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piper’s dream report: week twenty three

October 30th, 2010   |   Life

We can begin the official countdown!  The store goes live in 2 days!  I’m afraid I might not be coherent in this post.  I haven’t had a day off in weeks and have been working long, long days (the kind where you’re barely conscious yet still typing away at the computer – I’ve definitely made a nice groove in my chair from sitting there so much!)  Not that I’m complaining, I love what I’m doing, I’m just ready for a nap!!  I’m busy right now crossing my T’s and dotting my I’s and then going back and doing it again!  So many minute details but, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now!!

I’ve poured my blood, sweat & tears into this venture (well, luckily no blood – but definitely the others!)  To actually see the result of my work, my years of ideas & dreams come to fruition – I don’t think I have words to describe that feeling.  Other than to say…Oh.My.God!!!


The anticipation is killing me.  I’m not sure what to expect when the store goes live – I’m assuming that my far-off fantasy of so much traffic hitting the site that it crashes will not be the case!  But what WILL happen?  This is completely not like me – I’m a planner.  My accountant just asked me the other day “what are you expecting in sales for the first month?”  I can guesstimate but it’s by no means accurate.   I hate saying “I’m not sure” but…I’m not sure!  And really that’s what helped get me to this point. For someone who has always lived thinking about the future and planning for all the “what ifs”, I’ve had to let that go and live more in the moment.

I honestly hope that people just enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed dreaming it up!  (of course, a few sales wouldn’t hurt either!) I’ve set it up with the thought that one sydney road is about shaking up the everyday and surrounding yourself with things you love.  And I can say that every item I’m selling has met with the “Piper loves it” test!!  I know there will be many more challenges ahead (marketing, anyone?!)  But right now, the focus is all on the store going live.  And the thrill of finally getting to show you what I’ve been working on this whole time!!


As I’m nearing the “go live” date, I’ve had to take a step back and try to view it all through new eyes.  I’ve been staring at these products and the website for so long now that, to me, it’s starting to not have that new feeling anymore.  I’ve been trying to view it as if I’m new to the store – what would my reaction be?  Not an easy task to see it as someone else’s work and not my own.  I’m much more critical of my own work than I am of anyone else.  I keep wanting to update things – make the photos more polished, the content wittier, come up with new ideas – all before I’ve even let others see it!  There’s that feeling of wanting to make that first impression count.  But I know the site will evolve as it grows & I learn more.

As I was looking at the site this morning I couldn’t help but notice there was a big grin on my face.  All the ideas and products have come together and if I do say so myself – it’s looking pretty darn good! After all these weeks & months (and years!) of working on this store, it seems funny to say this yet it’s true…the adventure is just beginning…

where you’ve come from

October 27th, 2010   |   Business Advice

Where You’ve Come From

In the meantime, I’d like to share something I’ve been thinking about a lot: what I know now. I’ve now been growing my jewelry business for twelve years (3+ years full-time). It’s been such a long, long road. And when I think about the business and where it is now three years after my move to Chicago, I am sometimes a bit frustrated. It’s not as far along as I’d like. I sometimes think, “why isn’t this better and bigger?” Why did it take me over three years to just get this far? Knowing what I know now, it is frustrating that I wasn’t able to grow quicker, better, faster.

But the truth is, I only know what I know now because I tried and kept doing new things for three plus years. I didn’t know back in 2007 that I needed to re-brand and re-design. I didn’t know the same people, connections, and short cuts I know now. And I have to trust that I did the very best with the knowledge that I had at that point in time. So when I think about how the business is doing, I need to reflect on how far it’s come, not what I could accomplish if I started from scratch tomorrow. I think I could do what I’ve done in the past three years in just three months. But that’s what experience is all about.

So to honor my business history, I’m sharing a glimpse into my growth of Jess LC through the packaging from the last five years. It really demonstrates that we can’t beat ourselves up for taking such a long time to get better, but just laugh at the past and keep moving forward.

Jess LC Circa 2005

Oh boy. Isn’t this a stunner. Those rhinestones crack me up each time I see this picture. I don’t know what I was thinking back in college. But I’m pretty sure I thought it was a great ‘visual effect.’

Jess LC Circa 2007

Okay, I’ll admit, there is nothing actually “wrong” with this packaging, it just isn’t to our taste or branding at this point in time.

Jess LC Circa 2009

These labels went on white patent bags with black grosgrain ribbon. Not bad by any means, just a bit dated.

Jess LC Circa 2010

Ah, these boxes make me smile each time I see them. Packaging these puppies is so much fun because I love the shapes, colors, and the icy blue tissue that goes inside. This reflects what I’m all about right now.

And the stud boxes are too cute for words. Love.

the e-myth revisited

October 26th, 2010   |   Business AdviceLife

Hey guys! I’m on my way to New York today through Friday for a press preview at my PR firm’s Soho showroom. It’s going to be similar to this summer’s desk sides, but the magazine editors will be coming to the showroom rather than me going to their offices. I’m hopeful that this trip will lead to some new coverage in 2011.

The E-Myth Revisited

One of the very few things I’ll be packing is this paperback copy of The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber. It got a stellar recommendation from Mike at TPE which inspired me to pick up a copy myself. Though I’m only 66 pages into the book, I can already tell it’s going on the MML Bookshelf very soon. I’ll also be posting about topics Michael covers in the weeks to come since it’s the most relatable and applicable business book I’ve read thus far. In the meantime, go pick up a copy for yourself if you’re starting your own business or considering it in the future.

(I’d suggest checking half.com for a used copy and getting it for just a few bucks.)

doing five things well

October 25th, 2010   |   LifeThink About It

I hope you had a great weekend! I took some time to catch up with friends and prepare for the super busy week ahead of me. Tomorrow I head to New York for a press preview for Jess LC – I’ll explain more about that in tomorrow’s post. After the trip, I will be catching up with a friend visiting from Denver for Halloween weekend.

Though I’m not sure what our plans will be, I do know that I will be dressed in the simplest costume I would love to recommend to anyone else who hates keeping costumes around the house all year long. I’m going as a cougar: black sequin cocktail dress, silver sprayed roots in my hair, and costume jewelry. So easy, witty, and best of all, “costume clutter free.”

Doing Five Things Well

I’m sure you’ve heard the advice about writing five things you are thankful for in a gratitude journal. Research has shown that by recording what you are grateful for helps increase the overall joy you feel.

When I heard this years ago, I quickly took to the activity and faithfully documented my gratitude for several years. But over time, the activity became more of a part of the motions, just a part of my day like putting socks on or brushing my teeth. Don’t get me wrong, my gratitude for everything in my life is still super high, but the act of writing down the things I’m thankful for has lost it’s luster.

When I went to bed at night, I’d think of my five “thankful things” and then the perfectionist in me would creep in in a tiny voice and say,

“…. but I wish I had done X, Y, and Z better today.”

