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the move, the franklins pendants, the shop

August 31st, 2010   |   LifeStyle

Hello! My, has it been a while! I am so thankful to have had Heidi and Kelsey guest writing while I have been preparing for this move. They will continue to post until I am settled in next week.

As for my life lately… I officially begin moving my stuff into my new apartment tomorrow morning. Over the past week or two I’ve been busy preparing for the move, buying new furniture, decorating the space over and over in my head, and enjoying the last few weeks living with Erwin. It has been one heck of an emotional roller coaster, let me tell you. Sleeping has become a relatively distant memory. But I’ve had the most amazing support system of friends to help me privately through the hard (and extremely hard) parts. Prayer and meditation have helped as well.

I have a few little updates to fill you in on the shop and the apartment transformation:

The Jess LC  Update: Franklin Pendants Arrived! + Shop Temporary Closing

Franklin Pendants

The new Franklin pendants arrived! I’m thrilled to say that you can now go on and order your pendant with the corrected braille. And though the whole misspelling ordeal was not ideal, these new pedants were worth the wait. We now have them Palladium plated (they are still vermeil [gold coated sterling silver], but Palladium is a bit fancier than nickle-plating) and our guys did a great job with these new pieces.

Fall Samples + Photoshoot

We also got our fall pendants in, and they are awesome. I can’t wait to shoot the lookbook on September, 11th. A certain super secret fashion blogger is flying in from Texas with her husband to model for the shoot!

Temporary Shop Closing

And during the move, I am “closing the shop” so that I can get everything situated properly. Which means orders placed between now and Labor Day will be filled next week after Tuesday.

Apartment Transformation

Literally three hours ago after a morning run walk with my friend Cathy (hi, Cathy!), I came back to my apartment building to find this little guy sitting on the curb. Up to this point, I have been unable to find the perfect bedside table for the new place, and I’d decided to just move in and wait until I found the right size/shape. But this over sized nightstand had my name all over it for the right price: FREE. I’ve been pining after the glamorous white and gold campaign dressers I’ve seen in the pages of Lonny and this puppy is going to get a head to toe makeover! To be continued…

In the meantime, this is what my bedroom looks like currently. Pretty glam, right? I kid, I kid. These few pieces will be making their way to my new place bright and early tomorrow. In the meantime, sleeping on the ground is kind of odd.

I should also mention that I’ve turned the apartment into an Ikea Lack factory over the past two days. After a huge blowout trip to Ikea on Sunday with a friend, I have been building bookshelves faster than you can imagine. I promise, they all will should fit in the new place. And they will should look amazing.

Phew. I’m exhausted. I think it’s time for a nap.

And again, thanks for sending the kind thoughts my way; I have soaked every single one in and I can feel the grace.

guest post: think happy, be happy

August 30th, 2010   |   Life

Can I please just start off by saying that I’m terribly nervous to be here?  I’m kind of equating Jess letting me guest blog for today to that idiot “pants on the ground” guy on American Idol.  Not talented, but should probably be shown to America in order to be mocked continuously.  Hopefully I will crush this prospect and wow all of you amazing followers with wit, charm, and maybe even more guest posts in the future!

Now that we are familiar with one another, why don’t I tell you why I’m here?  I live in Washington, DC and I am a twenty-something who loves food and fashion but on a budget.  Wanna be friends? Great!  I reached out to Jess not only because I read her blog religiously but also because I think I could offer some advice on MMLing from another perspective.  I’d like to think I’m a combination of Jess and Heidi; I don’t like clutter but I love buying pretty things (Jess) and I love to love myself but sometimes I forget to (Heidi).

I think what I would like to write about is the dos and don’ts of making yourself smile.  Everyday.

Do:

  • Have confidence in your abilities
  • Give yourself space to take breaks every now and then
  • Start your to-do list with a task you’ve already done
  • Begin thinking about lunch at 9:35 A.M
  • Be truthful about your own feelings. If you are happy, acknowledge the joy. If you are sad, acknowledge the sorrow
  • Put cheese on top of any meal, it just makes it better

Don’t

  • Question your abilities- if you haven’t noticed, you rock.
  • Be afraid of not knowing the answer, the future, or all of the above
  • Worry about the number on the scale- worry if you look too freakin’ gorgeous for work
  • Try to please everyone, you will always be disappointed
  • Burn the popcorn
  • Put yourself down.  Ever.

