job, bought a condo and recently retired at age 31. I know the idea of retiring at age 31 is strange but actually for someone like me it is pretty much unheard of working that long.  My life started off with me being born with the right half of my heart missing.  My childhood consisted of two parts trying to be a normal child and endless days, weeks, and even months in a hospital. To this day that hospital till seems more like home then most places I have lived in my life.  My defect can never be cured so I constantly have to have heart operations every few years to keep things working correctly.  Needless to say I was discouraged from ever going to college, living on my own, and working a full time job. All of which I insisted that I do.  I did it for a few reasons, one because I thought the experience would outweigh the side affect of my disease, and one because people expect you to do them and the satisfaction of doing something that you were told you never would do by some is motivation enough.

It wasn’t till I was 30 when I realized this wasn’t fun anymore, I cherished everything I did but I woke up one day and realized that I was  just surviving to get through the day. I was in a job  I didn’t  love,  and  an apartment that was falling apart with a landlord who didn’t seem to care , and a boyfriend who moved to Europe to follow his dreams of becoming a professor.  So I gave myself a year to really decide if struggling everyday thru the pain of this disease was worth what I was getting from life.  The answer was no. So I decided to retire from working, and pursue what I really love.

So I downsized my life, I had an apartment of things I accumulated from 10 years of living and working in the Boston, and I bought a one room condo/ loft in a suburb by the sea in Massachusetts. I only brought items that I loved, that I needed, and that would inspire me to create the life I wanted.  I moved into my home in late January.  I quickly realized unpacking my stuff in my new place that I was lost.  I somehow thought that if I just changed my life dramatically that I would know what I wanted.  I was so wrapped up for years going thru the motions of day to day; I didn’t really stop to realize that I got lost somewhere. I was so busy trying to keep on pushing, just hoping that my next great experience will be worth the physical pain that I never realized I lost who I really was.  So when I didn’t have that daily routine, the daily struggle I have to say I didn’t know what to do with myself. So I spent February trying to recover, and relax and just try to regroup myself. Don’t get me wrong the last 10 years of living on my own, working, traveling, and friends all those experiences were worth it and I would do it all over again. It just got to the point when it wasn’t and I guess I realized that I lost myself along the way. As March approached I found myself dreaming again, feeling inspired by things.  So I set for some personal and professional goals both of which I hope I will find myself again in the process or rather the journey it would lead me on.

My overall goal is to Live a Handmade Life, which I started a blog about last year, I really like to develop that over the next year. Living A Handmade Life to me, is about incorporating good pure food, quality products and  giving one a sense of being able to create things that not only will make life better but also will make us better people. So in order to start myself in this journey of Living in a Handmade Life, I broke down this year’s intentions into personal and professional as follows.

My personal goal this year is to get in the best shape, and to be a healthy as I can.  Due to my heart defect the concept of running off my extra weight isn’t one that I can ever do.  I will never be able to run. Exercise for me consist of walking or riding a bike and while I was working I was putting my body under too much stress already I was not able to exercises much for years.  Now I am feeling better and have energy again I am starting my journey on getting healthy and in shape.  As of April I started doing moderate exercise and now I am starting on a new healthy eating plan involving organic foods.

My professional goal is to define what direction Vieira Girl is going. Develop a business plan, product line ideas, and challenge my creativity.  Vieira Girl mission statement “creating items to inspire” the concept of loving ever item I am selling and being inspired by what I create.

Needless to say, I just started my journey to Live a Handmade  Life all though it has started dramatically  with me deciding that I need to live for myself, and not waste time on doing thing I do not love doing, and really trying to find myself again.  I know how precious life is, and have battled the thin line of life and death way to many times for comfort , but I have to say I think that in doing so I have a sense of life and it’s unbelievable beauty and  I already love every breath I get from living it.

Okay, confession time: for some reason or another, my enthusiasm has been waning on the End of the Week Exfoliation posts for about a month or so. I thought it was just me being lazy (it can take me about 40 minutes to re-size the submission photos, upload comments, and add links for these posts). But really, I think it’s just time that I take the summer off and come back to this series in the fall. That said, I still definitely plan to exfoliate items in my life that aren’t needed/used/or loved any longer, and I hope that everyone else continues to do the same.

Plus I have a fun summer exfoliation challenge that I’m going to announce next week which will replace this series in June. I’ll give you a very obtuse clue: it has to do with bikini season.

End of the Week Exfoliation

“We have two spare rooms in our house– one of which has only been used a handful of times since we moved in 4 years ago.  So, we decided we’re going to change the room into something a little more useful.  We listed the full size mattress/box spring/frame and wrought-iron end table on Craigslist.  We had inquiries the next day!”

- Abbie

“Here is to exfoliating!  Now, why do I need so many food containers…I don’t even cook.  Enough said.”

- Eva
(see below)
My neighbourhood is having a big yard sale for Habitat for Humanity this weekend (http://planetpalmerston.blogspot.com/). I’ve got two big shopping bags worth of stuff to contribute, including 8 books, a Gilmore Girls dvd, high heeled boots that aren’t my style, a pair of heels that always give me blisters, a teal shade for a lamp I no longer have, a hat, novelty heart-shaped sunglasses, a kitchen scale (was given a new digital one), two photo albums, two picture frames, an alarm clock, a change purse, a laptop adaptor, earbud headphones, and a clothes drying rack. Feels great to get it all out of the apartment for a good cause!”
- Jess
“A pile of clothing that didn’t fit anymore that went to a local consignment shop.”
“A pile of clothing that didn’t fit anymore that was donated.”

I have owned these two packs of folders for years and never found a use for them. If anyone in the Chicago area wants to come pick them up in Lakeview and give them a new life, let me know! They would cost more to ship than they are really worth.

piper’s dream report: week four

May 28th, 2010   |   Life

My life feels like an amusement park lately.  As I take baby steps out of dream world and into the real world of launching my store, I’m finding that I’m experiencing emotions like never before.  It’s like riding a roller coaster of emotions…the dizzying highs, the terrifying lows.  And quite frankly, it would be perfectly fine if it weren’t for those terrifying lows…the ones that make me doubt myself or make me feel like I want to quit (daily sometimes!)…before I’ve even really tried.  All because it’s SCARY.  I’m being faced daily with facing my fears head on…and I can tell that my fingers are digging in deep, they don’t want to be pried from the safety and beautiful fantasy of dream world.


I started my week with the wonderful feeling of being on track.  I had my game plan from the consultant, my new schedule of working on the blog one day and the store the next and I felt for a brief moment “hey, this is starting to come together”.  All I have to do right now is focus on compiling images together of products that I’m interested in carrying.  Easy peasy, right?  I’ve already done the leg work (as in years and years spent pouring over design magazines, websites and blogs and putting all the designers I love onto a spreadsheet).

BUT as I’m taking these steps towards the real world, my confidence seems to waver daily.  I started putting images together of all the products and designers I’ve compiled over the years.  And honestly it’s cool seeing them together.  It’s the first time I’m taking this step…actually putting the products together and seeing what they look like together.  And the good news is that there really is an aesthetic to the products I want to offer!


BUT, I started questioning this.  It’s definitely my style – I would buy any and all of these items.  BUT, as I looked at these images versus the way I decorate my house I became worried.  My decorating style at home is modern classic – I love modern lines but not trendy.  As I looked at the items I want to offer in my store, I started wondering all sorts of things…are they too trendy?  are they too young-skewing?  what is the aesthetic??  It’s a challenge to find modern classic items – that are affordable – something I’m a big believer in.  Do I have enough of those products?  I can say that I do have a fun, whimsical quality to my décor – and this definitely fits in with the products I’m looking at offering.  BUT am I only offering fun, whimsical items and not enough modern classic?

So, as you can see, more questions are starting to arise.  Not fun, dream world questions either…actual questions concerning the direction of the store and what kind of store it will actually be.  And here’s where my perfectionism comes in to play.  I don’t necessarily know the answers…so my confidence plummets.  Questions like:  What do these products together say about my store?  Is this what I envisioned?  What if no one likes these products?  Do these products even go together?  What makes me different from others?  And the biggie…Can I even do this?  Oh, self doubt is terrible isn’t it?

And to top it all off, I have a big problem…have you noticed it?  Don’t laugh…BUT, I have a “BUT” problem.  And not the Sir Mix-a-Lot “Baby Got Back” kind of problem…the “I tend to start & end all my sentences with the word “BUT” kind of problem.  I’ve already counted 5 of them!  I’m beginning to wish I never learned that word (honestly though, I’d just start using a word like “except”…I’m crafty that way!)  “But” really just means that I’m shaking in my shoes…”but” is my way of putting the brakes on and questioning everything…What if I fail?  What if I lose money?  What if no one goes to my store?  And it’s tiring thinking this way!  No wonder I feel like I’m on a roller coaster!


I want to have a “who gives a damn” attitude!  I want to be that person that says “you know what, I like these products so I’m leaping in with both feet and people will show up”!  I loved the line that Brigitte left in her comment the other week.  It’s from Seth Godin: “Write your interests down, circle one and don’t work on anything else until you succeed.”  That really struck a cord with me.  Somehow when you think about it that way it doesn’t seem as scary.  Like if I don’t do anything but work towards my goal of opening my store, how could I not in some way succeed?  BUT…

See…I feel like I want to qualify that statement.  Guess what though?  I’m putting my foot down…I’m not going to do it!  I’m choosing to believe that statement today – I’ve worked hard to get to this point.  And if I can one day say the words “my store’s grand opening is today” then that’s at least something I’ve never done before!