“…. but I didn’t get as much done as I wanted on the business.”

“… but I was just a little bit short with so and so.”

“… but I didn’t hit my goal for _____.”

I’d be thankful for a moment and then my ego would chime in with a few let-downs. Though things had happened to me that I was grateful for, I had personally dropped the ball in a few ways as well.

And then one night I decided to silence my mind’s negativity by thinking of five things that I personally had done well that day. Five actions I took that led to positive outcomes. And that’s when it clicked for me. Though I still recount daily the things I’m thankful for, I no longer put a number on those items and instead focus in the evening on my own personal positive actions. This isn’t to brag to myself, but it is to help me realize that though not everything that day went flawlessly, I still did five good things. And that was the perfect response to my mind’s criticism of anything that I didn’t do perfectly.

I highly suggest trying this tonight if you find it’s a bit easier to recognize the good that happens to you more than the good that happens because of you.

drastic change

October 23rd, 2010   |   Think About It

piper’s dream report: week twenty two

October 22nd, 2010   |   Life

Hi everyone!  Deep breath…I’m almost there.  But I jumped the gun (I think it’s the Sagittarius in me – I can’t help but spill the beans!)  Important lesson learned – don’t announce the date of your opening until you’re 300%, written in stone, sure.  I feel like I’m coming to you, tail tucked between my legs, to say that I’m not going to meet my own, self-imposed opening date of October 25th. Not an easy thing to swallow – but probably very common for new businesses.  I’ve been frantically working to try and meet that deadline.  Luckily, I ended up speaking with my consultant this week and she gave me a reality check.  I don’t want to just open – I want to know that I’m ready, that my site is ready and that I have my ducks in a row.   (right now, I think my ducks are just running around in circles!)

After talking with her, I felt like I could breathe again. I’ve been putting in 12 to 16 hour days trying to get everything done by Monday.  And everyday I’ve ended the day exhausted and wondering how the hell I’m going to get it all done.  For as much as I’m accomplishing – it’s still not enough – I have days of work left.  I underestimated how long each task would take.  Taking photos of product?  Well, that should only take a day.  Try 3 days and counting.  Not to mention, you learn as you go.  We spent all day taking photos only to realize the next day that they’d look better against a different backdrop and come out much better when it’s a sunny day.  Yep, we had to retake them all.


The business has become a family affair.  As I’m typing this, my hubby (who took a week of vacation to help me!  Hmm, I’m thinking I may owe him one) is taking photos of all the products and my mother-in-law is busy ironing, playing personal assistant and most importantly, feeding us!  And the best part has been hearing them ooh and ahh over all the products – if that’s not a confidence builder, I don’t know what is! I’ve been so mired down in all the little details and the tech side that it’s been a well needed boost to physically see the products and remember that that’s why I’m doing this.  I absolutely love what I’ve found and can’t WAIT to share it with people.  That’s why I’m doing this.

So many things left to be done…content to be entered, photos to take & resize, testing the whole website…not to mention my emails are piling up and my blog feels like it’s collecting dust.  But you know what?  I still wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world!  I’m on the cusp of something I’ve spent years dreaming about.  If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, right?!


Seeing the website come to life has been absolutely thrilling.  Seeing all the products together, the website design, the content – I spent years writing down ideas, spent years dreaming of what could be – now it’s a living, breathing thing!  It’s, for lack of a better word, unreal.

Thank you so much for the amazing support you all have been sending my way for weeks & months.  I don’t think I’d be where I am right now if it weren’t for everyone cheering me on.  I’m hoping you’ll stick with me for a little bit longer – I’m much more confident in saying “one sydney road will be open for business on November 1st.”  In theory, I could probably open by the end of next week but there’s something cool about starting out a brand new month with my store.  Although perhaps I should just say “opening soon”!!

designyourlifebryn

Hi everyone! After our announcement of the 100 Kisses Giveaway winner earlier today, I’m back to share a DYL shared by Bryn of Bryn Alexandra if you’ve been following Bryn’s journey into interior design over the past year you’ve seen her grow her business by leaps and bounds. And I’m thrilled to re-share her intentions that have helped her develop such a strong company and huge blog following.

As for the new DIY-DYL (do-it yourself DESIGN YOUR LIFE) there are no submissions for October, so our next date will be November 25th. So if you’d like to share your intentions, please send me your link by November 22nd and I’ll link to your DIY-DYL on Thanksgiving Day.

Enjoy!

DESIGN YOUR LIFE: bryn of bryn alexandra

This Design Your Life series couldn’t have come at a better time. My husband jokes that I’m having a “quarter life crisis” and truthfully, I am. But I think it’s just a part of life – I’m discovering who I am and what I want to do with my life. Which is why I was so happy when Jessica asked me to do this. So here they are, my life intentions!

Do What You Love.

bryndowhatyoulove

This is the most important intention in my life. I’ve always loved interior design, ever since I was a child. But in college, I decided it’d be best for me to pick a career path that would most likely get me a job post graduation. What 20 year old is that sensible? Fast forward and I found myself at 25 hating my career  and miserable. I decided on my 25th birthday to just put myself out there for interior design. So I did. I put myself out there on my blog, on Craigslist, and surprisingly I nabbed a few brave souls who have trusted me to work my magic on their homes. And to my surprise, they like what I can do! I won’t lie, it’s a struggle everyday juggling two jobs, and with each glimpse I get into the life of an interior designer the more I realize my day job isn’t for me. But that just pushes me harder to work at what I do love.

Build Relationships.

Confession time – I’m a major introvert. I’m one of those people who gets uncomfortable in social situations. My entire life I’ve only ever needed/had one best friend. Today, my husband is my best friend. He’s my support, the person I laugh with, the person I complain to, and that’s all I need. But as I get older I realize that relationships are an important part of life, no matter how big or small. So that’s my second intention – I want to build relationships and work at them. It’s harder for an introvert, but it’s no excuse to miss out on those specials bonds.

Live Simply.

Okay, another confession – I used to be so obsessed with material things! Ugh, embarrassing. Woman love their designer handbags, sunglasses, etc where I come from (Dallas). I got caught up in it and in college I worked an almost full time job to pay for nice things. I even got into some debt. I’m not proud of it. But then I grew out of it. I learned the value of money, and what’s important in life. I’m glad I went through that stage because I learned my lesson and I’ll never do it again. I learned a $800 purse is no better than a $50 purse. Now I live simply. I purge things when I don’t need them. I rarely shop and if I do it’s at thrift stores. I now value the simple things like a good cup of chai latte or a great home cooked meal in with the husband.