These are just the start of some things that I think are so important to remind yourself of today.  We all have busy schedules, invitations, meetings, stressful relationships; sometimes it’s hard to balance and focus.  Hey, it’s OK!  Delegate the tasks that you can, I know you’re Superwoman but didn’t you know that’s why they gave her a cape?  So she can fly over all of her tasks and to-dos and look at the big picture from above. Everything will get done.  If you read MML then I know you already take pride in your work and worry about disappointing others from time to time.  Remember, worry causes wrinkles and let’s be honest, you can dress up or dress down Jess LC‘s collection, but do you really want to do it with worry lines?  Exactly.  Smile.

Like Kelsey?  You can find also find her at thecapitalbarbie.blogspot.com

piper’s dream report: week fifteen

August 27th, 2010   |   Life

Hi everyone!  I’m starting with a bang – I got the logo designs!!  It was like Christmas morning when I opened that email to see the first round of logos.  All the ideas and possibilities!  Oh.My.God…all the ideas and possibilities!  I truly had no idea how difficult this would end up being.  And I wish right now that I was handling things more gracefully.  I don’t know if it’s the realization that I’m actually doing this or that I’m getting closer and closer to opening the store or that it’s now decision time….but I’m now at a level 10 freak out!  For awhile, I was just barely keeping up with my to-do list.  Now that I’m down to about 6-7 weeks until opening, I am 100% completely & utterly swamped – and since it doesn’t look like my magic genie is about to show up anytime soon, I’m not sure how I’m going to get everything done.  How is it possible that my to-do list is growing?  And even worse?  A new fear has crept up on me…the fear of expectation.

It’s been so wonderful to feel the support from everyone and know that you’re behind me.  At the same time when I see “can’t wait to see your logo” or “can’t wait to start shopping”, although it completely warms my heart, in creep the doubts…what ARE people expecting?  What if my store doesn’t meet these expectations?  Will they be disappointed?  And that even goes for something as simple as my logo – what are people expecting?


image credit – Parker Fitzgerald

This all came about because I’m starting to phase from the planning stage to the decision making stage.  I can plan for the logo all I want – but at some point I need to actually have one.  (and apparently it’s best practice to only have one logo) But you can’t ask an indecisive perfectionist to decide on something like this!!  There should be rules against this.  My logo designer gave me wonderful ideas – about 7 different logos in different variations for the first round.  I had to somehow narrow down the logos from 27 different ideas/variations.  What?  To be honest, I was able to nix about 7 of them right away – they just weren’t me. But the other 20?  Such great ideas!  But which one is one sydney road?  Which one is me?  And which one would people like?  See – expectations!

At this point, I think my poor logo designer is wondering what she signed up for – I’m starting to wonder if I’m the bridezilla of logos!!  She has been unbelievably patient and understanding as I’ve gone back and forth between logos.  Out of the first round logo ideas – I only narrowed it down to 4!  I kept asking myself – what is my gut saying?  Well, apparently my gut has gone on vacation because I’m not receiving any kind of help there.  Here’s my gut reaction…”I like all these logos.”  Not very helpful.  So my logo designer took the 4 ideas and then sent me variations on those…with color.  You mean now I have to decide on color too?  And the font??  The second round was worse than the first – there’s so many possibilities!!  I had given her ideas for colors – yellow, chocolate brown, grey, navy blue, light blue.  Except we all know that each color has a bazillion hues – it’s like picking paint for your walls (don’t even get me started on how difficult that is for me!)


I was able to narrow it down to 2 different and distinct logo ideas.  She came back with some variations on those and then  it became time to pick just one.  50/50 – which one??  How do I possibly decide?  And this of course has now become wrapped up in me being able to decide everything else.  Because at the same time I’m working on the logo, I’m also having to make decisions on products for the store.  No more dreaming and putting images together of all the possible products I can have for the store – now I have to dig deep and say “yay” or “nay” to not only artists but individual products.  If a designer has 10 different pillow designs – do I get all 10 or pick out a few designs?  That’s what I’m in the midst of figuring out.

Let’s face it – I’m in decision overload.  Think a Magic 8 ball could help me?  Somehow I think I’d just keep getting the answer “ask again later”!  And of course I’m wondering…what do people want to see in my store?  What will they like?  Those great expectations again!!  I’m realizing that when you’re just starting out, it’s part research, part up in the air.  So until I know my customer more, I have to go with items I love.  It has to start with me.  I’m using that as my filter right now.  Does it pass the “I’d buy it” test?  That’s part of what my store is offering…my “eye” so to speak, my ability to curate and select items that work well together.