So in order to be able to say that – I have to confront these questions.  I’ve already started by continuing to create these product catalogs.  I’ve also asked friends to look at them to get their feedback (it’s amazing how that helped – sometimes other people not as invested in the outcome can see things that you can’t).  And finally, the reason I’ve been putting these images together is so that I can show them to my consultant and she can give me her opinion and feedback.


And honestly…I see the inkling of a store now.  Not just a dream world store…a real, live, “I’m running it” store!!

I can see how pulling these items together gives me a sense now of who my customers will be and how it can be branded. It’s still a bit fuzzy, but hopefully as I keep taking these baby steps it’ll get more and more in focus!

what if we all had this attitude?

May 27th, 2010   |   Life

I think the world would be a better place. :)

Good morning! Thank you to everyone who watched my OWN Show video and voted! I can’t thank you enough! And if you haven’t had a chance to check it out, you can do so here.

In other news, MML was featured on the awesome, incredible, and fantastic Bright Side Project yesterday. Below you can see my current list of intentional obsessions. And it gets better: hop on over to BSP and enter the giveaway the winner will receive:

One lucky winner is going to have delivered to their front door the following (1) Pom Pom Throw Blanket from Mod Cloth (1) One pair of Jack Purcell Converse Shoes from Need Supply co. (1) Jess LC  Division Chevron bracelet ($48 USD value), (1) Pair Jess LC Division Chevron earrings ($74 USD value). To enter to win by Wednesday, June 2, 2010.

[Thanks to BSP for the images!]

how you can help me

May 26th, 2010   |   ExfoliatingLifeStyle

First, I’ll state the obvious: Yes, my face looks more than a bit strange in that shot. Gotta love web video screen selection, right?

What might be less obvious is what this video is for. Yesterday I found out from a friend that Oprah’s new network, OWN, is hosting a tv show which is giving ten people a shot at creating the television show of their dreams.

And as I’ve said in the past, the reason I have chosen to be self-employed is to eventually “design my life” and spread the message of making under and designing a life with intention. Believe it or not, the idea for my book (which is now in this blog form) was ultimately from an idea for a tv show. A new style of makeover show – a makeunder show.

Growing up I always loved a good makeover show whether it be focusing on the house, room, wardrobe, or hairstyle. I’d always end up inspired and full of ideas – which were largely unrealistic for my budget. What I would like to do with MakeunderMyLife is create a program where I help different people each show “design their life” and then makeunder their spaces. Using the same four steps I recommend here on the blog, Create a Vision, Exfoliate Stuff, Intentional Obsessions, and Reflect and Evolve I will show how these steps apply to the person in the show.

More importantly, I see this show concept as a way to help expand what I’ve already started here on MML- I want to create an online place for community, chats, and support for people designing their life with intention. I envision adding a space for people to submit their own videos explaining why they should be the next participant on the show. I want to have a place where people who do their at home makeunders can upload their story and images. The best part of making under is that it applies to people of all walks of life, all income levels, and is easy to do right away.

If you like this idea and think it has potential, please click over to watch the video and to vote. I’ve genuinely appreciated your support here on MML and I thank you for helping me take my message to the next level. And if you feel super strongly about it and you’d like to share the video with your own friends and family to help me make my dreams come true, I’d be indescribably thankful.

This THINK ABOUT IT has been something I’ve been working on personally since last November. What I have learned over the past several months is that there are two parts to myself, one sits just within my right ear and the other resides deep within my core. Since discovering these two different thought sources, I have felt like a referee or judge listening to two lawyers debate. Before this, the lawyer that shouted the loudest usually got my attention and vote. But I’ve been learning to listen to both arguments calmly and then choosing to pick the point of view I know to be true.

This is rather revolutionary for me because up until this point, my default mode of existence assumed that these two voices were coming from the same source: from my head or “myself.” Now that I’ve been able to really dissect the two characters, I’ve been able to more easily identify which one is speaking and what their motivations are. In turn, I’m now better able to make decisions that are aligned with what I really want, rather than short-term satisfaction followed by remorse or condemnation. This practice is a lot like meditation for sure, though I haven’t spent a moment on a mat or cushion – it’s all been done throughout my daily life.

Here’s what I’ve learned about each of the voices:

The Voice in My Ear – Otherwise known as my Ego

This voice is by far the most chatty of the two. It whispers to me thoughts that it thinks are “good” and “bad.” For most of my life I unconsciously believed this voice was the wisest of the two lawyers because it was louder and closer to my brain. If it feels closer to my thought process than it must be wise, right?

Wrong.

Earlier this week it struck me that perhaps this voice feels as though it’s in my ear because it repeats a lot of beliefs and fears that I hear from society or people in my life. So quite literally everything I’ve heard is then sitting just within the ear waiting to repeat itself to me when I’m in the midst of a tough decision.

This voice is hard to ignore because it is actually very “smart.” It has tons of facts, statistics, personal examples, and thrives on information. It is also the source of almost all the thoughts in my life that begin with the phrases “I think,” “I feel,” “I should,” “What if,” “I fear,” “I deserve,” “I want.”

Those phrases for most of my life have been powerful and persuasive enough for me to follow them quite a bit of the time. In the past, when one of those trump cards came out of the Voice in my Ear, the debate was usually over. But when looking retrospectively on the outcomes of those decisions, they usually were lined with guilt, inadequacy, or disappointment. The short-term reward was generally high, while the long term result left me feeling a bit empty inside.

The Voice inside my Gut – Otherwise known as my Spirit, Connection, or Intuition

On the other hand, the voice inside my core has been a much more mysterious character in my life. Rather than fight with my Ego and participate in the shouting match, my Gut often decided to sit those arguments out. Though I’ve always been one to follow my Gut on really big decisions like where to live, what my purpose is, and how to grow my business, I usually ruled my daily decisions in favor of the Ego. But the more I’ve been able to tap into this well of wisdom, the better my life has become.

Here’s what I’ve learned about my intuition: It doesn’t “think.” Which is probably the number one reason my ego has been able to win so many small battles. As a society, we are trained to think and make “informed” decisions. And anything that doesn’t use a fact or emotion to back up it’s argument has a snowball’s chance in hell at surviving in a courtroom. But here’s the Gut’s magic sauce (ew, that sounds kind of gross, but stay with me here), the gut simply knows what to do.

That’s it.

The gut knows what the right thing to do is.

Rather than spew information like the Ego’s fountain, the gut is a deep well of knowledge. It’s kind of like the saying by Henry David Thoreau that I ironically chose as my high school senior quote:

“Once I forgot all I learned, then I began to know.”

- Henry David Thoreau

Doesn’t this sound amazing? I’m sure some of you have also recognized the knowing power of our Guts. But often, we continue to default to the Ego’s argument for another reason:

Sometimes the Gut doesn’t know the correct outcome to a situation at a specific moment, sometimes it’s advice is to wait patiently for the answer to be revealed.

Yep, I’ll say it again:

Sometimes the Gut doesn’t know the correct outcome to a situation at a specific moment, sometimes it’s advice is to wait patiently for the answer to be revealed.

That’s where life gets uncertain, uneasy, uncomfortable. I get itchy.

And I end up rushing to the Ego’s facts and figures to make a decision, because all I want is to control the outcome to this situation or that problem. I want to be attached to a certain conclusion which I “think” is in my own short-term best interest or at least take a vacation from the uncomfortable.

But, I always “know” the right thing to do is wait patiently for the Gut.

So what do I do when there is a Ego/Gut debate?

So now, during my Ego/Gut arguments I ask myself : “What do I think?” And “What do I know?” I let both sides make their statements and then, I do my best to stick with the knowing. Though it often isn’t my favorite decision which will lead to a sense of (sick) satisfaction or short-term happiness, it does leave me inevitably peaceful.

And you know what? I’ve also come to do a bit of prayer when I’m having a particularly hard time with something. I ask that the volume on the knowing gets turned up so loudly that it drowns the thoughts that are shouting from my ear. I ask that it overshadows all the fears and leaves me with no choice but to follow the right path. And whether you believe in a higher power or not, I think the simple act of asking to hear your Gut more clearly also helps you intentionally pay closer attention to that source within yourself.

In summary, I think what all of this really boils down to is the question: Do I want what’s in my best interest or self-interest?

leigh’s “designed life”

May 25th, 2010   |   Life

Today I have an incredible Designed Life to share with you. From what started as a simple but intriguing comment on a post I wrote a while back, I have met Leigh of An American Girl in Cambodia and asked her to share her incredible story here on MML in it’s entirety. Read on, it’s an incredible look at what is possible even during a tough recession (or maybe even because of it?).

Enjoy!

Leigh’s Designed Life

I’ve always been a wanderlust. I’ve always loved travel and adventure. I’ve always believed that the journey is more important then the destination and that everything happens for a reason.

I’ve always wanted to be of service, but I knew that swinging hammers or building latrines wasn’t right for me. I like fashion, theater and reality television. I want to wear dresses, ridiculous earrings and stacks of bangles to work. I want to be able to do good without giving up the things I enjoy.

Last fall I received the opportunity of a lifetime. I was asked to move to Siem Reap, Cambodia to launch a socially-based weaving business conceived from a simple loom, a need and a thread. So one week before my 27th birthday in December, I hopped on a plane and moved across the globe sight unseen.

While I never dreamed that life would lead me here, looking back it all makes sense. Everything did in fact happen for a reason. Every twist, turn, challenge and triumph was necessary.


I think the road that brought me to Siem Reap started in college. I might have been upset at the time, but ultimately I should thank my parents for insisting that I pursue a second, more practical, degree in addition to theater. Fully expecting to double major in English, I took a political theory class my freshman year to fulfill general education requirements at Drew University. As they say, the rest is history. I loved the exploration of power – both on stage and in politics. I’m certain that the combination of training in the creative process as a theater director while also honing analytic skills in the political science department led me to develop skills as a “pragmatic visionary”.  Throughout my career, I’ve been looked to as a bridge between creative teams and those who are less creatively inclined because I can usually understand the needs of both and negotiate a compromise.