Be Myself & Be Confident.

brynbemyself

I do often fall victim to jealousy, and I hate it! Jealousy is such a terrible, pointless emotion. Even though I find myself jealous of someone else’s possessions, or hair or whatever it is, I always try to counter those feelings with appreciation of myself. As I’ve grown older I’ve learned more to love who I am. So what if my curly hair always looks a bit crazy? Can you imagine how boring life would be if everyone was the same? I always have to tell myself – be yourself. Live creatively. Love yourself. Embrace the differences that are you! If you are happy and confident with yourself, jealousy suddenly doesn’t become an issue.

Try New Things.

bryntrynewthings

I’ll end my intentions with the least serious one of the group – it’s always great to try new things! I love trying new foods, new hobbies, new experiences. I used to hate mushrooms but now I love them! Sometimes my husband and I will put on movies in different languages just to check out something new. We moved across country from Oklahoma to Los Angeles, CA. That was an experience! Spice up your life once and a while with new and different things, even if it’s something as little as choosing a different dish at your favorite restaurant.

Another big thank you to Jessica!

Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.

100 kisses ambassador giveaway winner

October 21st, 2010   |   Life

Watch the video below to meet the Jess LC team and see the selection of the 100 Kisses Giveaway!

A special thanks goes out to the following Ambassadors who participated in the 100 Kisses Giveaway

(in no particular order)

At First Blush

Violet Revolution

Be Beautiful in This Skin

Dutch. British. Love.

The Really Cute Blog

Design Darling

Stylishly Inspired

A Spot of Whimsy

What I Wear in a Little Town

Design Vignettes

Fiscally Chic

Spry on the Wall

Auburn Not Red

Power Tools and Thread

I Will Go if You Go With Me

Mrs. Bzb Creates

Small Time Style

Savvy Cinderella

Off Switch

Turning Pages

Useless Endeavor

Sweetie Pie Pumpkin Noodle

The Fashionable Life of an Air Force Wife

Dressing Mommy (asked not to be included in the giveaway, but wrote a really sweet review)

Ensalada

The Rest is Still Unwritten

threesixfive

The House of Liv

Dirty Laundry

This Whole Life

And last but not least, I had to share this awesome Polyvore collage created by Meghan of Savvy Cinderella.

art project buyers?

October 20th, 2010   |   Style

I’ve got some exciting news! I’ve been asked to submit two of my recent art projects for an upcoming book and I need to make some step-by-step instructions with photos.

Since my projects are already completed for my place, I can recreate the projects for some MML readers… anyone in Chicago want one to buy one of the art projects above (price is just the cost of supplies)?

If so, email me at jess[at]jesslc[dot]com and I’ll whip you up a pink masking tape canvas or gold and white felt flower painting – first come, first served.

the mml bookshelf

October 19th, 2010   |   Life

It’s finally here! I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to think of such a useful tool for MML. When I talk to people about how they can design a life with intention, I immediately recommend a few good books or blogs to read to get the ball rolling. More often than not, that book list starts with The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (surprise, surprise).

But the truth is, that’s just the first book. Several other authors have made a lasting impression on my “design a life with intention” philosophy. And so, I’ve finally made a page for those books to be easily referenced. Take a look at the new MML Bookshelf (in the navbar above) to see the top six MML related books. I’ll be adding to this list – and eventually expanding to include influential bloggers as well.

(PS- you’ll also notice the DIY-DYL Page is now up too!)

social media and business mp3

October 19th, 2010   |   Business Advice

First, I’d like to quickly remind everyone of a few exciting things going on this week on MML – remember the 100 Kisses, 100 Ambassadors giveaway closes tomorrow and the DIY DYL interview links are due by Thursday.

Social Media and Business MP3

Okay, moving onto to today’s business – literally. Last week I was asked by the Women’s Leadership Exchange and American Express OPEN to speak with Christine Dyer about social media for small business. They’ve turned our 35 minute conversation into an mp3 which you can listen to via this link.

I loved speaking on this panel with Christine because of our different yet related social media strategies. She is busy balancing her job at American Express OPEN and growing BridalTweet.com. Her offering is also service related – valuable wedding industry information. Meanwhile I have a personality and product based social media approach and spend as much time as possible delegating other business activities so I can be in social media as much as possible. If you fall in either of these camps, there may be something to learn from the mp3. Hope you enjoy it!

rearranging our lives

October 18th, 2010   |   LifeStyle

Okay, I know, this looks like a decorating post, but stick with me, the lesson translates to much more than just artwork.

These chevron paintings might look familiar since they came from my old studio. Before I moved in September, I had “decorated” this new apartment from top to bottom in my head. I automatically knew that these chevron paintings were destined to grace my new living room’s wall. They were going to be perfect.

But they aren’t.

In reality these puppies are a bit too small, too spread apart, and clash with other items in the living room. They look a little bit pathetic in such a large space and lower the room’s overall appeal.

But you know what? I kept them on that wall for a really long time. I knew that they had potential, I knew that they had value. And so I left them there, reminding myself of their potential and value, all the while feeling slightly disappointed with the living room’s overall look.

Eventually I finally stopped making excuses for the paintings and thought of new ways to fill the focal wall in the living room. I got excited about a really awesome wallpaper project I wanted to make with Oh Joy’s new gold and white wallpaper (I know, I’ve got a gold and white problem obsession). But the project was going to cost a pretty penny.

During all of the living room decorating drama, I made some delightful gold and white flower paintings for my bedroom. They were big, bold, and made a great statement. But the were so big and bold that they overwhelmed the space above my bed. However, I kept them up because they were big and bold - just like I settled with the value and potential of the chevron paintings in the living room.

(I’m guessing you are starting to sense the point to this story…)

Yes, ladies and gents, it took me six weeks far too long to realize the two sets of artwork simply needed to switched! By making one more gold and floral canvas, I had the perfect art work for each room. The big and bold floral canvases balance out the living room perfectly. While the chevron canvases add some much needed graphic punch to the more traditional bedroom.

I wonder how often we design our lives the same way I started decorating my apartment. It seems completely possible that we get so attached to the idea, potential, and value of things, that we forget to ask whether this career, relationship, home, friendship, or freaking piece of artwork is in the right place to begin with. Just because it worked before doesn’t mean it’s still working now. And it also doesn’t mean that we need to get a brand new piece of expensive artwork (or career, relationship, home, or friendship), maybe we just need to do some rearranging.

Post written by Kelsey of The Captial Barbie, photo credit

Hey there lovebugs! Welcome to Fall.  Thanks again to Jess for letting me bring you a monthly Dos and Don’ts list.

This month, I think MML readers have truly enjoyed Jess’ sincere posts about managing stress, bad days, and worry.  I’d like to use that theme for my list this month.  Remember you get to decide how you react to any situation.  Think about that the next time you feel overwhelmed, angry, or blissful.  It is just as important to reflect on the good times as it is the bad.  This list is about moods and situations and how we react to them.

Enjoy!