If only I could use that for my logo!  I think what has made this task harder is that it’s not just the logo I’m deciding on – it’s really about deciding on the whole look – colors, fonts & shapes which will be used not only on the logo but also on the website and packaging.  I just today got my 3rd round of logo and business card ideas.  And, you know what?  I’m finally starting to see it!  Doesn’t mean I’ve decided – but I’m one step closer.  In fact by the time you read this – I should have my logo!  Next up – deciding on designers & products.  Anyone have any good strategies for decision making?

luminous acclamation

August 25th, 2010   |   LifeThink About It

Hello again MML readers.  It’s Heidi from To Be Luminous again.  One of the questions I get most often is why I call my coaching practice “To Be Luminous.”  Recently I’ve written a Luminous Acclamation- a manifesto so to speak that defines what a luminous woman is and what my practice represents.
Enjoy!  And don’t forget to enter the give away for six weeks of free coaching or contact me about my six week coaching sale.  Have an amazing day.
-Heidi

Luminous Acclamation

A luminous woman glows from the inside out, radiating light, warmth and energy that is undeniable and magnetic.  She is fabulously unique and unlike anyone you’ve ever met, because she  is herself, from the crown of her head to the tip of her toes.  She lives aligned with her values.  There are no facades for the luminous woman!

A luminous woman knows when to be still and knows when to laugh out loud.  She is both lively and serene, but whatever the occasion, she is perfectly alive.  She balances her life thoughtfully processing her moments and days as needed, yet lives with wild abandon often.


A luminous woman lights up a room because she is the most phenomenal version of herself.  She doesn’t strive to be anyone else.  She is a perfect blend of all those unique  and quirky characteristics that define her.  She has that magnetic ability to appear perfectly herself in any situation.

A luminous woman is luminous 100 percent of the time regardless of her circumstances.  She is the thermometer and allows everyone else to adjust to her temperature.  She’s accommodating and loving, and she is confident enough to think more of others before herself.

A luminous woman understands that she needs to take care of her needs in order to help those around her.  She takes time to center herself daily to fortify her from the natural storms of life and to ensure she is able to listen to her inner-intuitive voice.  This voice is what helps her serenely navigate through even the most tumultuous times and is what helps her know what events, changes and obstacles in life are important, and which ones can be left behind.

A luminous woman knows who she is and that she has something unique to offer the world.  She understands that each individual she comes in contact with has something of value to offer her, and never repudiates anyone for any apparent differences or flaws.

A luminous woman is pure inside and out.  She’s not perfect, but she is beautifully authentic.  She doesn’t pose or pretend to be anything she is not.  She is comfortable with her life yet continually strives for something better, knowing that it is in the process of reaching that miracles occur.

A luminous woman is kind.  A luminous woman accepts others for who they are and who they are not.  She allows everyone room to grow and to change and allows herself the same opportunity.  She speaks encouraging words to herself and to others.

A luminous woman understands that there is enough darkness and negativity in the world.  She is willing to take a stand for joy, laughter, and uplifting everyone around her. She seeks serenity, energy, personal discovery, value alignment, and confidence.  A luminous woman is a woman of action and determination.  She is always in the mode of accomplishing something of great worth.

[Photos courtesy of istock]

Photo credit: Matt Smith/James Breeden/PacificCoastNews.com

This just in! My PR ladies sent me an email last night saying that they found photos of Ali Fedotowsky, of this season’s The Bachelorette walking with her fiancé, Roberto while wearing a Jess LC Franklin Be Present Necklace!

I was shocked, thrilled, and so happy to know that she loves the necklace as much as I do! I wear the same one, the Be Present with a pearl, everyday myself.

In other news…

I’d also like to give a little update about MML. I can safely say that this move and transition in my life is starting to hit me and I’m feeling a roller coaster of emotions. And in typical Jess fashion, I’m going to give myself some time to go through whatever I’m feeling and then come out later when I’m ready and share what I’ve learned here on MML. In the meantime, I’ve decided to invite a few guest writers to come in and share their inspiring ideas for the next week or two. This way I can take care of myself properly and then come back to MML better than ever (kind of like the old “put the oxygen mask on your face before helping others”).

(post written by Heidi life coach and blogger of To Be Luminous)
“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address..”