I moved to New York with the intention to thrive in the theater scene. I had high hopes, but the city that never sleeps had other plans. While assistant directing for off-off shows and the fringe festival, I found (like so many theater artists) that I was going to have to find a day job to support myself. After stints as a temp at a couple of financial firms, I finally landed at an iconic fashion brand. The Chief Creative Director and I spoke the same design language (despite the fact that I cut my teeth in theater and she in fashion) and one thing led to another and I became a full-time employee supporting the Chief Creative Director and Director of Visual + Creative Services.

I started a crash course learning about pattern, fabric, color, print + graphic design and the fashion world. I realized that fashion design teams function similarly to theatrical design teams. I felt at home and excited to be involved in the creative process in a completely new capacity. I soaked up information about product development, worked one-on-one with a designer to refine her collections and did as much trend research as time would allow. Little did I know that in a few short years I would find myself across the globe in charge of design, product development and sourcing for a new brand!
The recession hit and my position was eliminated in the fall of 2008. I freaked out. I panicked. I got lucky and found a freelance gig helping to launch a new e-commerce site. I watched an amazing entrepreneur build her business from the ground up. I had my hand in product development, web design, graphic design, public relations, branding and marketing. After six months, the freelance contract ended and I found myself at square one again. I was in a frantic space, grasping at any and every job opportunity. Applying for jobs that I had no interest in or qualifications for at all hours of the day and night. Let’s be honest, employers don’t like desperate. And boy could they sense my desperation.

Burnt out and unsure of what to do next, I stopped and took a step back. I recognized that I was experiencing information overload and couldn’t possibly compute all the possibilities. I knew that I wasn’t going to find a job while I was such a hot mess. So, I took a breather. It was late spring and I knew I needed time. I gave myself the summer. I told myself not to fret being unemployed, that things would work themselves out and that I would really start to put a plan together in September. I set the deadline then promptly let go of it.

During this time, my mentor (who had moved to Cambodia to open her own brand and store) was back in New York and wanted to introduce me to a fellow dreamer who had founded an NGO in Cambodia. Since I was unemployed and had nothing but free time, I made my way into the city to hear all about the amazing things that dreamer was doing. I did something completely new for me – I told him I admired the work he did and would love to be a part of it. At that point, it was one of my rare moments of opening up and staking a claim on the life I wanted. Both my mentor and the dreamer returned to Siem Reap. I felt good about opening up. I gave myself permission to think about what I wanted. I gave myself permission to dream.

Photo Credit, Jessica Swift

I spent the summer dreaming. I blogged. I relaxed. I rested and refueled. I spent a lot of time with my grandfather. We watched old and new movies and ate tons of lunches at the diner. I did a lot of soul searching. I scoured the internet for bloggers and personal development gurus who spoke to the type of person I wanted to be. I added Makeunder My Life, Nubby Twiglet, Gala Darling & Danielle LaPorte to my google reader. I devoured their words and modeled myself in their image – wise, fierce, authentic women who know what they want and dive in. I signed up for a web and graphic design certificate program that was free to the unemployed. I scheduled all of my classes for the fall.

I chose to live as an optimist. I decided what I wanted out of life and told my friends. At first, I only told my most trusted friends. Nervous and fidgety I spilled my guts then waited for them to say, “that’s crazy!” or “impossible!” or “how do you think you’ll do that?” Imagine my surprise when they responded with, “what can we do to make this happen?” Or, “how can I help?” Woah. You mean, there are people out there who want to support me in following my dreams? I was shocked, but buoyed. Encouraged and energetic and happy.

I felt positive. For the first time in my life, I expected that everything would work out.

In September, I began classes in the web and graphic design certificate program. I still wasn’t sure what I wanted, but I knew I had to do something proactive. Then, that dreamer I met in April got back in touch with me to ask if I would be interested in moving across the globe to work for his NGO. Yes! Of course! I jumped at the opportunity.


Now, I’m in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I’m an administrator, creative director, designer, product development and sourcing coordinator, entrepreneur, teacher and so much more. I’m being challenged in ways I never could have anticipated. I’m learning and growing and doing my best to adapt to cultural differences. While many of these roles are new to me, I feel prepared for this new phase of my life.

While much of the last few years was really hard (hello, recession and unemployment!), I now know that I needed that time to explore my intentions and dreams. I was extremely unhappy and needed introspection to commit to living positively and optimistically. I needed the chaos to remind myself that I am in control. Paulo Coelho wrote: the world’s biggest lie is, “that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate.” Now, I know better.

sponsor giveaway: be still pillows

May 25th, 2010   |   LifeStyle

Every now and then I get the urge to splurge on a few new home accessories for my apartment (current intentional obsession: a faux mini-bar). When I find myself hankering for some new decor loveliness I often start checking out blog giveaways for cute home goods. And if you share in my habit, today is the day for you.

Sarah the owner of the awesome etsy shop Be Still has generously offered to giveaway any pillow the giveaway winner chooses! Talk about perfect timing for summer. Her fabric choices are what caught my eye right away. High quality with high graphic impact, so my style. And the fact that Sarah’s offered to let you choose your pillow cover means you get to pick the perfect one for your home.

To enter, simply visit the Be Still Shop and comment here on this post stating which pillow cover you would choose if you win the giveaway. The winner will be chosen next Tuesday, June 1st.

As you can see, I’ve already done a little damage with her awesome orange ikat a circus stripe pillows. The perfect compliment to my neutral sofa or bright white loveseat in my bedroom.

This afternoon we have a sponsor interview with Niki the adorable blogger behind SingleBubblePop. She’s here to talk about her blog, passion, and purpose for 2010.

Enjoy!

Tell Us a Little About Yourself.

My name is Niki McNeill and I am the voice behind SingleBubblePop! I’m a Carolina born and bred petite lady who loves art and design.
During my entire undergraduate career at UNC Chapel Hill, I struggled through Pre-Med courses. Because I was great at science and a leader in high school, I had been convinced that a career in medicine was the best route for me. After taking the MCAT (and bombing it!) just before my senior year, I realized that if I didn’t stop then, I would continue this cycle of hard work and disappointment for the rest of my life. Not to say I would fail as a doctor, but I would never be truly happy with myself if I did not make a living doing what I do best! By the time I graduated, I had a plan to refocus on a career in art & design, but none of the details laid out. I spent the next two years studying Interior Design at Meredith College and Accademia Italiana in Florence, Italy. Now, I’m living in Atlanta, working toward my dream of being a self-employed designer and artist.

How did Single Bubble Pop get it’s name?

When I started SingleBubblePop in 2007, my life was going through major changes. I’d just graduated from a huge university, moved back in with my parents in my small hometown and started a completed different course of study at a school that couldn’t be more opposite from the one I graduated from. The name SingleBubblePop actually was born out of a new found meditation practice. In learning how to meditate, I found that many teachers of this spiritual practice encourage focusing on one serene object or scene to help clear your mind. For me, this was the image of a single bubble, and as I stilled my mind I aimed to make it so quiet that I could hear a single bubble pop. It was appropriate name for the blog because when it began, it was literally just a place for me to make a mental dump of all the chatter going on in my brain at such a pivotal time.

Was there a certain inspiration that sparked your blog?

Blogging for me started as a way that I could keep track of all the new, exciting ideas I was finding on the web and to connect with others at a time when I felt so isolated. It later became a way for me to continually stretch my designer muscles and challenge my artistic mind to constantly seek inspiration. I believe that artistry and design is just like any sport or skill; practice makes perfect! I have continued to blog for over 2 years because I was so moved by the ability to connect with people in an original and completely genuine way. Now, the objective of SingleBubblePop is to provide inspiration and encouragement for others seeking a career in art and design.

What intentions do you have for Single Bubble Pop in 2010?

One of my goals for 2010 is to bring 1000 subscribers to SingleBubblePop. It’s a BIG goal being that we’re just above 200 now, but why not aim high? I really want SBP to become a place where creatives can come on a daily basis and be satisfied with “artfully designed” inspiration. I continue to push myself to create more original content that makes SBP readers want to create more, be more and just live a purposeful life. I’m constantly motivated and encouraged by blogs like Makeunder My Life, FlyGirls, AphroChic and Elements of Style and I hope that SingleBubblePop can inspire others in the way that these blogs speak to me!

karen’s edit, add, appreciate

May 24th, 2010   |   ExfoliatingLife

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Today’s awesome post is brought to you by Karen at Graceful Creative. Enjoy!

Edit, Add, Appreciate

I have been a longtime reader {and admirer} of Makeunder My Life. So when Jess asked me to do a guest post, I was truly honored. The idea for this guest post happened after I left a comment on her latest End of the Week Exfoliation post. I mentioned that I do something similar, but it’s called Edit, Add, Appreciate.

At the beginning of each week –usually on Saturday evenings– I contemplate what small changes I can make to help me be a better me. A more authentic version of myself. The ‘Edit, Add, Appreciate’ process is not my own original idea. I adopted the idea from the book Style Statement: Live by your own design.

Edit one thingmaterial objects, negative thoughts, bad habits, or activities that don’t reflect who you are as a person. It doesn’t have to be a physical thing; Sometimes bad habits and negative thoughts are more detrimental than physical clutter.

Add something. Bring in something or reinvent one thing in your life–thoughts, habits, activities, clothing, objects…Add something that will help you be a better person; And yes, sometimes a new pair of jeans can help!

Appreciate something or someone already in your life. Hug your children and tell them how special they are. Call your spouse, just because. Be extra polite to the guy who makes your latte. Frame that favorite piece of art.