Do

  • Refuse the ‘air kiss’ and plant one on ‘em if you are truly happy to see someone.
  • Do lay around and accomplish nothing on your day off.  It’s an off day for a reason.  You rock the rest of the week, let yourself relax for one day.
  • Do things that make you happy and harm no one, regardless that anyone else thinks its lame.
  • Make lists, charts, and anything else that helps you feel in control and on top of all of the wonderful things you are doing.  Don’t forget to make a trophy sheet for all of the things you’ve accomplished.
  • Remember that being social is great; but knowing how to sit with yourself is sometimes even better.

Don’t

  • Allow jealousy to take over.  Yes we all have it.  Recognize, but treat it like a bad friend: civilly.  If you avoid it-it will creep back up, if you confront it, look it in the eye and say ‘yeah ok I’m jealous’ you will be amazed how much easier it is to handle the next time.
  • Worry.
  • Stress about what you’re going to be when you grow up.  No one really knows, and that’s the beauty of it.  Always reinvent yourself, always grow.
  • Let shame be in your vocabulary.  If you make a mistake, learn from it and offer ways you could have done it better.  There’s no shame in making a mistake at work or in a relationship: it’s called living.
  • Allow yourself to wallow for too long.  Feeling bad yourself is ok- everyone needs a night of Ben and Jerry’s and a spoon (no bowl).  But learning how to pull yourself out of the slump is a huge part of becoming an even better you.

piper’s dream report: week twentyone

October 15th, 2010   |   Life

Hi everyone!  It’s nice to be back with my Dream Reporter post – especially since so many things are happening!!  To say the past few weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions is probably understating it quite a bit.  One moment I’ll be flying high, excited that everything is coming together and looking forward to the grand opening.  The next, I’ll be curled up in a ball wondering why I ever started this business and how do I possibly get out of it?!  It’s crunch time so there’s a lot on my plate right now – so much that I don’t think I can add one more thing  (yet it seems that I’m adding to my list daily!)

Oh and before I forget to mention…I just got my last paycheck.  Things just got real, people!  Gulp.


I had to share something I just learned with you all.  Whenever you’re going to an event, party or maybe even shopping – wear what you’ll be selling!!  I learned this the hard way this past weekend.  A friend of mine had a big birthday bash…I got myself dressed up and put on some pretty earrings I got in Key West.  Guess what everyone commented on and wanted to know where I got them?  Yep, my earrings!!  Are ya kidding me??  So instead of being able to say “oh, by the way, I’m selling these lovely earrings – here’s my biz card”, I had to mumble through how these earrings came from vacation and blah, blah make sure you check out my store for other earrings.  Such a missed opportunity right?  Lesson learned!!  I’m thinking I should just drape myself with my products at all times…I can go out with one of the bags I’m carrying and tote around pillows and tea towels – it’d be a conversation starter, right?!


So, I’m knee deep in entering content onto the store website.  I have to say it was like being a kid on Christmas morning when I first saw what the site looks like with my actual products on it!  It was the first time that it really, really hit me – this is happening – I’m going to have a store!!  You can’t imagine though how much detail and information goes into each product.  Price, description, inventory amount, categories the product should be listed under, recommended products, description of the designers and photos.  It’s taking a lot longer to enter this information than I would like – in fact, my poor hubby has been put to work on helping me enter information.  This is in addition to his current role as photographer & receiving manager (grin).  Thank god he comes cheap – so far I’ve been able to get away with paying in hugs (hmm, that doesn’t sound right!!)

I wish I could say that I was done writing the product descriptions.  It’s still a work in progress.  Needless to say – I can’t wait for you all to read them – my hubby and I came up with an idea based on our love for music and it’s been fun/hair-pulling stress working on each description!  (I swear, I’m going to burst if I can’t show you the site soon!!)  I also have to take photos of all the products – that’ll be this weekend’s project.  I’m hoping for sunny days!


One thing I just crossed off the list – packaging!  Thank you all for your input – very helpful.  I wanted to have custom tissue paper created using the stripe pattern my logo designer came up with.  Once I found out how expensive it was to have custom paper printed (guess I’m not West Elm yet!) it was back to the drawing board.  And then wouldn’t you know it – guess what I came across?  Tissue paper with grey and white stripes!!  Not the same as my pattern but close enough and the price can’t be beat.  I’m pairing that with yellow tissue paper and kraft shipping tags with a stamp of one sydney road and then it’ll be all tied up with twine.  I can’t WAIT to send out my first package – to me, it’s those little touches that make it exciting and fun to send out a package.  And…I’ve got something up my sleeve.  Every order gets a little token of thanks…I’ll give a hint…it continues the music theme!

So the opening date is October 25th…fingers crossed.  It’s dependent on the web designer and me getting everything entered, updated and tested.  I definitely have butterflies in my stomach.  I’m anxious for people to see the store and excited to share what I’ve been working on this whole time!  I’m trying to keep my expectations in check.  I need to keep remembering that this is going to be a slow journey – a marathon not a sprint!

macy’s trunk show tomorrow

October 14th, 2010   |   Life

Attention one and all! Tomorrow we’re having a Jess LC trunk show at Macy’s from 11-4. I’ll be there setting up at 10-12 and Melissa, my lovely assistant, will be showcasing our jewels from noon to four. Come get those Diversey earrings you’ve been pining after or scope out the Franklin braille necklaces in person. Plus, there’s no wait time on shipping. Oh, and those Macy’s coupons you have? They usually count on our goods too.

(Tomorrow’s my [26th] birthday, so I’ll be heading out early to prepare for a lovely girl’s night at my apartment.)

I’m so pumped about today’s announcement! After the infamous DYL‘s return from a long summer vacation, it is back and more popular than ever. I get more emails about this series that almost everything else. Something new has started to spark as well in the recent months: there are more readers writing in wanting to share their own personal DYL intentions than ever. Since this is a Thursday series, I’ve only got room for four interviews a month, and at the rate MML readers raising their hands, we’d never get to everyone doing this one at a time.

I mentioned this phenomenon to a lovely friend of mine last week and she had a fantastic idea.

I’m now opening up the DESIGN YOUR LIFE series to all bloggers in a new monthly post called “DIY DYL” (short for “Do It Yourself DESIGN YOUR LIFE”). One Thursday a month (for October it is going to be next Thursday, October, 21st) I will link everyone’s DIY DYL posts here on MML (okay, now I’m using more acronyms than might be wise, but stick with me). This way we can all have a little blog block party hopping to and from everyone’s DIY DYL interviews commenting, linking, and so on.

And in case that’s not enough, Melissa, one of my awesome assistants, has made a spiffy badge (similar to the one above, only smaller) for DIY DYL participants as well linking to the full DIY DYL Guide page.

What is the DIY DYL Guide page, you ask? Well, it isn’t created… yet… but I’ll have it up later today. It’s going to have a little introduction about the series, how it works, how to participate, and a link list to all the DIY DYL posts on everyone’s blogs. This way new readers can surf the links easily and find huge doses of inspiration any day of the month.