-Joe Fox from You’ve Got Mail

Each new school year marks a fresh start.  Ever year the week or two before  starting school again I’d day dream about what the new school year would hold.  Which new activities would I try?  Any adventures inherent in the upcoming year?  A new wardrobe or tweaks to my style?  What kind of grades would I get?  What kind of friends would I keep and make?  No matter how wonderful the year before was, I always had big, exciting plans for the next year.  And I guess things never change.

It’s true that I’m a student again (and have been for the past few years).  Fall fresh starts are very real in the scholastic setting, but there is so much more to it than that!  Regardless of our scholastic standing our lazy summers transition back into the daily routines of life which makes it a perfect time to set some goals and get a jump start on the January resolutions!  In my humble professional opinion, the end of August through the first few weeks in November is the best time to create real and lasting change (that often gets set aside over the holidays, but can easily be picked up again in January).

Each of our journeys is unique.  All of us are strong in some areas and weak in others.  I find that my clients fall into one of the following five categories:

  • Serenity Now- seeking an inner calm, personal peace and greater resolve to gracefully navigate the changes and trials that come to each of us
  • Get Up and Going- seeking greater energy, a firm resolve to accomplish goals and stick to them.
  • Personal Discovery- seeking to shed layers of life, discover their unique mission and path and start forging forward.
  • Value Chiropractic- seeking to realign daily activities in life to their core values  for greater daily satisfaction in all aspects of life
  • Bring Sexy Back- seeking to increase confidence overall glow and swagger

Let’s face it, any of us could use a boost in the above categories, but if you mull over them, or even just glance at them I think you’ll see an area that resonates.  This is the first year that I am approaching my Fresh Fall Start in the same way I’d approach a new client, but I love the focus and the light that these areas shed on every aspect of life.

For me this fall I’m really wanting to up my energy levels and goal- setting (Get Up and Going).  My workouts will be changing to incorporate more running and more dance (very upbeat, momentum-based exercises); my diet will be geared at feeding my body healthy foods that allow me to function through my massively busy schedule; my spending will be focused on bringing greater freedom and movement into my life (i.e. less stuff to weigh me down- more opportunities to let me soar); the books I read will gear me towards increased energy, movement and overall life.   And my relationships will be more dynamic, full of energy, give and take and more experiences. See how it works?

It’s incredibly effective to take a theme and apply it to our lives!  In business it’s always suggested that you niche and hone in on doing something really well.  If you apply the same guidance into your own personal goals there is an extraordinary amount of success that can come quickly.  The best part is realizing you’ve got one area under control and migrating to another area.  If you get started now, you just might be ready for something new in January!  How fun is that?

In order to use a niche-like goal setting formula for this fall you’ll want to do 3 things:

  1. Pick a Niche (or create one of your own).  This is the theme for the fall, the year or whatever period of time you are working with.  Make sure that it’s all encompassing and that it’s an attitude or a focus that your goals can work with in.
  2. Think about the tangibles you’d like to accomplish and what they might look like with your Niche.  If you are increasing your fitness and your niche is Personal Discovery, you might want to try out a variety of new sports or ways of staying in shape so you can discover which ones you truly enjoy and want to keep at.  Does this make sense?  You are viewing your goals through a specific lens.  Ideally they all build together so you feel the way you want to feel.
  3. Put your concrete plans onto paper.  Write them down and create the needed routines into the new schedules you are building for the fall.  Now is the time to implement!  The next few weeks are crucial as you carve your autumnal schedules and habits.  If you don’t make something a priority now, it probably won’t happen later.
I love Makeunder My Life readers because we are all working towards a simpler, better life.  We aren’t satisfied with the status quo or wanting to just let life roll over us.  We want to make changes!

To Be Luminous Coaching Giveaway

photo credit

I loved, loved, loved working with my last free coaching client from MML and am offering another free series of  6 coaching sessions to a reader who comments!  I’m also opening up a coaching sale to MML readers who set up their initial (free) consultation in the next week.  You’ll get six coaching sessions for only $250.  Just email me at hlslovacek@gmail.com and mention MML in your initial consultation request or with any questions you have.  Of course, if you win the free six sessions, you won’t pay anything.

As you start pulling out your wrap-me-up clothes and start planning your new fall routines, why not take stock and get a jump start on the resolutions you know you’ll be making come January?  Which area do you want to work on?

piper’s dream report: week fifteen

August 20th, 2010   |   Life

I’m on pins and needles, you guys!!  I’m anxiously awaiting to see what ideas my logo designer has come up with for my logo  – this is the first time I’ll see what she has created.  (I should have them by the time you read this!)  I’m excited and nervous – it’s an interesting feeling having someone else create something for your store.  Will she understand what look & feel I’m trying to achieve – and how will that be conveyed through the logo?  Ah, so this is what it feels like to delegate something and not have complete control over it!