The way I see it, is that you let your Authentic Self guide you in making these decisions. What parts of yourself –tangible or intangible– reflect who you really are? Keep the good things, and ditch the rest!

In the last year, I have edited, added, and appreciated many different things.

Edit

Since I’ve recently put my house on the market, I’ve been cleaning and decluttering like crazy. Like Jess did in March, I am doing my own Throw Out Fifty Things Challenge; therefore, my most recent *edits* have all been the things I’ve been throwing out. I must admit…I love getting rid of things that are unloved, useless, and just taking up space.

381

Add

My most recent *adds* have been new habits that I’m trying to adopt. Last month, I successfully added the habit of drinking a daily green smoothie.

greendrinkThis month, I’m trying to *add* the habit of daily skincare. {I’m 37. Shouldn’t I have started this habit a few years back?!} I am having some success, but it doesn’t come naturally. But when I imagine the best version of myself, I am healthy and glowing and more importantly, I take the time to take care of myself. The best version of me is someone who takes care of herself.

254

Appreciate

For me, this is often the most difficult one to do — taking time to appreciate someone or something. I’m very goal-oriented, and I enjoy doing. Being appreciative of someone or something is more a reflective exercise than an action-oriented task. This last week, I have appreciated a do-nothing week. To clarify, last week was packed full of obligations and an endless To Do list… This week, I *appreciate* that I can just be.

I would love for you to join me and Edit, Add, and Appreciate things in your life. Remember, it’s not about re-creating yourself…it’s about finding the pieces that are authentically you and living it.

mml badge

May 21st, 2010   |   Life

First, I’d like to send a HUGE thank you out there to everyone who has asked to be a Jess LC Ambassador! I just got the first batch of Ambassadors on Jess LC and I will add the next batch early next week. At the end of May I’ll do a round up here on MML with the Ambassador links as well. I’m so shocked at the interest in this initiative that I’m hoping to have 100 Ambassadors by the end of June. So if you’d like to get involved, please let me know (jess@jesslc.com). The details are right here.

I’ve also gotten some requests for an MML badge (above), so if you’d like to add it to your blog, I’d be honored.

Other than that, I hope you have a great weekend planned. I am going to take my “two day vacation” and use it to go the farmer’s market tomorrow (weather permitting), going on a long walk to Navy Pier and back on Sunday, grocery shopping, church, and a sushi date night with Erwin on Saturday.

piper’s dream report: week three

May 21st, 2010   |   Life

This is going to be a recurring statement every week…but it’s so true.  You guys are just so incredibly helpful and supportive.  I want you to know how much your comments mean to me and how they really give me motivation to keep going.  I’m beginning to wonder though how to keep my weekly post here short enough so that I don’t bore you guys to death!  But each week I feel like there’s so much I want to share with you.  So, I’ll do my best to keep it under control :)  A lot happened this week for me though and I really want to share it all with you.  This may go into next week…!


One of the things I used from your comments this week was to take charge of my daily schedule.  I had to come to terms with the fact that I’m not Wonder Woman…I’m not even Bat Girl!  I’m just me…I work a full time job, have a husband and 2 cute dogs that I want to spend time with and a house that we’re renovating.  So I needed to get realistic about what I can (and can’t) accomplish.  I started by taking your advice and scheduling “days”.  One day for blogging and one day for the business.  And then I went a step further.  I took all the to-do items I had listed for one day and set what I thought was a reasonable time frame to complete that item.  Wow, was that an eye opener.  When I listed time frames next to each item…I was out of time for the day…and still had about 8 things left on that day’s to-do list.  Yikes!!  So I’m learning to be more realistic about what I can achieve in a day.  (and also hoping for extra hours in the week to miraculously appear!)

On “business day”, I started reading “The Boss of You” based on your recommendations.  It’s funny because I’ve seriously read a gazillion start your own business/self-help books.  And then you reach that point where you feel like there’s nothing left to learn or it’s just not helpful anymore.  That’s where I was…but, I think I was wrong! (don’t tell my hubby!)  The very first chapter made me realize that sometimes you have to be at the RIGHT MOMENT for the information to be helpful.  A chapter on “hiring people” isn’t going to help me out when I haven’t really hired myself yet!

The first chapter has you write a few lists.  One of them was to write down a list of your strengths & weaknesses.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve done this a bunch of times.  But this time, I didn’t just write the list, pat myself on the back and then not look at it again.  This time, I really looked at the list.  And I noticed that under “weaknesses” I put “being able to describe my vision to others” and “details “.  I’m a big picture type person.  I constantly come up with ideas and grand visions.  It’s the nitty gritty, the details that can stop me in my tracks, especially because my perfectionism gets in the way.


But here’s the thing…I’m the “boss”, right?  Shouldn’t I know all these things?  Shouldn’t I have ALL the answers?  For some reason, this is what I’ve always thought.  I even get angry with myself when I don’t know what to do or how to do it.  But then my ever patient husband and friends asked me the following:

“When you started dancing did you know how to do it?”       Sigh…”No”
“Did you learn from someone else how to dance?”           Sigh…”Yes”

So why would I think I have to know EVERYTHING in order to start and run this store?!  Why would I think that if I’m opening a homewares store that I would necessarily know anything about logo design, or accounting, or web design?  That’s why they have people that specialize in this!  It’s even been on my giant to-do list forever…contact logo designers & web designers.  But something was holding me back from taking that step.  And without being able to figure out why, I’ve felt stagnant.  Not really moving forward on my store.

And then it hit me…my weakness that I listed.  I’m having a hard time describing my vision and concept to others and fine tuning the details.  At another time, I probably would have been down on myself for not being able to figure out things on my own.  But this time…I did what lots of books have suggested…I decided to find someone who can help me.

So guess what my action this week was?!  I contacted some people who specialize in helping small businesses with their concept and game plan!!  I took that baby step (ok, giant leap!) and went with my instinct and scheduled a consultation.


The consultation was setup for Monday for one hour.  As it approached, I realized how nervous I was.  A little bit from wondering if they would like my concept for the online store to wondering if it would be worth the money.  Well, I can’t even tell you how helpful it was!!  I got to talk one on one with someone knowledgeable in the design and home decor industry who could say whether the concept was valid or not, give ideas for solidifying the concept and talk about what my next steps are.  So, first off…phew, she liked the concept!  But as she asked more and more questions (Who is your target audience?  What products are you offering?  What will the online store look and feel like?), I realized that I’m not as far along as I thought.  Like I said before…I thought my next step was to find and hire a logo designer!

But as we talked it became clear that without my concept solidified, without knowing more about who my target audience is and exactly what items I would be selling and what feel I want for my store…how could I really have a logo created along with the tagline and website?  The more we talked, I realized that I have visuals in my head of what my store is like, what I want it to look like, what I want to sell…but to put that into words?  Shiver!!  Definitely one of my weaknesses….so her advice was to put together images of possible products I would like to carry.  This will give me a visual to look at and see what these images are saying, what is the aesthetic being portrayed by these products.  And I decided that I’m also going to do the same for the concept I have for my store.  I’m such a visual person that I think it’ll help me to have images to look at and to give to logo/web designers when the time comes.


I swear it felt like an A-HA moment this week.  I’ve been struggling with taking steps because I was battling one of my weaknesses.  Instead of saying to myself “we all have weaknesses, I just need to find someone who can help me in that particular area”…I’ve been frustrated with myself for not being able to do every single thing that comes my way.  But I think I’m learning that successful business people acknowledge their weaknesses and seek help for them…and then they move on.  They don’t dwell on it.  (that will be something I definitely need to continue working on!)

And here’s the best part – Tuesday felt like a brand new day!  I felt passionate, excited and motivated again…and spent all day working on putting together images.  It’s going to take me awhile but it’s a start!  This coming week’s action will be to continue putting visuals together including a mood board that I’m hoping I’ll have finished to show you next week. And another thing that I’ll talk about next week!  (I told you, I have a lot to tell you!)

So I’m wondering…Do you ever get stuck and not know how to move forward?  How do you guys get “unstuck”?

Yesterday I did a speaking engagement at a Score and American Express OPEN event. I had a great time meeting small business owners and talking about how I’ve grown Jess LC. The keynote address by Lena West was focused on the power of social media. Of course with MML and my online shop, I already know the power of blogging, Twitter, and facebook. But her emphasis on customer recommendations and their importance stuck with me.

After the event, I arrived home to an incredible post written by a recent Jess LC customer, Melanie of Everyday Chic about her Mother’s Day purchases. Again, it confirmed that there is some amazing magic on the internet that allows people to help small businesses, like mine, succeed.

And then last night, I went to a yoga event my friend Stephanie was leading at a Lululemon store. The store manager described the poster sized photos on the walls of local yoga instructors and personal trainers. Apparently, Lululemon has an ambassador program which features store friends who embody their ideals. The program is basically a way to promote local friends of the store.

So…. given both events I started thinking.

I want to try out a Jess LC Ambassador program here on the web.

Basically, I want to extend a hug, a thank you, and a 15% reusable Ambassador discount to all the Jess LC customers and supporters out there who have blogs and would like to become Jess LC ambassadors. Here’s how it will work:

Please let me know what you think about the idea. I’m excited to finally have a way to thank all of those who have extended kind words about Jess LC on their blogs – and hopefully drive some traffic their way as well!

anna’s “designed life”

May 19th, 2010   |   Life

Not long ago Anna, a MML reader, reached out to me and shared her story and I instantly knew that her experience might resonate with others who are looking to find and follow their purpose. What I love most about the journey is that she eventually took something that many would view as heartbreaking: losing her job, and turned it into the biggest sign to pursue what really mattered all along.