So to recap…

How the DIY DYL will work

Write your own DESIGN YOUR LIFE interview on your blog – the format is super simple (here’s what I tell all DYL interviewees): please share 5-7 intentions for your life with specific, first-person examples of how you “design your life” around those intentions. Then add one head-shot at the top and personal photos that relate to the intentions below to add personality. You can post your DIY DYL whenever you like, no special post date is necessary.

After you’ve posted your awesome interview, send me a link and I’ll save it for the upcoming DIY DYL post date (as I mentioned, this October’s will be next Thursday [10/21]). I’ll also pass along a DIY DYL badge for you to link to the DIY DYL Guide – coming later today – or just to MML – whichever you like (the badge isn’t required, but it’s pretty and helps spread the word about your interview and the series as a whole).

Okay, ladies (and gents!) time to start your engines… er…. intentions!

$100 Jess LC Ambassador Giveaway

October 13th, 2010   |   Life

As a thank you to our 100+ Jess LC Ambassadors (!!), we are celebrating by giving one Ambassador their very own $100 giveaway for their blog and a personal $100 gift certificate.

How to enter if are a Jess LC Ambassador:

  1. If you are a Jess LC Ambassador, all you need to do to enter and win the “100 Kisses Giveaway and Gift Certificate” is write a post on your blog explaining why you’ve decided to become a Jess LC Ambassador by Wednesday, October 20th.
  2. Once the post is up (it can go live anytime between now and next Wednesday), send me an email with the subject header “100 Kisses” and include a link to the post (jess[at]jesslc[dot]com).

How to enter if you are not a Jess LC Ambassador yet:

  1. If you are not a Jess LC Ambassador yet, and you would like to become one (details about Ambassadors are here), email me at jess[at]jesslc[dot]com with the subject line “Jess LC Ambassador” by Monday, October 18th.
  2. Then make sure to post on your blog about why you’ve chosen to become a Jess LC Ambassador and send me the link (jess[at]jesslc[dot]com) with the subject line “100 Kisses” by next Wednesday, October 20th.

How we will choose the winner

We will then pool all the blog links and randomly select a winner from among these posts. The announcement will go up next week.

The winner will host a $100 Jess LC Giveaway and get $100 worth of Jess LC jewelry for themselves as well. Once the giveaway is live, I will direct people to the winning Ambassador’s blog to enter their $100 Jess LC giveaway.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me and my lovely Jess LC team as customers, Ambassadors, and friends. I am so, so thankful for your encouragement and I want to give you all a huge hug and cyber kiss!

xoxo,
Jess!

[sponsor post + deal] plush studio

October 13th, 2010   |   Style

Today I’d like formally introduce one of our most recent MML sponsors, Plush Studio. Erin, the mastermind behind the high quality pillow line is certainly no stranger to the interior design blog world. I myself begged asked her very nicely to make me some custom curtains for my living room earlier this summer and she was nice enough to make them – perfectly, I might add. I’m itching to share the curtains with you all, but I am still trying to keep the apartment on the (semi) down-low before it’s “official” reveal later this winter (so mysterious, right?).

Until then, I’ve decided to fulfill a little fantasy of mine. I’ve been girl-crushing big time on Sarah Richardson and honestly look at my Tivo’s recordings of Sarah’s House and Design Inc. as a significant highlight to my day. In honor of my crush, I’ve gone “shopping” on Erin’s site and come up with the pillows I’d use for Jess’ House – if I was able to renovate my own fixer-upper (while wearing wonderful blazers) with a witty sidekick and tv crew. You’ll see where I’d use each pillow on the tags above. But of course, don’t let my picks sway you, they would be great in any space.

Special MML Discount

Wait, it gets better! Erin has generously extended a discount to ALL MML customers. Simply order your pillow on her shop and then send her an email saying you came over from Jess’ House MML and want to cash in on the 10% refund. Easy as pumpkin pie.

dropping the stick

October 12th, 2010   |   LifeThink About It


Hi guys! I learned a great lesson yesterday that I’d love to share about “dropping the stick.” Please let me know by email (jess[at]jesslc[dot]com) or in the comment section if you are loving these recent “thinking with intention” posts or if you’d prefer more clutter, home, and business related content. I’m here to help, so just let me know! I do plan to keep a good mix overall, but I’d like to know if these “thinking” posts are valuable or if I should focus more time on the other MML categories.

Dropping the Stick

Yesterday a friend told me about a not-so-nice comment a stranger said about me. After I heard the rude comment, I reflected and came to a new level of understanding that I’m now calling “dropping the stick.”

The moment that I heard the hurtful comment, the phrase “when you pick up one end of the stick, you pick up the other” popped in my head.  I realized I had a choice: I could pick up the stick, or leave it alone. Meaning, I could judge the person who said the hurtful comment for saying such biased and unnecessary words. I could defend myself in my head by telling myself how wrong, mean, and judgmental the commenter was. I could remind myself how much “better” I am than the other person, knowing I would never say such a thing about someone. This could have caused a temporary sense of satisfaction; some ice for my bruised ego.

But by picking up that end of the stick, I would inevitably pick up the other end as well: I would be choosing to allow the comment to hurt me and thereby feel upset, angry, and sad. By judging him for the mean comment, I would be holding onto the hurt it could cause as well.

So instead, I decided to reflect on the comment itself, ignoring the man who said it, why he said it, or whether he should have said it in the first place. Ignoring the mean undertone to the comment, I reflected objectively on the situation and in this specific case, realized there was a spark of inspiration. In all honesty, I had personally been feeling uneasy about that aspect of my life and had been wanting to make some changes. I’ve also honestly noticed I’ve been a bit complacent about making that specific shift. And by reflecting purely on the comment (disregarding the ugly undertone) it inspired me to commit to the change I’ve been personally struggling with.

Refusing to place blame or pass judgment on the man who made the mean comment, I refused to allow his comment to “hurt” me. Then looking at the comment itself objectively, I found some inspiration within it to help me actually implement my own intentions. So what could have been a really hurtful, negative experience was rendered first neutral, and then positive as I later reconnected with my truest desire to improve myself.

I wonder how often we have similar experiences and we get so caught up playing with the stick that we lose sight of what’s really important or could even be useful in our lives. By simply withdrawing from the ugly and painful stick, we step then over it and make peaceful and positive progress, if needed.

silhouette art book giveaway winner

October 11th, 2010   |   Style

Melissa, our lovely Jess LC assistant, has used the random number to select Stephanie (comment 12/31) from last week’s Silhouette Art giveaway.

Thank you everyone for entering!

a few fall touches

October 9th, 2010   |   LifeStyle

Happy weekend! Before I start, I’d like to mention that the worries listed on the worry flashcards yesterday are not my personal concerns, I got a few inquiries about them and realize that it wasn’t quite clear: those were example worries, not my personal concerns.

