Our Blog

an intentional holiday

December 27th, 2010   |   Life

Fact #1: I had a very relaxing holiday and I hope you did too!

Fact #2: I haven’t turned on my laptop or done any work the whole time I’ve been in Pennsylvania visiting my family (except for writing this post).

When I thought about what this family visit would be like, I assumed that blogging and working would be injected throughout the five days. But the reality is that I am tired. Very tired. I am tired of working, tired of writing, tired of being on the computer, tired of thinking, even tired of being intentional.

Not a good sign for someone who makes their living selling jewelry online and blogging about living a life with intention, huh?

So I turned off the computer, and the thinking, and the writing. I just relaxed, slept, and spent time with my brothers and parents. I have worked out and eaten better. The pause has been good for me. But as I look at my schedule this week, my heart sinks. I “thought” I would have plenty of time to write here on MML. But my planner says otherwise. In fact, since I’ve been MIA about my personal life lately, I’ve included my agenda for this week below:

Tuesday – Fly back to Chicago with a layover in Minneapolis. Spend time with Mr. Lively.

Wednesday – Have brunch with a friend. Clean/unpack/prepare for my best friend and her boyfriend to stay with me for a few days.

Thursday – Entertain best friend and bf ‘s boyfriend and go to a Black Keys concert.

Friday – Celebrate NYE at a friend’s house.

Saturday/Sunday – Recover from best friend’s visit, and get ready for the business to start back up again.

This means that any blogging I’d do in the next few days would be hurried at best. And that’s not what I intend for MML. Which is why I’m deciding to “design my week with intention” and not blog until January 3rd. This will give me plenty of time to regroup, be fully present during my friend’s visit, and to prepare for the year ahead.

And I hope that my choice to take these few days off to regroup inspires others who are wavering between what they “think” they should do and what their bodies and minds are telling them is best for their sanity. We are here to live with intention, and sometimes that intention is to take a break. Busy-ness for the sake of busy-ness is not always the answer.

In the meantime, if you are new to MML and want to take a look around, I suggest hopping over to the “best of MML” page for links to the best posts in the archive.

closing up shop for 2010… sort of

December 22nd, 2010   |   Life

Tomorrow morning I will be on my way to Pennsylvania to visit my family and enjoy a much needed break from just about… everything. I envision spending time watching movies, playing with my Westie, Mackenzie, and working out with my brother, Mike. Oh, and a shopping spree at the J.Crew outlet of course.

This also means that things are wrapping up for the time being at Jess LC. I’m “closing up shop” from now until January 5th. I’ll technically be back to the studio on January 3rd answering emails and getting things back in order. But since Susie, the Jess LC JewelryMakingQueen will be with her family until the 5th, no new orders or exchanges will be made until that date.

So in the meantime, feel free to order as much as you like on the website, knowing that your orders will ship out as soon as possible after 1/5. Emails will be answered to on 1/3.

Thank you all for making this holiday season the best ever for Jess LC!

(adorable doodle done by our awesome Kat)

thank you so much

December 21st, 2010   |   Life

Okay guys, it’s time that I let you know how I really feel about MML in 2010.

Incredibly grateful.

However, over the past few months that gratitude has skyrocketed even higher. Amidst one of the craziest transition periods in my life and business, you all have stuck with me. I have done my best to continue to consistently share my story and anything else that I think might be useful for an intentional life.

Given the unforeseen (but often wished for) explosion of business with Jess LC, business travel, and visiting guests it has been a challenge to report here each day. In an ideal world, I would have loved much more time to devote to MML and my purpose. But as we all know, life isn’t perfect and you just do the best you can with the time you’ve got. That’s what I’ve done here.

Over the past few weeks when I’ve really started to get frustrated by the lack of time to write or interact through MML, I’ve continued to get the most amazing emails and tweets from old and new readers sharing the impact MML has had on their lives. It’s like Life has been checking in with me to let me know that I’m still doing okay even if it’s not as perfect as I’d like it to be.