Enjoy!

Anna’s “Designed Life”

I originally started my blog last year because I wanted to help others maintain a healthy lifestyle through health promotion, health prevention, disease management, and health education. I have always been interested in health promotion and prevention since I started nursing school.  As my blog evolved, I became more interested in the body-mind-spirit-connection or holistic/alternative therapies.

At a young age, I have always had the desire to help others and became a nurse. Being an Intensive Care Unit nurse has its ups and downs.  I felt good when my patients survived a life-threatening disease and walked out of the ICU. On the other hand, I wept with the family when my patients died.  After being an ICU nurse for 6 years and not being able to save lives, I was burned out from the nursing profession. I wanted to get out of the bedside.

Instead of pursuing a less intense specialty, I discovered Nursing Informatics (or Healthcare Information Technology). At the time, I was really interested in computers and taught myself HTML and other software programs. The starting salary lured me in and quickly enrolled in the program. My ego got in the way and I became unaware and unconscious of my reason for being on earth.  I had forgotten my interest in health promotion and prevention.  I became only interested in making a lot of money and moving up the corporate ladder.

Four years ago, I woke up.  I re-evaluated my life because I became tired of the corporate rat race.  At the time, I was a healthcare consultant.  I quickly grew tired of the consultant lifestyle: working 80 hours a week, traveling every week, staying in a hotel room, and eating dinner by myself.  It was a lonely and depressing lifestyle. I asked my boss if I could stop traveling and take local assignments. He said no. I quit my consulting job without having another one on the horizon.

During that time, I began a self-development journey where I read many personal growth and development books and attended many workshops.  I thought about the decisions that I made from the time I transitioned from being a nurse to an IT professional. When I was a nurse I worked for the same hospital for 6 years and since making the transition to the IT world, I held 4 different jobs. I kept searching for the perfect job because each job I had made me unhappy; whether it was the salary, my boss, my colleagues, or the actual work itself was unfulfilling. Until I realized it was my career that was making me unhappy, not the job or the boss.

During my awakening, I thought my purpose in life was to help others realize their dreams by becoming a life coach.  I enrolled in life coaching school. More than halfway in the program, I realized that helping others through life coaching was not my primary purpose and only a part of it. I felt there was something more but I did not know what that something was.

I eventually found a new job. Three years ago, I made a promise to myself that I will stay in my job until I knew what my purpose is. My current position bought me time to attend life coaching classes and finish.  I finished life coaching school last December but did not start my life coaching business because at that time, I loved my work and had no reason to start a business.

Two weeks ago, I found out the hospital I work for planned on eliminating my department and everyone’s job.  By November of this year, I will be out of a job. I believe we live in an abundant Universe that supplies us with all our needs. I never became angry but saw this as a sign that this is the time to take action. It’s the Universe’s way of giving me a wake-up call.  At around the same time, I read a nursing magazine with an article about nurse practitioners and what they did.  Imagine my surprise when the job description of a nurse practitioner matched the reason of why I originally started my blog.  NP’s focused on disease prevention, health promotion, health education and counseling.   For the past 3 years, I thought about attending nurse practitioner school but always shrugged it off.  I wanted to finish my coaching classes or it was never the right time to go back to school. I would find many excuses not to enroll.


I believe in synchronicity and there are no accidents in the Universe.  Every day, signs cross my path.  After I found out my department will be eliminated, I received an email for a nurse practitioner program open house and saw that they offered a degree for adult and holistic health.  I signed up for the open house right away.  Last week, an unknown caller left me a message. It wasn’t a message at all but in the background I heard a heart monitor and sounded like someone was helping a patient because I heard faint voices and medical jargon.  I took that as another sign.  The Universe is always giving us signs. It’s up to us to acknowledge them.

All this time, I really knew my purpose but never listened to my soul.  Until I started listening to my soul and de-cluttered my mind, I realized my purpose is to be a primary care provider for patients with chronic conditions or diseases utilizing holistic treatments/methods/therapies.  It took me awhile to realize my purpose but in the end, my purpose found me.

In case you’re in town or want to stop by the trunk show on Thursday night…Macy’s is having a gathering for the Sex and the City release from 5:30-7:30.

Good morning. Today I’d like to start a new mini-series called Designing a Business with Intention as a riff on both the purpose of MML, designing a life with intention, and taking into account the business side of Jess LC. Though I don’t have any grand scheme for this series, I plan to share the intentions I have for the company and how that relates to my business strategy.

Lesson: Just because you can grow your business in one way, doesn’t mean that you should.

I’d like to start by jumping into a very important turning point for my company.

Summer 2008: During the closing ceremonies for the Summer Olympics in Beijing, I lay sobbing on a bed in at the Palms in Las Vegas at the end of my first day debuting my Soc Chic collection at Magic, a fashion trade show. That August marked the first year anniversary of working Jess LC full-time. Up to that point in my life, everyone who knew about my company in high school and college thought the story was inspiring and what I had done was commendable for someone so young. Though the first year of business was certainly no cake walk, I was still accustomed to compliments and sometimes astonishment from friends and customers.

Until the first day of Magic.

The shoe designer who generously allowed me to share his booth space at the trade show was a veteran in the shoe industry. His decades of experience made him a wealth of information and advice. But I didn’t expect his (mildly) critical feedback. Rather than tell me how amazing it was that I was self-employed at 23, he looked at my company and told me how I should improve and expand.

In retrospect, the event itself wasn’t that negative. But in that moment I felt scared, uncertain, and overwhelmed. I was just 23! Didn’t he know that all I had accomplished to that point was pretty dang impressive?

So after crying and having a pity party for myself that evening, I was able to recognize that he didn’t mean to point out all I was doing wrong, he meant to show me how to do the right things going forward.

Among his advice was to do trade shows to get more store wholesale accounts and gain industry recognition. This is a standard way to grow a business, especially in fashion, and many well-established brands have taken this route with success. So I convinced myself that I should do trade shows for Jess LC. All the while ignoring the fact that having done Style Max in Chicago twice with my sales reps, participated at Magic with the shoe designer, and visited NYC’s shows – I knew I hated doing trade shows.

For me, the costs, set up, long show hours, and tear down were tedious and unpleasant. Besides talking to buyers about my jewelry, there wasn’t much that I actually enjoyed about the process. But by the end of the trade show three days later, I talked myself into thinking that I might actually like trade shows if I had the ability to decorate the booth with lots of white marble tables, gray walls, and cute lamps.

This (almost) was the end of the story.

Spring 2009: After starting MML and experimenting with online advertising for a few months, I took a moment to reflect and seriously ask myself what I wanted my life to look like. Did I want to be doing trade shows for the rest of my life? The answer, white marble tables or not, was “no.”

What did I really, really want my life to look like?

I wanted to help people through sharing my message of making under. I wanted to have a Westie puppy named Elsie who hung out with me all day while I worked. I wanted an assistant to come in half a day and fill an average of eight online orders and ship them. I wanted to write gift messages for online Jess LC customers. I wanted to work with store buyers directly. And so, for the past year and a half I have done everything I can to make that vision a reality.

And you know what? I couldn’t be happier.* Each day I know that I’m on a path that comes from a deep place within myself. I could have easily settled for the shoe designer’s vision for my company, but by asking myself what I really wanted to do, I realized that just because you can grow a business in one way, doesn’t mean you have to. Furthermore, I cannot deny that in the future I might decide to do trade shows again, but this time that decision will come from my heart, not from others’ expectations.

* Note: My life is far from perfect, and I’m certainly not happy all the time, but I do feel peaceful and purposeful overall.

chicago style blogger soiree

May 17th, 2010   |   LifeStyle

[from left to right: Brigitte of Covet Chicago, David of The Dailey Dish, Kelly, Rachel of The Style Social, me, Crystal of Plush Palate, Bailey of Peppermint Bliss, Alaina of Live Creating Yourself, Diane of A Spot of Whimsy, and Nicole of Making It Lovely]

Over the weekend my Chicago blogging friends, Crystal of Plush Palate and Alaina of Live Creating Yourself put on a little style blogger get together at Sunda downtown. Crystal and Alaina did a wonderful job inviting Chicago style bloggers, securing our awesome spot at Sunda, and scoring free dessert (including an amazing carrot cream cheese ice cream).

It was amazing to meet so many great people with style blogs at one time. Here’s a few more pics from the event (all taken by Crystal).

Crystal of Plush Palate, Alaina of Live Creating Yourself, Bailey of Peppermint Bliss, and Diane of A Spot of Whimsy

Rachel of The Style Social (wearing my Chevron Bangle) and David of The Dailey Dish

Brigitte of Covet Chicago and Rachel of The Style Social

Nicole of Making It Lovely and I (I’m wearing a custom dress made by Rachel!)

Diane of A Spot of Whimsy and Alaina of Live Creating Yourself

Good morning! I hope you had a great weekend. The past few weekends I’ve decided to treat my days off like mini vacations and I have to say, I’ve been loving it. And since I’ve had trouble finishing the end of the week exfoliation post during the actual week, I’m a bit behind again. But here it is nonetheless.

I’m excited to share some new things coming up on MML this week including a trunk show at Macy’s tying into the Sex and the City movie on Thursday night. I’m also starting a new mini-series called “Designing a Business with Intention” (based on the feedback I got from readers a few weeks ago), so stay tuned!

End of the Week Exfoliation

“It hurts to see these go (I wore them just once to a wedding), but if hurts even MORE to keep them (ouch!)  These shoes deserve a more tolerant wearer! Size 7 1/2.”

- Sarah

“The bed we listed on Craigslist sold, so we no longer need the full-size sheets and mattress pad.  Off they go to the yard sale pile!  At this rate, I am going to have one heck of a sale!”