I am feeling much, much better about everything and I’m excited to enjoy a few days off to spend with friends. I’m volunteering for the Chicago Marathon on Sunday morning bright and (5:30am) early. I’ll be cheering and hydrating Cathy, Bernard, Alina, and about 40,000 other runners.

Today I’m taking a page from Diane and Tatiana and sharing a few fall touches I’ve made to my humble abode.

Farmer’s market gourds on a cake plate. Doesn’t get simpler or more festive.

I feel like the pumpkin gives this whole vignette a fall feel by highlighting the autumn tones in the prints.

Have a great fall weekend!

Alright. I’m just gonna say it. This is THE most helpful thing I have ever written. In my personal opinion this beats feisty me, reflective me, and kicks pretty me outta the water.

I will preface this by admitting I’ve had no less than three meltdowns since my two previous bad moods (bad mood one and two). This cloud has lasted through most of this whole dang week. Though not productive in some ways, I am so thankful that I have MML to share what I learn along the way.

I invented Worry Flashcards yesterday morning, right after my third meltdown. A handful of the stressful situations this week had reached resolutions – positive resolutions – but my frayed nerves were still raw and the emotions were still high and skewing negative. Even with the good turn of events, I found myself reeling and processing what happened this week. My brain and emotions couldn’t keep up with one another and it all combined into one humongous knot of uncertainty, confusion, and worry.

So here it goes, the best thing I’ve ever shared on MML:

Okay, so the name doesn’t sound super inspiring, but the activity is certainly powerful. As I mentioned above, I was unable to process and feel any amount of clarity after several situations were cleared up. So I wrote down all of my worries on flashcards (obviously, any paper will do). I’ve made an example sample set (note: these are not my personal worries) of worries to explain the process. That big pile of worries pretty much mirrored how frazzled my brain felt yesterday morning. No clarity, order, or understanding going on at all.

After I listed my worries, I separated them into different categories. Feel free to make your own custom categories. I chose Personal, Relationships, Career, and Finance for this example.

Then I looked at each category one at a time. I determined whether each worry was Out of My Control, In My Control, or just Not True anymore (some of my old worries that got resolved were no longer true, but still bothering me as if they were true).

Here’s what the rest of the categories could look like:

For each worry that was Out of My Control, I wrote a wish on the back of the card stating the outcome I desired in that situation. I then wished the situations the best and moved on to the next step.

For each item in the Not True line, I stated why that worry wasn’t valid any longer on the back of the card.

This left me with just the concerns that I could actually DO something about. On the back of these cards I wrote the first step I could take to resolve each worry.

Then I put them in order, so that I could look at each concern one at a time and start making change. I felt focused on each specific, first-step I needed to help me resolve the situations I could control. I also didn’t feel like I was forgetting anything. I knew it was all there in the flashcards; documented and ready for action when the time was right.

My personal experience with Worry Flashcards

Though I won’t go into any detail about my worries specifically, I will say:

  • I had 17 worry flashcards.
  • 3 were Out of My Control
  • 4 were Not True
  • 10 were In My Control
  • 6 worries In My Control were solved with the same action! And believe it or not, I had no idea that was the case before I made my worry cards.

I hope you find this exercise as enlightening as I do. And of course, I hope that the next time you are about to have a melt down, you try some worry cards and see if that helps you find more clarity and order in the chaos.

Side Note: awesome post about worry vs. concern over at White Hot Truth yesterday.

Today’s DESIGN YOUR LIFE interview is brought to you by the lovely Piper author of One Sydney Road and our amazing MML Dream Reporter. As Piper nears the launch of her awesome new online store(!!), I thought it would be the prefect time for her to reflect on the intentions that got her to this exciting point in her life.

Enjoy!

DESIGN YOUR LIFE: Piper of One Sydney Road

Hi everyone!  Hope you’re not tired of me yet because here I am again – this time with a Design Your Life post.  I think it’s fair to say that this has been a life-changing year for me.  I can’t say that my life is figured out yet but I think that’s part of the fun (and the challenge!)   Here’s what I’ve learned (and what I’m still learning!)

Make time for loved ones

I’ve gushed before about my hubby, which isn’t going to stop me from saying it again!  He’s the jelly to my peanut butter, the han solo to my princess leia.  No matter what’s going on in our lives, we make it a point to spend time together.  He’s my main inspiration – without him making me laugh everyday and just being by my side, nothing would feel inspiring!  I’ve said to him that even if we had to live in a cardboard box, as long as we were together, it wouldn’t matter to me.  I’m just hoping we can locate our box on a beach somewhere!

Live in the moment

This one is a work in progress for me.  Since I tend to constantly think 5 years in the future, sometimes I feel like I’m missing out on the here and now.  It’s the dreamer in me – I think it’s both a blessing and a curse!  It’s a reminder to stop and smell the roses – or at least just notice that they’re there.

Laugh often

One of my favorite stories about my hubby and me actually comes from his grandma.  This was during the time that she was living with his mom and we were over quite frequently.  Apparently one day she turned to her daughter (my mother-in-law) and asked, quite seriously “what are they always laughing about?”  Pretty much anything and everything (the more sarcastic the better)!  Laughter really is the best medicine – for best results make sure to laugh daily and surround yourself with people who make you laugh!   Extra points if you laugh loudly.

Age is just a number

I’ve always felt that if you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything. Doesn’t matter what your age is!  And while we’re at it – can we put a stop to those articles that say “what to wear when you’re 20/30/40″ – if you like it, who cares how old you are?!  Rock that miniskirt!

Embrace imperfections

Ok, honestly I’m still figuring out how to do this one!  But doesn’t that sound good – embracing our imperfections?  If someone has found an easy way to do this, let me know.  Otherwise, I think it’s back to the basics and remembering that we’re all human, we’re not perfect and, well, s**t happens.  It’s about having the courage to move beyond that!

Dream and take action

Dream often, dream the impossible…but to make those dreams come true, you have to take action.  This year has really shown me that.  Fear gets in the way of our dreams all too often.  The only way to combat fear is to take action.  Doesn’t matter if it’s wrong or imperfect, just that you get out there and try it.  And here’s the great part – the more you take action, the easier it gets!

Live every week like it’s shark week

I took this line from “30 Rock” because it just says so much.  Now granted this one can be tough to do.  But there’s a huge world out there – get out and explore it!  (note to self:  I’m talking to you!)  Nothing gets me more inspired and revved up than being adventurous, trying new things, taking classes, being curious and being spontaneous.  I can find myself getting stuck in a rut quite easily.  But usually all it takes is for me to be a little adventurous and suddenly everything feels exciting again!   The best part is that it doesn’t have to be something huge – it can be as simple as making something new for dinner or wearing something out of the ordinary.  Life is too short to not live it up and go after your dreams!

Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.

another bad mood

October 6th, 2010   |   LifeThink About It

Okay guys, gotta level with you. I had a great morning and then found myself in another bad mood. Lame, right? Needless to say, I wasn’t too proud of myself for finding myself in a second bad mood just hours after posting the helpful tips on how I got out of the bad mood yesterday. And as you can imagine, being Miss MML, I have a hard time allowing myself to wallow too long before I start challenging myself to follow my own advice. Yep. You guessed it. I went back and actually re-read what I wrote this morning and retraced my steps.

This time the Circles of Influence and Concern weren’t quite as helpful since the factors were all the same as they were yesterday. But the good thing about this is that I managed to pull myself out of this mood in just a few hours by taking a few new steps.

I refused to put on the sweatpants.

Yep, no woe-is-me attire for this mood. I didn’t want the bad mood to get comfortable being in my life for too long.

I went for a run to clear my head.

No matter how bad my mood might be, there is no excuse to not enjoy a 74* day in Chicago in October. The little kids playing in the dog park also made it hard to hold onto my pity party. Dogs and toddlers, two of my weaknesses.

I listened to awesome running music too. I couldn’t possibly stay mad as Andre 3000 is telling me to shake it like a Polaroid picture. Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy may also have been on that playlist. Ahem.

I got 30% more generous.

While on the run, I challenged myself to find a way to help people, per my instructions from yesterday. I came up with a brilliant plan. I’m giving you, my wonderful friends, 20% off Jess LC with the code VERYGOODMOOD good until 11:59p Thursday (10/7). In addition, I’m showing my gratitude for my wonderful apartment by donating 10% of these VERYGOODMOOD orders to Habitat for Humanity (note: the discount code works in the credit card checkout only, PayPal does not accept discount codes). So if you are looking to buy any Jess LC jewelry in the near future, save yourself 20% and know that 10% of your order is going to help those in need. Why don’t we all make the world a better place? No better way for my clenched fists to soften than to extend them generously.

So there you have it. A few new ways to drive to sunny skies.

bad mood

October 6th, 2010   |   LifeThink About It

Yesterday was a bad day for me. A very bad day. I spent most of it alone in sweatpants and a hoodie feeling sorry for myself. I did more moping than work. I will also say right away that there is no cause for alarm or real worry, nothing specifically happened to me or a loved one, I just had a very bad mood which was hard to shake. Though there are so many things I am thankful for in my life, yesterday I found it hard to spot any silver linings in the storm. Situations that normally don’t phase me felt weighty and unending.

And as you can imagine, I felt determined to crawl out of this bad mood one way or another. Which leads to the good news: by 3:45 I was able to refocus and re-frame my attitude back into it’s normal, positive, and productive state. Without going into too much detail on the “why me” whining that went on in my head, I would love to share the three things that helped me the most to shake the blah’s and get out back into a cute outfit. My hopes are that if anyone else finds themselves in a Sweatpant Day, that these three actions might be helpful to them as well.

I made a Circle of Influence and Concern Diagram

This is an activity I learned in my favorite book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The diagram above is a mock-up of the one I made yesterday (I don’t need to burden you with my personal drama), it shows the general idea of how the circles work. I took a piece of paper and wrote down everything that was flying around in my head causing me to feel overwhelmed or out of control. I then went through the list and determined whether the worry was within my Circle of Influence or my Circle of Concern. The Circle of Influence items are those that I have direct control over, they are the things that I can do something about directly. The Circle of Concern items are things that I’m worried about, feeling anxious about, but really, don’t have any direct control over. By separating out each item and putting it in one of the circles, I could identify things that I was able to change, and the things that were beyond my control.

The Influence circle is generally smaller because we can be concerned about a lot in our lives, but may only be able to control a portion of those situations. By reflecting and focusing on the things in my Influence circle, I could narrow my scope to things that I can begin improving right away. The Concern items still exist, but narrowing down my actions and thoughts to the things I can control – and what I can do about them – helped me feel more powerful to change the things that were irking me.

I listed the ways I’ve been a blessing to others

While in the very bad mood, I was hyper-critical of myself. In order to look at myself in a more positive way, I listed out the ways that I had been helpful for others in the past few days. This eased all of the fears and whispering doubts swirling in my head. I couldn’t rationally keep thinking I was a terrible person, I had to recognize and honor the fact that I had done many nice things in the past few days which improved other people’s lives.

I looked for ways to help others that day

I then continued to seek out ways to help other people yesterday afternoon. I first offered to help a friend get home safely after a surgery. I then I met with a friend who is having personal troubles by talking with her at a coffee shop. Both of these actions helped me stop staring at the black clouds looming over my head.

Had I not decided to start trying to pull myself out of the very bad mood yesterday, I think there is a good chance I might still be in it today. Perhaps it’s the difference between waiting for the storm to pass or driving to sunnier skies.

life lessons learned from harry

October 5th, 2010   |   Life

I have another great perspective to share from a MML reader and guest writer, Heidi, of To Be Luminous. She has gained some simple but important wisdom from her constant companion, Harry. Reading her story, I am even more excited to get my own puppy… one day.

Enjoy!

(post written by Heidi of To Be Luminous)

Harry, my almost 3 year old shichon, has been part of my little family since January 2008.  We’ve had over two wonderful years together and to celebrate his third birthday next week, I thought I’d share with you fabulous readers a few things Harry has taught me.

  1. Everyone is a friend waiting to be met- Harry loves everyone and races up to them expectantly.  Initially I, being a shy girl, was embarrassed by his bum-rush friend making style.  Quickly I realized that people generally love his big smile and sweet affection.  Slowly I began to realize that people gravitate to the same thing in other people.  I would sit back at a party and watch the happy, outgoing person who genuinely believes everyone is a friend waiting to be made . . . and more often than not, they were!  My little shy self has always feared the rejection of strangers and quietly waits for someone to approach.  Little Harry and my subsequent observations has blown my approach out of the water.  I’ve met some pretty incredible and surprising people by being open to everyone that comes across my path.
  2. Service makes the heart grow stronger- I’m not a mother yet and so Harry is my first chance to realize how much love comes from serving someone else.  This love has been tested time and time again- particularly when Harry had to be walked in -10 degree weather when I had bronchitis.  Ugh.  That was painful.  I actually followed him around the snowy park praying that God would make him poop so we could go back inside.  But I’d do it again and again for him.  I rearrange my schedule for him on a regular basis and it doesn’t faze me anymore.  I love him more and more each year and I know that a huge part of it is a direct result of the service and personal sacrifice that goes into our relationship.
  3. Exercise is vital- When I first adopted Harry I was overweight.    As I did my due diligence as a first time dog mom I learned that he needed exercise first and foremost in order to be a happy, well-behaved dog.  I was perfect with making sure he got his daily dose of exercise and not only did it get me up and moving again (after a rough car accident), but I realized that I was perfect with his diet and exercise, but not so much with mine.  I kept thinking that if I had a user manual, similar to all the dog books I was reading it would absolutely include guidelines specific to my diet and a daily amount of exercise.  I began modifying my own exercise and eating and weight started to drop off.  I’m much healthier two years later than I was when I adopted him.
  4. Regular snuggles feel amazing- I grew up in a home without a lot of touching.  We love each other, but don’t feel the need to hug, snuggle and be close on a regular basis.  After a few days together Harry found his favorite snuggle spots.  He likes to curl up behind my knees when I sleep or lay on the couch.  If I’m sitting up he forms a soft ball on my feet.  When I first moved to Prague the weather turned cold, the people felt cold and I don’t know if I’ve ever felt quite so lost and alone.  Snuggles from my little Harry increased the love I felt exponentially.  His sweet smile and warm fuzzy body brightened my world during those dark moments.