Which is all I could ever hope for.

So basically, I’d like to say (again): thank you so much for following my story and sharing MML with me. I am excited to take a trip home to visit my family later this week through Christmas to recharge, refocus, and come back to Chicago with more ideas for MML and Jess LC than ever before. I’m also looking forward to the additional time I’ll have to devote to MML once the holiday rush subsides. I’ve got some exciting MML announcements that I can’t wait to share.

In the meantime, I’ll see you back here tomorrow.

Good afternoon! Today I’d like to introduce you all to one of MML’s awesome sponsors, Violet Revolution. This fashion-based website has a focus on all things Chicago. As we all know, there is plenty of content online that caters to the NYC/LA markets. But Chicago has been in need of a site with a strong editorial viewpoint and a deep knowledge of the shopping events happening around town. So if you live in Chicago, just want to stay “in the loop” about whats happening in our fashion industry, hop on over to Violet Revolution. To explain in more detail, I’ve interviewed Nancy, the founder of of Violet Revolution, about how she got started as well as what we need to know about fashion for the holidays.

Enjoy!

How did you get inspired to start Violet Revolution?

I have always loved fashion and definitely LOVED shopping all my life.  During college and beyond, I became more familiar with the Chicago boutiques and local fashion scene here; but realized many people, whether they are local or elsewhere, aren’t as aware.  I also feel there are many women out there that need style advice.  Many women don’t know how or don’t have the time to put outfits together and want a go-to source for that information.  So I combined the two ideas and started Violet Revolution to share my style tips and advice with women with a local focus.  That way women can get style and beauty advice, plus find out where they can shop in person or online at the same time.

What kind of fashion advice do you have for the holidays?

  1. Try out a new look.  Maybe it’s just incorporating some shimmery metallic eyeshadow (one of my favorites right now is the Golden Crown Tartan pattern eyeshadow from MAC), or wearing a sparkly earring or blouse.  The holidays are supposed to be a fun and joyous time, so why not have fun with your look?
  2. When you know you’re going to be eating (and perhaps drinking) a lot at a party or with family; choose an outfit that will allow you to breathe and still look flattering when you’ve indulged a bit too much.  A-line dresses or tops that aren’t clingy around the mid-section are both good options.  Also, choose darker colors or prints to conceal mishaps.  There’s nothing worse than walking around a holiday party with red wine streaked down your white blouse.
  3. Use the holidays as an excuse to dress up, even if you are only going to a relative’s.  Obviously showing up in a ball gown to a house party is a bit much, but don’t be afraid to wear a velvet jacket or dressier accessories.  How often do we get to dress up these days?  It can be fun, and makes your evening even more special when you feel special.

What do you love most about the Chicago fashion scene?

I love that we have one, period.  Think about if you lived in most other major cities, or even a small town, and love fashion.  There aren’t as many (if any) opportunities for shopping, fashion shows, or even education and careers centered in fashion.   I also love that, aside from fashion week here, there are many fashion shows and shopping events that take place all over the city nearly every week; whether they’re in a boutique, restaurant, or some other type of venue.  The tough part can be finding out when they are, but that’s why we post weekly sales and events on Fridays!

What trends are you most excited about for Spring/2011?

I’m pretty excited for all the new floral patterns for spring.  Sometimes floral patterns can be a little “old lady” looking at times, but I’ve seen a lot of fresh, modern floral styles shown from the shows.  In contrast to that, I’m also looking forward to the edgy, biker-inspired looks too — from short sleeve motorcycle jackets to shorts and tops embellished with hardware to metallic sheen pants.  I might try to mix the two together too — we’ll see when it gets a little warmer.  Even though it’s starting to get colder, I’m not quite ready to put my winter gear away just yet!  (Maybe in another week.)  : )

december do’s and don’ts

December 18th, 2010   |   Life

(Post written by Kelsey of The Capital Barbie)

Once again I just want to thank Jess for letting me be a part of your daily reading for the last few months.  These posts have been so much fun for me to write and I hope you have enjoyed them as well.