To start the process, she had me answer a few questions:


The cool thing?  I was more prepared than I realized for these questions.  At first, I of course felt overwhelmed…do I know these things – how do I decide – what are my ideas – what am I doing??  Sheesh, talk about panicking.  So I had to just go one by one.  The best part is that I realized I had already compiled a lot of information – it just wasn’t organized or concise.  (I have an excel spreadsheet that has tab after tab of information I’ve compiled over the past year or so – at this point, it’s a ridiculous mess – but at the very least I organized the info into tabs!!)  Also, a few months ago, I started collecting images of logos that I like and that I found myself drawn to – I figured this may help me understand what I’m looking for in my own logo.  So I just reviewed that, exfoliated the logos that didn’t seem to fit my aesthetic anymore and I was left with a document that actually showed logos that all have something in common…mostly word based, modern, simple and use color in some way.    So really this document of images answered most of the questions she asked – I just had to fill her in on my store, the concept and the feeling I want it to have and a bit about my target market.  The tough ones, right?!


I just started brain dumping writing at this point.  And this is where I was really able to narrow down my focus and even had an “a-ha” moment – I know what my store wants to be!!  It was actually there in front of me the whole time, I just needed someone to point it out to me (my hubby of all people!!  Hmm, maybe I need to promote him?)  I had listed a ton of adjectives that I felt described the store and the feeling I want it to have:

  • FRESH
  • MODERN
  • RELAXED
  • STYLISH
  • CLEAN
  • INVITING
  • PLAYFUL
  • MODERN MEETS VINTAGE
  • MAKING EVERY DAY SPECIAL

Cue my hubby:  “Wait…isn’t that exactly what you’re going for?  Making every day special – look even your consultant wrote that down as the way she’s seeing your store”  Are you kidding me??  It’s been there the whole time – I just didn’t pick up on it.  That’s it!  (except don’t even get me started on the fact that I hate how it’s worded…”making every day special”  There’s got to be a cooler, fresher, more playful way of saying that – that’s my mission now!!  Maybe something like “have your cake and eat it too” – yeah, I know, not great – I told you I wasn’t a copywriter!!  So all you awesome writers out there – if you have any ideas, I’m open!!)  Hmm…this could even be my tagline!

All this writing ended up turning into a 3-page document that described my store, gave the above adjectives, and included information about my target market.  The thing that made my day?  She emailed back and to paraphrase her she said “This is fantastic, you really did your research!”  If that isn’t vindication for all the time I’ve put into this so far – I don’t know what is! (grin)  I can’t even imagine how hard it’ll be for me to decide on the logo ideas she gives me…think it’s possible to have 3 different logos?  I’m hoping one will just leap off the page making life so much easier!


So in the midst of working on that, I’m also working on the web design.  Like I said last week, the web designers have this cool site that you log in to and find out what your “to-do’s” are.  My first ones are big ones – and it’s been a bit of a struggle to work on this.  I need to tell them my design preferences and my shopping cart preferences – basically, it’s decision time.  I keep feeling like I don’t want to get this wrong.  And this is also the part that involves writing the content for my site.  UGH!!

And if that all wasn’t enough – I’ve been contacting all the artists & designers I’m interested in having for the store.  I’ve lined up some great designers but there are a couple that I absolutely, 100% want to have for the store….that have yet to respond to my emails.  Right now I feel like a school girl anxiously waiting for the phone to ring from her crush. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they a.) offer wholesale and b.) want to work with me.  If they don’t, I may need to go back to the drawing board – and I’m running out of time!  Good news?  I still have over 40 artists/designers on the table.  Bad news?  I probably need to get it down to 20-25.  Like I’ve said – this is proving to be a hard task, I’m just not sure how I choose one over another.  But at some point I’m going to have to – I’m down to only 7-8 weeks until the store opens!!  I can’t wait until I can show you EVERYTHING I’ve been working on!!

an update on MML

August 19th, 2010   |   Life

After having a great lunch and a long talk with Stacy, an MML reader, I’ve decided to make a few changes here on MML for the rest of August. The transitions in my relationship, apartment, and business happening in two weeks have taken a much larger toll on my energy level than I anticipated. This week I find myself mentally and physically (plus sometimes emotionally) exhausted from all the change and preparation. Juggling the move, break up, business, and blog is a lot to handle day in and day out.