- Abbie

“This is a bridesmaid dress I wore in a wedding about two and a half years ago. It hits me in strange places and I haven’t worn it since. Plus, I already have a black dress I like. Hopefully this one finds a good home at the thrift store.”

- Cathy

“2 printers. One was my husbands and he doesn’t have any of the cords or instructions or software for and another one that like the clothes have been in a box and moved but never used for the last 3 years. We have another one that was a hand-me down from my parents and we have yet to hook it up. It was just time to get rid of the other 2.”

- Katherine

These shoes have been with me since college and since I just got a pair of white Converse shoes, these puppies gotta go.

piper’s dream report: week two

May 14th, 2010   |   Life

I have to say that you all had some wonderful ideas and advice on perfectionism, procrastination and my dreaded to-do lists!  Thanks for all your insights and helpful ideas.  It’s funny because that is exactly what I was hoping for…sort of a sharing of thoughts and ideas to help all of us.  It’s amazing how we all have things we can contribute…and your comments really helped to keep me going this week!


I started right away by tackling my 3 to-do lists.  And I have to say that just moving all the items onto one spreadsheet is making me feel somewhat better.  I don’t have to go to 3 different lists anymore to figure out what I’m supposed to be working on.  Sheesh, no wonder I haven’t been getting anywhere!   Once my to-do list was on one spreadsheet, I knew that in order to take “ONE ACTION EACH DAY” the next step was to prioritize it…UGH.  This has become my Mount Everest, I swear.

Because here’s my problem…what is my priority?

My personal life?

My blog?

My business?

My job?

My health?

My home?

Ahhh, serenity now!  Something’s got to give.  I’ve been running myself ragged working crazy hours…and I don’t feel like I have a whole lot to show for it.  I can’t tell you the last time I worked out, if it wasn’t for my husband our house would be declared a disaster area and I still don’t have a lot to show as far as the store goes.  What am I doing wrong?


Here I was, raring to go on the business after all your wonderful comments when somehow another day had gone by without me working on the store.  Well, this is how I had my priorities set for the day:  #1 updating & working on my blog, #2 visiting other blogs, #3 connecting with people/going through e-mails.  You would have to go way down the list to find business related items.  So first of all, I’m putting the hard things last on the list.  And secondly, my blog is taking up a lot of my time and now I’m wondering if I need to pull back a bit from it.  Okay, deep breath…because for me this feels incredibly difficult to do.  I started my blog a few months ago as a way to not only catalog things I come across that I love and might be good for my store…but also as a way to meet like-minded people and get used to the idea of blogging.  What I didn’t expect is how much I would enjoy blogging and connecting with people….and at the same time, how much time it actually takes!

I also didn’t realize that with my overachiever, perfectionist craziness tendencies, how much things like comparing myself to other blogs and how many readers that visit my blog would affect me…negatively.  I’ve tied up the success of an online store with the success of my blog.  And I’m having a hard time letting this thought go. So instead of every day working on my business…I work on my blog.

I’m spending so much time on creating my own posts as well as visiting other blogs and keeping up with social media that I don’t feel like I have time for anything else.  So I feel like this week opened my eyes.  I’m not Wonder Woman (I know, shocker, right?!). If my dream is to open a store, shouldn’t that be my #1 priority and where I’m spending my time and my mental energy?  (well, not counting that my family is #1!!)


I’m just not sure yet how to make it my #1 priority – because won’t blogging ultimately help with my store?  And without focusing on the blog, how do I grow it since it’s fairly small?  In other words…where should my time be spent?  How do I do both?

As you can see, a lot of mental energy is being expended…so many questions that I don’t have the answers to yet.  But maybe that’s how it works…because all these questions and thoughts resulted in a big action (well, for me it is!) that I’ll talk about next week!!

I would love to know your thoughts.  How do you manage blogging/social media and/or working on your dream?  How do you get things done without being a superhero?!

How exciting! Today’s DYL interview features Jill Vegas of Speed Decorating. She’s one of the first published authors we’ve had here for a DYL. I really enjoyed reading her intentions in part because she has already accomplished something many of us are interested in: publishing a book! Not to mention that the topic happens to revolve around my favorite hobby: decorating. Talk about a match made in heaven.

Reading Jill’s intentions and knowing all that she’s accomplished, I find myself inspired and encouraged: if she can do it, we can fulfill our intentions too.

Enjoy!

DESIGN YOUR LIFE: Jill Vegas, author of Speed Decorating

Family

I want it all! I want to have fun, adventurous date nights with my husband.  I want goofy, silly, playful time with my son. I want to be present and watch him grow and develop. As a family I want us to spend time together.  Quality time for us to grow together.  I want to make memories that are full of love!
I am committed to planning date nights once a week with my husband.  As a working mother I am still finding the balance. I found a Gymboree book full of simple, playful activities that I can do with him.  I am making sure that I take the time to have devoted time with my son!  I am scheduling and researching really fun and exciting outings we can do as a family.

Home

I want to make my home beautiful each day.  Picking up after myself, having good habits so that my home is clutter free.  By the end of each day I make sure I pick up.  Some days my husband and I have a hard time putting anything away. I want to come up with a game so that we both clean up and set a good example for my son.

I think it is so important to love my home right now.  It doesn’t cost anything to clean and straighten your home.  I recently needed a new wall unit in my living room.  The one I wanted was too expensive, but I found an awesome substitute at Ikea.  It makes me happy, I just need to get the rest of the doors on!!

Body

My body…I am nine months postpartum.  I have eight more pounds to lose  to be at my pre-pregnancy weight.  I recently signed on to do a 30 day challenge.  It involves exercising 5 days a week not eating after 9o’clock.  I have broken both of those promises.  But I am choosing to live in integrity and rat myself out.  It doesn’t feel good to not do what I said I was.  I feel much better when I am honest about it.  I am doing pretty good, but I can do better.  I am also learning to listen to my body. I made the right decision when I chose to go to bed early instead of work out, because I wasn’t feeling well.  It is a balance, and I am learning.

Career

I have recently started to make a shift in focus with my career.  I am a home stager and that is what I have been doing, with the hopes that it would turn into more.  And it is starting to turn into more.  I wrote my book and things are starting to grow.  I am working closely with a friend on developing a product line…woohoo!  I have also been talking about one of my dreams of having my own tv show.  I feel like I am in the middle of an exciting process. I am meditating daily and just floating downstream!  I am really grateful.

Money

I have financial goal of what I want to make by the end of this month. It looks like I am not going to make it. I am acting as if I have already have it.  I am actively seeking out work.  Working towards my goals!  I heard that Shakira said something like “Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.”  I like that!

Right now I am shooting a piece for NBC Open House NY.  We are redoing the rec room of a New Jersey firehouse.  These guys are everyday heroes and they deserve to love where the hang out!  I am honored to be a part of it. My goal is to use my creativity to help people have a home that they love. I have been doing a lot of work to spread my passion.

Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.

Today’s THINK ABOUT IT comes from a passage I read yesterday from Happy for No Reason, by Marci Shimoff. As I’ve mentioned in the past, this book though similar to a lot of positive psychology research I’ve read, but does have home runs as well.

From reading comments, emails, and Dream Reporter submissions, I know MML has a huge following of people who are itching to follow their purpose or passion but are at the moment still at “desk jobs” doing something that seems uninspiring in comparison to their vision for their life as a shop owner, yoga instructor, designer, or life coach. But what Marci points out in this passage below, is that the job you have now can bring happiness or sadness, depending only on your personal perspective.

One day an old woman walked up to a dusty building site where three, strong, young men were working hard laying bricks. She walked up to the first man and asked him what he was doing. He replied rather rudely, “Can’t you see? I’m laying bricks. This is all I do all day– I just lay bricks.” She then asked the second man what he was doing. He replied, “I’m a bricklayer and I’m doing my work. I take pride in my craft, and I’m happy that what I do here feeds my family.” As she walked up to the third man, she could see that his eyes were full of joy and his face was as bright as the day. When she posed the same question to him, he replied with great enthusiasm, “Oh, I’m building the most beautiful cathedral in the whole world.”

- Happy for No Reason, pg. 218

Her point about choosing to have a good attitude about whatever it is you happen to be doing reminded me of another example I read in the book, Women, Food, and God, by Geneen Roth. Geneen speaks about how a woman she knows was disappointed by the mundane tasks she was assigned her first year out of law school at her first law firm. The woman’s purpose and excitement for law was shattered as she did “grunt work” day in and day out.

In the evenings, this woman began to eat food to escape the feelings of disappointment concerning her career and purpose. Since the woman was married and her husband couldn’t leave his job, she felt stuck where she was doing something that made her unhappy. Over time, the emotional eating caused a significant weight gain. At that point she redirected her energy on losing the weight and successfully gave herself something else to monitor and control: her eating. She wanted to escape the pain she felt from her career and replaced it with a decoy: weight loss.

But Geneen points out in the book that the woman’s problem with her weight, it was her unhappiness in that position. She even went further to say that the woman had three choices:

  1. Continue to stay unhappily in her job and in a cycle of emotional eating, focusing on the weight problem instead of the source of her unease.
  2. Find a way to make peace with her position and be completely present and focused throughout the day, recognizing the purpose of this phase of her life. And to choose to find happiness and acceptance within herself.
  3. Or to leave the position entirely and find a new job.

Neither the second or third choices she laid out are better than the other, both allow her to make peace with what she was resisting previously resisting: her job.

Though not everyone working in a non-passion career is unhappy, it is worth contemplating how we can make peace with where we are and find the service that lies within this point in our lives.