This December you are so busy.  Don’t even try to act like you have it under control, because in the back of your mind you have gifts to wrap or a holiday party to attend or plan.  It’s ok.  Tis the season.  But, don’t forget to take care of yourself, because without making yourself happy how are you going to spread the cheer?

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! Here are my dos and don’ts for the month of December.

Do

  • Say you’re sorry when you mean it.  But when in the workplace, always follow it up with: “I’m sorry I’m so fabulous”, “I’m sorry I’m so efficient”, “I’m sorry you didn’t like my brilliant idea.” You rock.  Don’t apologize for it.
  • RSVP to a holiday party without a plus one.  They invited YOU for a reason, grab a glass, work the room, and have a great time!
  • Bail on plans because Elf is on TV…again.  “Santa! I know him!”
  • Take advantage of the zero-spending weekend(s) at your parent’s place this holiday season.  Don’t forget to use that saved money to buy them a really nice and thoughtful gift.
  • Eat cookies. Lots and lots of cookies.

Don’t

  • Open your presents before the sacred day.  This goes for Christmas, birthdays, Hanukkah, Flag Day, you name it.  It’s a gift for a reason it will mean more when you open it when you’re supposed to!
  • Wear Uggs to church, a party or any other intimate gathering where other people have made the effort to put real shoes on.  I know it’s cold, but you’re going to make it I promise.
  • Say “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” to anyone without meaning it.  What do you love about this time of year? Channel that into how you wish someone cheer.
  • Forget to make a snow angel! And then run back inside and drink insane amounts of hot chocolate but just for the mini marshmallows.
  • Fantasize about being someone who is more ________ in 2011 (popular, thin, beautiful, etc) focus on being someone who lives.  Wake up in 2011 and don’t waste a day of it.

kendi and bryan’s dream report: week one

December 17th, 2010   |   Life

Discovering the Obvious

Do you want to know what I’ve learned in my 26 years of life? That life is weird. It will take you on many paths where some make sense and others do not. Some paths lead you down roads where you are able to make connections, discoveries, and plans. Other paths are dead-ends that make no sense whatsoever. But both are essential in living a fulfilled life. Without the dead-ends, you wouldn’t recognize the right path.

Bryan and I didn’t recognize our right path for some time, even though we were on it. In 2008, Bryan and I moved back to his hometown. We both took very good jobs and moved from the city to a small town. Bryan’s job had us traveling almost every weekend for about two years, so our foundation was never really laid. In turn, when we were in town, we didn’t have much community. And the minute we started to create one, we were on the go again. We never understood why we were destined to be lonely in our town. We didn’t understand that until now.


Out of our boredom and need for creativity, Bryan picked up a camera and decided to learn digital photography, as he shot film only for years. Turns out, his talent transferred from film to digital beautifully. In the meantime, I started a style blog called Kendi Everyday. At the beginning, I took my own shots with a tripod or had Bryan snap a few of me after work. But one day I asked him to actually shoot me, like a photo shoot in a catalog. And he did. And it worked. And while we look back at some of our shots and ideas and laugh, it was start. That day everything started. Of course, I didn’t see that. I just saw a pretty picture that my husband took.

Bryan continued to create beautiful photographs for my blog and I continued to write. Then one day Bryan thought, “I should start a photography business.” And so he did, albeit blindly. (Sorry, love.) He did what many people do — he found a few people to shoot, got some loose advice and was well on his way to creating a second job side business (he’ll explain this later). We spent spring and summer shooting families, couples and weddings. And by we I mean Bryan shot families, couples, and weddings. I tagged along for the wedding crashing and equipment hauling.