I know these lessons seem obvious, but I learned them through a fuzzy little dog named Harry. What have your pets taught you?

lori: finding my life

October 5th, 2010   |   Life

Good morning! Today I’d like to share Lori of Chic Geek Designs‘ story about how she’s re-designing her life. As you’ll see, she’s done a great job drafting a new plan and has actively made changes to pursue her purpose.

Enjoy!

I first wanted to thank Jess for letting me share my story. Before I start, I want to introduce myself. My name is Lori and my “home” is over at ChicGeek Designs.  The name of my blog and my blog itself actually leads me into my story. Within the name of “ChicGeek” to me there is a contrast, a struggle almost, and that’s what I’ve always felt within me. I’m an IT professional by day but within the last year I’ve felt my “Chic” self coming more and more out. And then you throw in “Designs” and it takes it one more level beyond to a company or business. To get to the full meaning of this name was a journey and still is a journey of self discovery which hasn’t been without its struggles, both mentally and physically.

This journey started almost two years ago when I started to realize that IT wasn’t my first passion anymore. I was getting burnt out in my job and the hours that I was putting in. I knew I couldn’t keep doing that forever, but I didn’t know what else to do. I’m such an introvert, that I will sit on the couch and keep all my feelings inside for a very long time. And that’s what I did. I didn’t know what to do; I thought I had to do IT forever since that’s what I was doing. And that’s where the money was. I needed it to pay the bills. So I worried myself sick but no one knew why and I wasn’t going to tell anyone. Why bother? I can’t change careers at this point.

During this whole time, once every few months, migraines suddenly started coming every day. I went through every test in the book while they tried to figure it out, but nothing could be found. So instead they decided to play with medication. Going in every month for follow-ups and just getting medication adjustments but no easements from the daily migraines was very frustrating. And it still is. I hate being told, “just take your medication earlier, once you feel the symptoms come on”. I just want to tell them to fix me.

I finally had enough feeling sorry for myself and decided that if I couldn’t change my job, then I at least needed to find something to do to keep me happy during the other hours. So that’s when I decided to start a blog. A blog on Interior Design. I knew it had to be on Interior Design because that’s all I looked at when I wasn’t at work – the magazines, the books, the blogs, etc. Interior Design was something I’ve always had an interest in ever since I was younger, but never really thought about it seriously as it just wasn’t a “career”. There’s just something about colors and textures that memorize me. That’s why I knew my blog would be Interior Design related and something that would release me from the day-to-day world.

As I started the blog and read more Interior Design magazines and blogs, I realized I was missing something in my blog – education. I didn’t want to miss out on the education. So I asked my husband and next thing you know, I was enrolled in the online Art Institute working (and still am!) toward my Residential Planning diploma. So one day I hope to own a part-time (or full-time) Interior Design Business!

The other thing I did to try and pull myself out of the “funk” (as I called it) was open an Etsy shop to sell some of my photographs as I love to travel and take pictures. So it’s not a successful Etsy shop but it was fun and kept me busy.

There are so many things I’ve learned and am learning through this year of self-discovery. First is that I can’t keep everything to myself. I have family and friends that love me and I want to share my thoughts with them. Second, it’s not too late to change career paths. There still might be time for me. Thirdly, I am a creative soul, I just have to get there and listen.

So I did get to ChicGeek Designs by combining all my interests. Chic for shopping, Geek for IT and Designs for Interior Designs. That’s how my blog started and the short version of my story!

september and october jesslc ambassadors

October 4th, 2010   |   Life

With the move last month, things got shuffled around a bit last month and we decided to feature our September and October Jess LC Ambassadors at the same time this month. Take a look below to see the awesome new bloggers supporting Jess LC.

Also, for current and future Ambassadors, we have a few new badge options to choose from now that we have our new Diversey collection. If you are an existing Ambassador and would like a new badge, simply copy one from above and add it in place of your current badge. Not familiar with Jess LC Ambassadors? Click here to learn more.

In other news, last month I got a Tweet saying our Franklin necklace was in US Weekly. I had no idea, but when my PR ladies checked, there it was (in the September 6th issue, I think). So exciting!

September and October Ambassadors

the book of answers (for our lives)

October 4th, 2010   |   LifeThink About It

Last week a friend and I spent an evening philosophizing about life over a sangria special at one of my favorite places in Lincoln Park. The conversation started because the friend is unsure about a significant life decision. Though there were lots of particulars in the conversation that are unique to her life circumstances, the theme and arc of the conversation could apply to all of us in our major life choices as well.

As we spoke, it occurred to us that as people, we so often want to go out and “seek an end-all-be-all answer” to our life-altering choices. We wonder, deep down, if there is an secret text or sage that might provide us with the keys we need to a successful life, a fulfilling marriage or relationship, and a satisfying purpose-driven career. I can attest to this myself, it seems so comforting to think that there may be some ultimate answer to all my uneasiness that I can discover if I look hard enough. But what we realized in last week’s conversation, is that the reality might actually be that we are seeking answers from some third-party source when really, the answers we are looking for need to be self-authored.

Perhaps we need to write our own answers for a successful life, a fulfilling marriage or relationship, and a satisfying purpose-driven career. And perhaps we should be writing these answers in our life books in pencil, making room for editions and changes. Though it seems easier to assume that there is just One Right Answer to these questions, maybe the answers (and the questions) change as we evolve. And maybe we could get more comfort from knowing that these phases will pass like the seasons, rather than seeking a decree etched in stone.

But if we write the answers to these questions ourselves, we also have to account for the fact that as authors, we may not be ready to right the book just yet. That we may leave a few pages blank for weeks or months, gathering information and allowing ourselves to later write the answers. And then, once we’ve filled the volume, we have to allow for second, third, and fourth editions.

Though it is tempting to think there may be a Cliffs Notes summary of our lives just waiting to be discovered, our answers might best be lived through a series of books which reflect our growing understanding of ourselves.


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