I personally want to be eventually living and working 100% spreading the message of MML – making that my vocation and career. But I recognize that Jess LC is still a very important part of my path towards that goal right now. And I find the more I pursue both the message and the jewelry with meaning, the more successful and happier I am.

I think that’s something we all can work on, wherever we are in this moment:

do what we can,

right where were are,

with as much purpose and service as possible.

a little update

May 11th, 2010   |   Life

As you can see, I’ve decided to spread a little yellow sunshine on MML for the summer. Though I loved the orange through the fall and winter, I’m craving something a little more light and airy. The only item I wasn’t able to switch over to the new color scheme is the tabbed widget on the right-hand side which is still burnt-orange. Anyone know how to find the editing for this color option? I’ve been searching on the back-end of wordpress.org in the css files for about 45 minutes…

I also did a little dusting on other pages on the site including adding a bit more background and story on the About Page and I finally updated my blogroll as well (though I don’t have time to comment on many [if any] blogs, I do read quite a few each day).

sponsor post: juniper urns

May 11th, 2010   |   Life

Today I’d like to formally introduce one of MML’s newest sponsors, Juniper Urns. This company run by Stacy Armistead and Kyle Stewart has all the makings of a great business: beautiful and unique products for an under-served market, eco-friendly, socially responsible, and high-quality and emotional value. With that said, I was excited for Stacy to introduce us to her company and find out more about the urns, lessons learned from small business, and how she came into the pet urn industry.

Enjoy!

Can you share the story behind Juniper Urns?

Kyle and I knew we both wanted to start a business that served a greater purpose. Landing on the pet urns idea was by no means an easy decision as it took us a while to figure out what the business should be. One day Kyle was talking to his friend who was researching urn options online. His friend, who comes from an eco-conscious family, had trouble finding urns that he liked. Neither Kyle nor I had ever shopped for urns before. After running an extensive search, we decided there was an opportunity to develop a line of urns for pets using more modern materials. Through a sustainability-focused networking group, we found a Chicago-based business that produces custom fair trade products and gives back to its artisans through scholarships and wellness initiatives. By producing our urns through their fair trade workshops, we help improve the livelihood of the artisans and their family in developing countries. We also wanted to help pets locally, so we donate 5% of profits to the Petfinder.com Foundation, which funds various programs that help save homeless pets.

What inspired the name Juniper Urns?

Since we are creating unique designs with modern materials, we wanted a name that had a boutique feel, and also one that makes sense given our use of natural and recycled materials. We perused a list of types of trees to see if anything would inspire us, and that’s how we stumbled upon Juniper.

What advice do you have for other small business owners who are just starting out?

Here are three valuable lessons we’ve learned:

  • Don’t let the little things slow you down and don’t over think your decisions. Otherwise you’ll get nowhere fast. Just go with your gut and make adjustments as needed along the way.
  • Talk to people to get feedback on your idea/business. You’d be amazed at what you can learn from picking up the phone and talking to other people in the industry. Talk to your competitors. Talk to your friends. Talk to random people you meet in the line at the grocery. They may know someone who knows someone that could help grow your business or provide valuable insight.
  • Expect that things will take longer and cost more than originally planned. Budget in buffer time for each stage to help alleviate stress that can build when things run off schedule. Take a deep breath, it will all get done.

What is one of the most interesting things you’ve learned since starting this business?

I’ve learned that since the pet cremation industry isn’t regulated like the human cremation industry, there are some inconsistencies that pet owners need to be aware of when dealing with the loss of a pet. For example, when a family member is cremated, you can be confident in knowing that you will receive only their ashes back. This is in contrast to the unregulated pet cremation industry where owners can sign up for an “individual cremation” at the vet clinic or animal hospital, and sometimes unknowingly receive their pet’s ashes mixed with ashes from other pets. Also, the level of education and number of options that veterinary clinics and hospitals provide to owners who have lost a pet can vary significantly. To ensure you are getting the very best care for your animal, pet owners should conduct research ahead of time to find a veterinarian and crematory they can trust.

I [also recently] asked the owner of the crematory, “how can pet owners identify an ethical crematory?” He said one of the best questions to ask the crematory is “can I view the cremation?” If the crematory says no, it is likely because they are hiding unethical practices.

Juniper Urns’ Social Responsibility video

PS- Enter the code MUML for $10 off at Juniper Urns!

recommitting to my life

May 10th, 2010   |   Life

You may or may not know this about me, but I’m a creature of habit. Though I certainly like adventure, new challenges, and even doing the unexpected (like deciding to cut 10″ off my hair in a matter of 15 minutes), when it’s all said and done I love repetition. I love drinking the same tea each morning, eating the same meal at a favorite restaurant, buying the same groceries, and doing the same activities after work each week. There is something peaceful and comforting for me within the walls of a comfy routine.

But the past two weeks put me on such a whirlwind of activity that I found my routine destroyed and my anxiety level on high. I felt overwhelmed and took a much needed two day break from work and other obligations this weekend. As my mind began to clear yesterday on a walk to Navy Pier, I found a bit of uneasiness knowing I’d be returning to work this morning. Since the past two weeks were crazy-busy, I didn’t want to face similar pressures for the next five days. And in general, my enthusiasm for even my beloved routines seemed dull. Deep down, I think I kind of wanted a two week break from life to regroup, relax, and stop “doing.”

But that wasn’t realistic.

Recommitting to My Life

In order to recapture my excitement for the week ahead, I decided to recommit to my life. Recommitting is something I’m familiar with because whenever I find myself eating unhealthily or poorly caring for my body, I sit down and write a letter to myself explaining why I’m recommitting to the fitness and exercise plan I began a few months ago. The process of writing down the intentions helps me refocus and start fresh once more.

When recommitting to my life yesterday, I decided to shake things up in my beloved routines. Some of the changes I’ve decided to implement are:

  • Change over from hot English Breakfast tea to homemade iced tea each morning.
  • Buy the navy Hunter boots I’ve been meaning to purchase for a year.
  • Painted over a painting I’ve had sitting in my bedroom but have hated for the past nine months. (see photos below)
  • Change the accent color of MML – coming later this week.
  • Skip the End of the Week Exfoliation this week and do a double post next weekend instead.
  • Finally drop off the donation pile Erwin and I have sitting in the bedroom at the White Elephant.
  • Bought a nice cork cutting board for veggies instead of using our old plastic ones.
  • Made fish tacos for the first time last night.
  • Rearranged all of the decorations in the living room.


Though the list might seem a bit long, I needed that deviation from my habits to find a fresh take on life. And I can now say that I’m pleasantly optimistic about the week.

So what I think I’ve learned is that routines aren’t bad, they can just become stale over time. By creating these new traditions and changes, I’m able to recommit to my life and feel fully engaged, rather than “going through the motions.” So if you find your self bummed out by your schedule, take a minute and see if you can change a thing or two in your life to add novelty and newness. It might shake you out of your funk too.

piper’s dream report: week one

May 7th, 2010   |   Life

I don’t think there are enough words for me to say thank you to all of you for your wonderful words of encouragement and support.  I honestly feel blown away by them and I want to say how much it means to me.  It was nerve-wracking to put that first post out there…definitely a bit out of my comfort zone.  And I felt a bit worried that maybe my story wouldn’t resonate with people.  But you all are so supportive…thank you for being behind me!  And I want to give a special shout out to those who applied for the Dream Reporter position…I know it could quite easily be me reading about your story here and nodding my head saying “that’s me too!”.  So I want you to know that I really think that my story is your story and that we all have that same end goal – to have the courage to follow our dreams. I like to think that we’re all in this together!

So after I finished my first post and had the excitement of reading your comments, reality sunk in.  As in “what did I just sign myself up for?” and “I have to do another post?!”  And to be honest, I’ve been a little freaked out.  I think I was hoping some magic genie would appear after my first post and grant me my dream.  I guess it doesn’t quite work that way, huh?!  I actually have to dig down deep and work for this.  Uh oh.  Because I know I have to “weigh in” today (eek!) so I feel like that person who takes off all of their jewelry so they can show any sort of improvement up on the scale!  I want so badly to say “look at everything I did” because I feel this heavy responsibility – I don’t want to let you guys down.


So…can we count procrastination as an accomplishment?  Because if so, I really did get a lot done then!   I thought Jess’ post the other day couldn’t have been better timing.  It’s like she wrote about exactly what I’m going through right now.  Because I’m stuck…and being stuck makes me feel annoyed at myself for not knowing what to do next and then ultimately leads to procrastination.  I stare at my ever growing to do list…and find myself wanting to do anything other than tackle it (for one thing, it’s this horrific mess of 3 different spreadsheets…I don’t even know now why I have 3 of them!!).


I think part of it is that I’m at a turning point…I set up my LLC, got my EIN#, created a list of designers & artists that I would love to work with. But these are mostly administrative items.  It’s like I’ve just been playing at starting a store.  Now it’s getting real…I’m at the point where I have some major decisions to make.  But not really knowing what to do or how to do them, makes me feel stuck…so, I just tack them on to my to do list.  And there they sit because how can I work on these things if the house is a mess and I have to write posts for my blog and I need to read all these other blogs and why are the dogs just staring at me, I better take them out and play with them…well, you get the picture!

This is where I wish I had a partner or a mentor or just someone that can tell me what to do next.  Give me the exact instructions, A to Z, of what I need to do to set up a successful store.  Of course there are plenty of books and classes and workshops on this…I’ve pretty much read or been to them all – but they don’t give details.  Details like: this is exactly what you should say for your elevator pitch, this is exactly who you should choose as your web designer, this is exactly the artists you should work with, this is exactly what your logo should look like.