And that was it. He had created a side business that he never really knew. His blind ambition lead him to start a business that he didn’t recognize. He didn’t know what he wanted to sell, he didn’t know his customer, he didn’t know his brand. He was stuck. I on the other hand had begun the downward spiral of “I hate my job. Now what?” Details spared, I quit my job to blog full-time and help my dad with his consulting business. I also pledged to help Bryan with his photography business, when he needed me. Turns out, he didn’t need me. (Yet.) And my dream of going full-time was running low.  I knew that there was more to be achieved in my life. Yet another bend in our curvy road.

So let’s back up — here I am on my path. I’ve found a niche that I love — writing about style and life backed by my husband’s photography. We made a great team; yet another discovery along our long, winding path. My husband has a full-time job plus his photography on the side. There we were, both walking and discovering our paths separately. Until one day, they crossed. (Figuratively speaking of course, we’ve been married this entire time.)


Then it happened. Bryan asked for my help on his business. And while the heavens did not open up and light did not shine down, it was a step. He stepped right into my road, creating a block that I’m thankful for. We began to talk about everything we had been ignoring. What he wanted out of his business, what his dreams are. We talked about my dreams and aspirations. And for the very first time ever we were walking together on what seemed to be our path. Not his, not mine, but ours.

After many, many, many conversations later we had our epiphany. Are you ready for the most obvious epiphany ever? We want to go into business together. Not only do we want to go into business together, we want to create a wedding photography business like no other. We want to take exactly what we do on my blog every single day and create that for someone else. We want to collaborate and create a styled shoot for an engaged couple, a married couple, a bride on her day. And we want to do it together. That was the key. This business would not just be Bryan’s business or Kendi’s blog, it would be ours.

It took us almost three years of marriage, living in the smallest town I’ve ever lived in, heavy doses of loneliness and sheer boredom to figure out where this long path was taking us. But now we know. And while it might be obvious now, sometimes the most obvious dream is the hardest to find. We are told that dreams are supposed to be out of your reach, so it’s even more intimidating to find it sitting in your lap, waiting to be achieved. But if this is where our path is taking us, I think I’ll stay on for a few more miles.


And one more thing. If you find yourself in the middle of a hard, weird, lonely or depressing situation, you are there for a reason. Jess wrote a great post on this a while back about being in the dark but so desperately wanting to turn a light on. If you are in the dark, start feeling around and you’ll find your way out. If not out, at least you’ll find a flash light or a lamp. Achieving a dream is not easy or without sacrifice. But I’m willing to put all of my hard-earned chips in to bet that it will be worth it.

-K

social media, meet Jess LC

December 16th, 2010   |   Life

Good morning! As you can imagine, Susie and I are busy filling last minute Christmas orders here in the studio for Jess LC. If you are still thinking about ordering gifts to be delivered before December 25th, please order today and ship via FedEx ($10). USPS while free, is no longer guaranteeing their first-class packages to arrive by Christmas Day.

Last Minute Gift Idea: Online Gift Certificates

Or, if you wait a few days and still want to snag a last minute gift, feel free to order our new online gift certificates! We can send you a cute image like the one above for your recipient all the way up to December 23rd. The gift certificate is a custom discount code that will be made especially for your gift.

Social Media, Meet Jess LC

In other news, I’m excited to announce that you can now tweet and like all of our products on jesslc.com. So feel free to spread the word about your favorite styles!

(These new features and a few more website improvements were made by a certain Mr. Lively. Thank you.)

Jess LC Bridal

And while we are on the topic of jewelry, I’d like to share these adorable photos sent to me by a recent bride and Jess LC customer, Lisa. Though the necklaces are a bit hard to see in these images, the bridesmaids looked lovely in their Armitage Two Strand Three Pearl Necklaces. If you are planning your own 2011 wedding and are looking for 3+ pieces of coordinating jewelry for your bridal party, please reach out to me at jess@jesslc.com and I can give you a special 25% bridal party discount on your order.

Okay ladies and gentleman, the time for Future Letters to Ourselves has arrived! Though you can see a full explanation of the Future Letter concept here, I will quickly do a recap of the exercise.