And rather than trying to push through and run myself into the ground, I think I am best off concentrating on concentration. During the next two weeks I want to do less things, but with better quality. I want to be more present in each aspect of this phase and give myself time to rest and refuel during the process. It’s kind of like marathon training, I can do a bunch of miles for the sake of running, but that often that leads to injuries, fatigue, and burn out. Instead, it is often best to run less often and have higher quality workouts. The rest in between the runs makes for a stronger performance overall. And though I love writing here on MML five times a week, I am going to post on only Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays until Labor Day.

By posting just three times a week, I can really concentrate on producing fewer, more thought provoking posts. By doing less, I hope I’m actually more helpful. And I know it will do wonders for my own mental outlook. I’ve also decided in the spirit of concentration to end the Makeunder My Week series on Mondays and just add more day-to-day updates in the intros of my weekly posts.

In addition, I’m excited to take this chance to stop and prepare for all of the awesome-ness that I have in store for MML this fall. With the start of our new intern/assistant for Jess LC in September, I am going to have much more time to ramp up the volume on my “feistiness” which was so well received a few weeks ago. I know MML is my purpose, and I’m excited to have more time than ever to really make a difference and produce powerful posts.

So thanks for understanding about the temporary change of pace on MML and thank you for all of your support while I go through this change. Your comments have meant so much to me and remind me why I love my purpose and am on the right path.

the “i’m on vacation” string

August 18th, 2010   |   LifeThink About It

Though I haven’t mentioned it before, I’ve decided to go on vacation during the entire month of August. In fact, I’ve been on vacation for the past two weeks and it will continue through the weeks to come as well.

But I haven’t missed one day of work and I’m not going on any major trips.

I’ve simply decided to go on vacation from worrying, judging, and over-thinking things.

This idea originally came from a message from Joyce Meyer several months ago and it never quite left my head. I could argue that this month has the potential to be the most worrisome, stressful, frustrating, depressing, and impatient four weeks I’ve experienced since graduating from college. However, to avoid the mental gymnastics my ego could certainly produce at the drop of a hat, I’ve chosen to step outside it’s crazy tendencies and “go on vacation.”

Though I certainly feel emotions when they arise – laughing and crying as needed – I realize that I have the ability in large part to step aside from a lot of the chaos in my brain involving judgment, projecting into the future, over-planning, worrying, stressing out, and just basically putting my emotional well-being where I really have no control.

To honor the fact that I’m releasing my concern over things I don’t have control over, I tied a green bracelet on my wrist. Like the yellow “no complaint” string, this little reminder helps me bring myself back to my intention whenever I start to get carried away by the “what ifs,” “if onlys,” and “never agains.” I simply let those worries go and focus on what actions I can take and need to in order to function in my life peacefully. I still grow my business, pay my bills, write on MML, love my relationship, and prepare for my new apartment – I just do each thing one at a time and take it day by day.

Obviously peace is easier to maintain on some days than others, but overall I am so thankful that I’ve decided to “go on vacation” for the month. Knowing my tendency to over-think things (just ask my dad about my high school basketball career), I can imagine I’ve saved myself from boatloads of suffering just by keeping this simple intention. Which means that by sharing it with you, I hope you consider trying something similar yourself if you are like me and tend to question life just a little too much.

Let’s raise a metaphorical margararita, kick back, relax, and enjoy the rest of the summer!

Today I’m back to share steps two and three of the makeunder I’m doing for my new apartment. I shared step one, create a vision, last week. Here’s how I’m using the makeunder process for the next two phases:

Due to the nature of this transition and makeunder (moving out of a two bedroom apartment with my boyfriend to a one bedroom on my own), you can imagine that there is a lot of stuff which is naturally being exfoliated. The scale of the exfoliations are more on the level of “chemical peel” than “gentle salt scrub” and for this reason, I’m choosing not to dwell to much on this phase here on MML or in real life.

Thankfully, we have done a fantastic job looking out for one another’s best interest and we have easily and peacefully decided who is getting what items in the apartment. The general rule of thumb is anything that we purchased or brought to the existing apartment is our own to take with us at the end of the month. And the only major joint purchase we made was our large sectional, which he generously offered to me.

However, I will not have the following items to bring with me to the new space: mattress, bed-frame, kitchen table, club chair, bookshelves, bedside tables, toaster, iron, vacuum, etc. The list goes on but the rest isn’t terribly interesting. In fact, I am finding that whenever I am in doubt about who should get something, I lean on the side of giving it to him so that he has what he needs for his space, and I get to get new things for this next stage. Because if there is one thing I enjoy, it is shopping and decorating for a new place.