So I procrastinate because I’m afraid of it not being the right decision or the perfect decision or just not knowing where to start….basically I’ve got a bad case of perfectionism which holds me back just as much as fear does. I’m pretty sure a picture of me would be right next to the definition of perfectionism – I think I’m a textbook example of it!  Somehow I learned the crazy thought that everything I do must be right the first time.  Which is impossible, right?  So this means I end up living in dream world….have you been there?  It’s nice and safe and full of ideas and procrastinating.  No decisions need to be made in dream world!  If only there was a way to actually live and make money in dream world!

So basically this is where I’m at right now…I need to stop being stuck and bust out of dream world.  And I KNOW the only way to do that is to TAKE ACTION.  To stop procrastinating and worrying about whether it’s perfect and tackle my to-do list one item at a time.

(image credit)

I’ve started by posting notes all around that say TAKE ONE ACTION TODAY.  That seems doable.  One action a day.  That’s 365 in a year…just about the size of my to-do list J  I also ordered myself a cool planner from Bob’s Your Uncle…I figured if it was fun to look at, maybe I’d want to work on it!  (better than these awful spreadsheets!)

Also, I thought that if I shared my to-do list, shared my goals, that you would see what I’m working on as I go along.  If I’m going to weigh in, I guess I need something to weigh in with!  So my goal this week – put my to-do list together on one list and prioritize it.  And TAKE ONE ACTION EACH DAY.  I’ll be back next week to report on what I did.  If there’s one thing I have in spades, it’s perseverance…that’s got to count for something right?

I would really love for you all to be a part of this…I think I’m hoping I’m not alone in these feelings.  So if you have any questions or want to correspond with me one-on-one feel free to email me:   piper (at) onesydneyroad (dot) com.

And let me know – do you ever struggle with perfectionism?  Does it make you procrastinate?  What have you found works for you?


First, I’d like to take a moment and say thank you to everyone who sent me comments and emails about your favorite things to read on MML. I honestly had no idea so many people were into the business! I am definitely going to make that a bigger focus going forward. The only tricky thing with this direction is that I like to have a firm understanding of the advice and experience I share with you here on the blog. Which usually means living with the process and seeing what I learn from it. And since so much of what I’ve been doing lately is completely new to me, I’m not sure what to share – everything seems like a work in progress. But I’m going to do my best to continue to offer advice and share my story a bit closer to “real time.”

And now for today’s DESIGN YOUR LIFE! I’m happy to say that I’ve got Tristan (aka “Miss B”) from Blah, Blah, Blahg here to share her intentions for her life. If you haven’t seen Tristan’s blog, you are missing out on great writing, photos, and absolutely adorable animal photos. Oh, and she is also a co-mastermind behind behind the big huge hit, The Bright Side Project. If you aren’t familiar with BSP, it’s time to hop on over and start commenting to win some seriously amazing giveaways. As for her intentions, I think she’s the first DYL interviewees to talk directly about being kind to herself, what a great intention to have right at the top of the list.

Enjoy!

DESIGN YOUR LIFE: Tristan of Blah, Blah, Blahg

Be Kind to Yourself.

I know that sounds a little ‘airy fairy’, but as a person that is completely Type A, I can be very critical of myself,.  I would NEVER be as judgmental about another person as I can be with me.  I once emphatically denied being a perfectionist by stating, “I am not a perfectionist, I can never get anything perfect.” Yes, I am a little tough on myself . As I get older I realize that being kinder to myself will result in my becoming the best person I can be not just for myself but others.   Be kind to yourself, give yourself a break revel in  your accomplishments (no matter how minute) you will find being nice to you makes the world think you are 8lbs thinner and ten times smarter than you are.  Okay, I may have made that last part up but try it you never know you may like the new you.

Diversify.


There are people that will consistently tell you that if you don’t focus on ONE thing or you won’t get anywhere.  That’s just crazy talk.  If you were investing in the stock market you wouldn’t put your life savings on one company you would diversify.  It’s okay to have many interests and passions. Hone in on the ones you want to try to utilize to make a living with and keep the others for your hobby or just plain fun. I would consider myself successful and I have tried many interests for both career + creative outlets. I have had success in diverse careers such as a public relations Jedi, jewelry designer, parfmeur, designer, blogger and branding maven. If you truly love something pursue it, it may lead you to another avenue you may have never considered or you may just find that you love it but don’t want to spend your life doing it as work. For the record I intend on diversifying until I have no more energy/life in me.  I would love to add professional photographer, gig poster artist, miniature animal farmer, wife and mommy (amongst many others) to my list of things I want to do when I grow up.

Never Stop Being Delighted.


I started my Souvenir Foto School with the intention of getting my students in the habit of seeing the ‘extraordinary in the ordinary’. No longer would they pass by a wall, tree, person, etc and be oblivious, they would see a moment, an opportunity, beauty that previously was hidden.  I truly believe that life is beautiful and I try to revel in what others would consider mundane. It makes me feel rich and special that I can appreciate more than most, but the best part?  Anyone can develop the skill of being delighted and it’s free!  Next time you are having a bad day/life concentrate on all the things that are wonderful about your moment–Can you see? Hear? Feel?  Already you are ahead of the game.

Be Curious.

I feel like curiosity should be one of the five senses. Without it I might as well just pack up my bags and call it a day. I promise you if you maintain your curiosity, your life will be filled with wonder + magic.   I am constantly asking questions, reading, learning and trying new things.  I feel like having this insatiable curiosity works better than a strong espresso for getting me up in the morning.  Try it, you won’t be disappointed.  Money back guaranteed.

Thank you for this opportunity to share, (sharing is caring after all). If you wondering, yes I I think you are the bee’s knee’s and the best thing to come along since graph paper and French fries.

Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.

UPDATE: I found the video that inspired this post!

Last week I watched a video about the Sean Stephenson, author of Get Off Your “But” and though I haven’t read the book itself, I think the title is pretty freaking awesome and it applies to today’s THINK ABOUT IT topic, moving forward past fears.

People have asked me how I stay motivated, move forward, and generally grow Jess LC. And the answer is that I just keep going and eventually progress is made. Anything you do for 9-10 hours a day, five days a week, is bound to grow.

Except when I get stuck.

Getting stuck happens to us all. Sometimes we get stuck because we don’t know what to do next, sometimes we don’t have the resources or time to move forward, and sometimes we freeze from fear. It happens to everyone – absolutely everyone.

The difference between successful and less successful people, as Sean Stephenson mentioned in his video clip, lies in how long we stay stuck. He calls the reasons we get stuck our “buts.” And our buts leave us sitting… on our butts.

The question is: how do we get off our buts?

Here’s how I got off my but yesterday:

In the next few months I will be debuting jewelry at some pretty big-time retailers which have specific vendor requirements. In order to work with these companies, I need to make sure I follow their protocols. If I don’t, I’ve heard stories of charge-backs and penalties that decrease my check. Not fun, right? So I felt the need to do everything exactly right. But since I felt intimidated by the process, I avoided opening the Excel attachments with the information because I thought it might be hard to understand or execute perfectly.

Avoiding the task actually caused additional stress. I knew I was procrastinating, and that made me even more frustrated on top of the fear I felt about the contracts. Needless to say, my anxiety around both orders increased. I found myself with a little nagging voice in my head saying, “But I don’t know what to do. Geez, if only I had a boss to show me how to do this, my life would be so much easier. All my friends with bosses get taught how to do new things. I don’t get that at all. Blah. Blah. Blah. But. But. But.

Then, I calmly and firmly responded to that nagging voice, “Get over it, Jess. It’s true, you don’t have a boss. But every time you’ve needed to learn something, God has put someone in your life with the right information. The same will happen today.

So after swallowing that reality pill, I called my friend, Kristin, and told her about how I was avoiding the next steps to working with these new retailers. She listened and serenely told me that I had a ton of things on my plate and these new partnerships’ delivery requirements were adding stress. She said that I just needed to drop off the orders in my hands at the post office, go back to the studio, write down everything I have to do this week, and then divide it up day by day.

Hearing her objectively assess the situation and give me direction helped immensely. She acted as my “boss” and told me what I needed to do next. So I promptly went home, wrote down all my tasks, and started checking them off. And when I got to those shipping requirements, I printed them out and read them. Sure, I still have some questions. But I know that I can call the buyers at the companies and they will help me do things correctly.

Like our posteriors, the longer we sit on buts, the bigger they get.

So let’s go bust some ass, shall we?

how can i serve you and MML?

May 4th, 2010   |   Life

Today I’d like to level with you. As I mentioned in my update last week, I feel like things have picked up in my life quite considerably. I’m happy to announce that though the first few weeks of the Jess LC re-launch were slower than my crazy-high expectations, I’ve been consistently building my “pilgrim city” brick by brick. And now I feel like I’m now in full construction mode using a crane with a hard hat on. The infrastructure has been laid and I’m raising the beams. I’m hoping to have my fall collection designed, my intention necklace samples ordered, a two-day trunk show complete, and a PR firm chosen by next week.

So with that said, I think this is a perfect time to check in with you all and see what you’d like to get out of MML – though I will continue to provide helpful posts on a whole variety of topics, I think I can do the best job possible by hearing your thoughts and knowing what you’d like to get out of this blog. What do you want to read on MML in May? What themes hit home the most for you? What would you love to read about? Do you like the personal growth style “THINK ABOUT IT” posts? Do you like the business lessons? Do you like to read about exfoliating and getting rid of stuff in your homes? Do you like actually hearing about what’s going on in my life? What gets you excited when you visit MML?

I’d love to hear your thoughts so I can take this busy time in my life to really serve my purpose and Jess LC to the best of my ability. I’d like to be intentional, knowing I’m providing the best content possible.

Just in case you’re in Chicago this Thursday and Friday and want to stop by and say hi, I’ll be at Macy’s on State Street between 11a-5p!


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