Back in 2006, I was in a not-so-great place in my life and found a dusty copy of (wait for it…) The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Though I’ve mentioned this book 1,026 times here on MML it bears repeating. The teen version of the book suggested writing a letter to oneself from the vantage point of one year into future. So I decided on January 1st, 2006 to try out the exercise. I outlined what I wanted to do, be like, and even look like on January 1st, 2007. The important part of the exercise was that I wrote the letter from the 2007 version of myself as if I had already accomplished my 2006 goals. Writing my goals in past-tense was strange at first. In fact, I honestly didn’t think I was even capable of doing most of the things in the letter.

Fast forward to 2007 – when I re-read the letter, I was astounded to find that I accomplished 83% of what I said I would do.

Since that year, I have faithfully written a Future Letter to Myself every January. I generally start thinking about things I’d like to include in the letter the weeks leading up to January, which of course is why I’m sharing this right now on MML instead of January 1st.

As I’ve mentioned in the past:

Over the last five six years, I have found that I can in large part, predict or complete much of what I set forth in these visions. I also know that some of my intentions will not happen. And after seeing the turn of events with Jess LC this year and the growth of MakeunderMyLife, I now submit this vision with a disclaimer: If any of these statements are not meant to come true, please help me to be flexible and thankful for the other awesome blessings that will come in their place.

Here’s How to Write an Annual Letter

Though there certainly is no wrong way to write an annual letter, I can share how I prefer to write my own. I begin each letter with “Dear Jess, As I see myself walk into the door in 2012, I see a ___________. ” Then I talk about what I have done in 2011 in past tense. For example: “I have decorated my bedroom with crisp bedding, nice side tables, and pretty, modern lamps.” or “I am kind and compassionate, not just with other people, but also towards my own shortcomings.” I also try to describe what I have done in all of my roles, such as: personal growth, Jess LC, MakeunderMyLife, spirituality, and relationships.

After the letter is written, I keep it in a place where I can find it easily, but only try to reread it every few months. Two years ago I tried to read it frequently but found that it was more stressful than inspirational. As the saying goes, we overestimate what we can do in a day, but underestimate what we can do in a year.

In closing

I’ll be back in January to share some of my 2011 intentions. In the meantime, I encourage you to consider writing your own future letter and emailing it to yourself a few times next year with futureme.org.

[sponsor post] teezy giveaway and interview

December 14th, 2010   |   Style

Today I have an interview with Tekesia Williams, an awesome MML sponsor and print designer with a line called Teezy. Her colorful and inspiring prints are a great way to accessorize with purpose. Below she explains her inspiration and where she sees her line in years to come. In addition, she’s also offering a giveaway and 15% discount to MML readers (details below).

Enjoy!

Interview with Tekesia Williams of Shop Teezy

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I definitely draw inspiration from all over the place.  God, my family, and my friends are all huge inspirations for me.  A lot of my inspiration comes from things in my own personal life or even things going on in the lives of people close to me.  It wasn’t too long ago that I opened my shop, while dealing with an unexpected illness that shook up my world.  During that time, I really wanted to be surrounded by things that inspired me, so I began making prints and little pieces of art for myself.  I would sit them around my house and when I would glance at one it would really make me feel better or remind me to keep pushing forward and keep hoping.  After a while I realized that I really wanted to share my inspirations with others.  I had always loved being creative and I had always loved art and design, but for a long time those things were put on the “back burner” of my life.  Now I know how important it is for me to be able to do what I love, to be fulfilled by the things that really matter in my life, and to help to inspire others.

I love your color story! How do you choose your color combos?

Thank you so much!  I love bright and bold colors and I love to mix them.  Many of the colors that I use are colors that remind me of some place that I love.  The beach is one of my favorite places to be and my family is from the Caribbean, so a lot of the colors I have used remind me of being some place tropical.  Colors can really influence your emotions and I wanted my colors to be uplifting, vibrant and playful.  I wanted my prints to be non-traditional inspirational prints that are modern and fun.  Fashion is something that I also love, so when I’m putting colors together I’m sometimes picturing the prints being put onto a t-shirt or tank.