Speaking of shopping and decorating, this brings me to…

Ah, this is where the fun begins! No matter what I may be feeling at any point in this journey, this one step brings me happiness and joy. I have always loved decorating since the day I got my first Ethan Allen catalog in the mail when I was eight. At the time, I swore that when I had a place of my own, I would decorate it in granny apple green and cobalt blue. But now that the moment has finally arrived… I’m thinking white, gold, coral, and light blue. No lime green or bright blue to be found. Funny how life turns out, huh?

Anyways, here is a little collage of some of the items that I need and want, including: mattress, bed-frame/headboard, chair for living room, chair for bedroom, bookcases, striped curtains, bulletin board, etc.

I have lots of other cool things in store as well, but I want to save those things for the big reveal once I move : ).

The nice thing about step three of the makeunder process is that it allows me to clearly think about what I need in my apartment to help me fulfill my vision from step one without getting distracted by other things that I might see while shopping. By creating a list of items I’d like before I move into the space, my focus is narrowed to what I truly need. It also allows me to plan my spending accordingly.

All month I’ve been on a “saving spree” when it comes to fun items like clothing, bar, and makeup purchases. I now weigh those wants against something like my new headboard, and the decision to save the money is easy.

Now the next step involves actually moving and ordering the new furniture. In the weeks to come I’ll be sharing bits and pieces of the process as things start to come together.

makeunder my week: august, 16th

August 16th, 2010   |   Life

Hi Guys,

Whew! I took a mini-weekend trip to Rochester, Michigan this weekend to see my hometown. I hadn’t been back in town since my parents moved to a Philadelphia suburb two and a half years ago. It was a bit surreal to walk the streets with my childhood best friend, Carol Beth, and revisit the places we used to go as fourth-graders. But it’s also awesome that she’s now moved back to Rochester herself with her husband, so I can come visit as often as I like. And if it weren’t for the grueling six to seven hour train ride, I’d probably go back a lot more often.

Anyways, while I was there, we picked up a People Magazine (August, 16th issue) and found none other than our Division Teardrop neckalce sitting on Sarah Rue’s lovely neck on page 4! Though it would be amazing to say I “just happened to notice the feature” the truth is that my awesome PR firm, Red Light PR secured the spot via a People stylist picking up my samples in their office and then using them in the photo shoot. But either way, it’s pretty darn cool. A few months ago I promised myself I’d celebrate my first major piece of print PR with a pedicure — I envisioned getting my foot massage while looking at the piece of Jess LC jewelry in the magazine. And now that it’s finally happened, you can guess where I’ll be this afternoon. : )

In other news, I’ve been getting several emails about the discounted Franklin necklaces. We had removed them from the site for a few days so we could catch up on our inventory and orders. Now that we are caught up on everything we have re-posted the discounted Be Brave, Be Thankful, and Breathe necklaces, but our quantities are very limited in each style. And of course, all of the pre-order Franklin necklaces are all available for purchase and will ship by September 1st.

This week I’m excited to start finalizing decorating decisions for the new apartment. Which means I’ll be posting the makeunder steps two and three for the space tomorrow. I have to admit, the bittersweet-ness of these last few weeks living with Erwin has started to really sink in. But I keep remembering is an evolution, not an ending.

Have a great week,

Jess!

piper’s dream report: week fourteen

August 13th, 2010   |   Life

Hi everyone!  Thanks for all your support and congrats – it’s really exciting to be at this point – I still can’t believe I’m only 10 weeks or so away from my dream of having a store!!  Are ya kidding me – is this really happening?!  I feel like I need to pinch myself just to make sure it’s really happening.  On one hand, it feels like it’s taking forever to get here…on the other, I’m pretty sure I don’t have enough time to get everything done!!

As I said last week, once I sent over the down payment to the web designer, it became real for me.  No turning back now – and that has been exciting, terrifying, and overwhelming all at the same time.  I’m actually this close to doing something I’ve talked about for years and years!  So to get through the next few weeks, I’m really trying to take it day by day and not allow myself to get too hung up on things.  I’m really trying to take what Jess said to heart…it’s only through trial and error that I can learn and grow.  I do have to say this is much easier said than done – I have to keep fighting against my perfectionist side (man, she is strong!!) and keep fighting the ups & downs with my confidence.  Because anyway you look at it – this is still a risk.  It may be my dream, but it’s also a risk and no matter how much research I do, at some point it comes time to either do it or not.  I keep saying to myself “what’s the worst that can happen?”  Apparently I should not be asking myself this – I can come up with a lot of good answers!  So it’s back to – just keep working and hoping that hard work pays off in the end!