Where do you see your business one year from now? How about five years from now?

I hope that my business will have grown one year from now.  I hope to be carrying other products in addition to prints.  I would like to carry things such as calling cards, stationary, greeting cards, and other paper products.  Five years from now I would like to have grown into designing more home décor products and maybe even some fashion items.

Are you able to do custom pieces for customers?

I am not able to do custom pieces just yet, but I hope to be doing custom pieces by the New Year. : )  I do love getting feedback though.  If there are colors or items that customers would like to see in the shop I definitely want to hear from them!

What has been the most interesting or rewarding customer interaction you’ve had?

For me, each time that I help a customer with their order or receive a message from a customer about an item I find it to be SO rewarding.  Knowing that someone else enjoys a piece that I really put my heart into really makes me feel good.  There’s just a feeling of joy that I can’t really describe, each time I pack up a print for shipment. : )

Giveaway and Special MML Discount

Tekesia is giving away one of her prints for free to the winner of this giveaway. To enter, please visit her shop and come back and leave a comment with the print name and color choice you would like to win. A winner will be chosen next Tuesday, December 21st.

She is also offering 15% off her entire shop for MML readers with the discount code JESSLC from now until December 25th. So go ahead and do any last minute holiday shopping. : )

I’m excited to announce that we have a new Dream Reporter duo on MML! After following Piper‘s awesome journey towards starting her own online shop, I’ve decided to tap Kendi and Bryan of Kendi Everyday and Bryan Skeen Photography to continue the inspiring “steps to self-employment” series.

As you may remember, I first got to know the adorable and witty couple via our fall photo shoot. We instantly hit it off and have been the best of (long distance) friends ever since. Over the past few months they have shared their new business idea which combines their talents in an exciting, unique, and ultimately profitable way (they’ll go more into the business specifics next week).

Having Bryan and Kendi contribute to this series will highlight interesting aspects to starting a business that haven’t been represented on MML as much as I’d like. Most obviously, the fact that they are a partnership is going to be a fresh take on running a small company. This also means they will be taking turns each week preparing the Dream Reporter post and will of course share what it’s like to work on a husband and wife team. In addition, they are a service-based business which will have it’s own unique opportunities and obstacles that differ from product-based businesses like Jess LC and One Sydney Road. Throw in the fact that they are both incredibly honest and down-to-earth and you can see why I think they are the perfect pair to follow as they make their dream come true.

Enjoy!

Kendi and Bryan’s Dream Report Introduction

Hi! We are Kendi and Bryan Skeen- or, as you will know us for the next few weeks, the new Dream Reporters for Makeunder My Life. Married for almost 3 years now, we been lucky enough to share each others’ hopes, dreams and inevitably laundry. As we begin moving toward making our hopes and dreams a reality (and laundry a necessary evil), we invite you to read along. Although we are very excited to share with you our journey, you must know one thing: We have no idea what we are getting ourselves into. All we know is that we have a dream. Now that that formality is out of the way, let’s get going.

Our journey to figuring out our dream started a few months back, when we met Jess in September for the Diversey look book shoot. She began asking us questions no one had asked before. What is your purpose? What are you doing to achieve that purpose? What are your dreams? (You should have seen her face when Kendi started telling her about this dream she had of a huge rabbit chasing her in a mall. Jess wasn’t talking about those kind of dreams). But by the time we left Chicago, we were thinking in ways that we had not thought before. We were searching for what our purpose was and how we might go about living intentionally to achieve that purpose. There was an obvious void that we were living with. But now it had a name, and it is difficult to ignore something with a name.

An important lesson that we have been lucky enough to learn is that following your dreams is not always the easy route. In fact, more often than not, dreams can feel terrifying and insurmountable, especially at the beginning… and that is OK. Just because something is big and scary does not mean that it is impossible. (Kendi would like me to add that big and scary could also mean a nightmare, so be sure to look long and hard at your dreams before you start pursuing).