Since some of you asked (thanks!), I thought I’d share with you what my to-do list looks like for the next few weeks as well as what my days are like right now.  Kind of an inside peek at what I’m doing (or sometimes not doing if I’m procrastinating!). I took a moment last week to prioritize my list and really look at what needs to be accomplished in the next few weeks.  I thought I’d share them with you – we can “countdown” together!!

Remember how I was a bit concerned about the outlay of money to hire a web designer?  Well, I think it’s already proving itself worthy of investment.  I’m working with Aeolidia and they have a wonderful system where you can log in and see everything that’s going on with your web design.  It shows me my to-do list, tells me when those tasks need to be completed, shows the tasks that the web designer needs to accomplish and shows me a calendar of when things will be done on the web site.  I have to say it’s pure bliss to have all that thought out for me…definitely worth it!!

(image via modernemotive)

Of course, now it’s crunch time having to work on my web design to-do list for them.  Up first?  Some biggies.  I need to give them my design preferences (and also my Cartkeeper preferences) by August 23rd (yikes!).  The good news is that I’ve been compiling a lot of information in prep for this.  I have a giant list of websites that I like the look of – think bright, clean, modern & stylish.  And yep you guessed it, the perfectionist in me keeps wanting to add to this list.  I have too so many ideas for how the website should look, but now I’m at the point where I have to decide…deep breath (it can be changed if I don’t like it, right?)  This is where some of the branding comes in – the hardest part and something I’m learning will have to grow as the store grows.  (Is this me talking??  Not having something perfect out the gate?!)  I mean, it would be great to have the store perfectly branded from the get-go…but I also think there’s something charming about having a small store.  I’m not a big chain – that’s part of my “secret sauce” and so the fact that it’s not perfectly designed and packaged gives it a certain charm (at least this is the thought I’m clinging to right now!).  I know that’s what draws me to small stores & boutiques.  I have my ideas for “branding” but they are by far not solidified, they’re not perfect – and most likely they’ll grow as I learn what my customers want & like.

I also have a slew of ideas for the actual store website – this is where I’m going to have to be okay with waiting on some of these ideas (let me tell you, not easy for someone who’s impatient!!). It’s just that some of them are too expensive to create right now (making the website interactive for one thing) so hopefully it’s something I can add to the site in the future.  But some will be an important part of the store – something fun that I’m keeping close to my chest right now – a way to make my online store feel welcoming (I gotta have a teaser, right?!)  I’ll let you know more about it closer to the opening…suffice to say, it’s taking a lot of my time and energy right now, so fingers crossed that it will work!

(images via Bison)

During this time, I’ve also been contacting artists, designers & companies whose product I would like to have for my store.  This part has been exciting, seeing the possibilities come together!  However, I also have to narrow down the artists and that’s proving more difficult than I expected.  Without fully knowing my customer, it’s difficult to decide which art print, for example, would be better to carry.  I’m also finding out that some artists who I knew 100% I would love to carry have too high of a minimum order for me or don’t offer wholesale to online stores.  Bummer, right?  You should see me as I anxiously await getting responses back!  And yes, it’s hard trying to get all of this stuff done while I’m working full time.  The good news is that I can do a lot of this from work.  I’m lucky in a sense that my day job is really only a part time job  (yet they have me here full time…hmm, wonder why I hate working for a corporation so much?!)  So I do have some time during the day to get things done on my store.  Unfortunately this involves a lot of hiding what I’m doing – not very conducive to creative, productive work on the store!  And I’m not even doing a great job of hiding – I’m telling you, my boss needs to wear a bell so I can hear her when she approaches!  (If you saw my tweet the other day, my boss actually mentioned my internet usage to me – oops!  Luckily for me, not much is done about these things at my job.)  So, I do what I can at work (I’m blocked from accessing a lot of websites like email – urgh!) and then come home and work for about 3-4 hours a night as well as the weekends.  It’s not easy – I’m tired A LOT, the house is a mess, and I miss my family (okay, they’re still there…but ½ the time I’m zombified on the computer…not really quality time!)  But I’m hoping in the end it’ll pay off!


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