So that is where will start, at the beginning of our dream. The bad news is there is a long way to go. The good news is we have each other and all of you. And if you are wondering just what are dreams are made of, wait until next week when we promise to reveal.

-B

creating a business culture

December 8th, 2010   |   Business Advice

One of the best parts about owning my own business is the ability to develop a company culture. When I was just a one woman show three years ago, the culture was self-directed. I listened to books on tape as I made jewelry. I took weekday field trips to museums once a month. I went running in the mornings before work.

However, as Jess LC has grown it has been a lot of fun to see how the company culture is developing around the tastes and interests of the girls who are working with me. Susie has brought an eclectic music mix which has had us listening to David Bowie, Girl Talk, Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros (or “Edward Sissorhands and the Electric Shavers” as I tend to accidentally say), and a plethora of 80′s pop singles. I can honestly say my music appreciation and awareness has expanded tenfold because of our dear jewelry maker.

Then Melissa came. She brought the baked goods. Her Betty Crocker skills are much appreciated and have since spurred us all to start baking more on our nights and weekends. Below is a little compilation of what we’ve been cookin’ up – and eating – over the past two months. This new work trend has now created a “pie o’clock break” tradition which occurs at exactly 2:30 each afternoon.

Another recent trend addiction is our love of You Tube videos. Our favorites include:

“Total Eclipse of the Heart” Literal Version
Drunk History with Michael Cera
Drunk History with Jack Black
Drunk History with Will Ferrell
David Hasselhoff singing “Hooked on a Feeling”

We also melt at any sign of Kingsley on The Rockstar Diaries and crack up at any picture on Awkward Family Photos.

Overall, the culture continues to develop and deepen in new and very enjoyable ways. I think the culture itself has been one of the most rewarding parts of being self-employed. I encourage anyone who is thinking about starting their own business to take advantage of the chance to cultivate a fun and personal atmosphere.

being thankful… when you’re not.

December 6th, 2010   |   Think About It

When I moved three months ago, I went from living on the twelfth floor to the third. And the third floor happens to be one level above the underground parking garage for my building. This in itself is not that big of a deal. However, every few hours there is a large machine that ejects the carbon monoxide buildup that accumulates on the lowest parking level. The carbon monoxide from the cars parking underground could potentially build up and be dangerous if not for this regulating machine.

The only problem is that this machine happens to be loud. Obnoxiously loud. I call it the “LOST monster.” It makes two loud noises every three to four hours. All day. Everyday.

This means that I hear the noise 2-5 times a day without warning. And the potential for frustration and annoyance is sky high.

Fortunately, when I discovered the noise’s cause, I realized I should be thankful for the obnoxious sounds that interrupt my day without warning. It is saving my life and the lives of the drivers in the lower level of the parking garage.

I promptly decided that I would think of something I am thankful for every time I hear the LOST Monster.

What I’ve noticed after befriending the LOST Monster after three months is that the sound itself is no longer annoying or frustrating. Instead, the inconvenience is rendered neutral and I end up feeling more thankful throughout my day. What could have been indescribably annoying has impoved my appreciation for life.

I wonder how many other situations which irritate us on a daily basis could be turned into one of these life enriching practices. A traffic jam? A car honk? A siren? The time it takes for the computer to turn on?

It could have the potential to turn a negative into a positive.

december ambassadors and jesslc freebie

December 3rd, 2010   |   Life

Jess LC Freebie

Right now I can’t stop saying “it’s sooo cute” every time I look at the amazing holiday illustration that our incredibly talented assistant, Kat, made for Jess LC.The details are so thoughtful. Our Online Order Queen, Melissa, has a big bag for shipping orders with a squirrel on it. We have named the squirrel Charles. You’ll find him in our holiday card putting the lights on the tree. We also have a bird decal on our wall named Norbert who is now perched on the snowman’s arm.

As you can imagine this adorable image is gracing my desktop from now until January. You can get your own free wallpaper here. The details are even more adorable in the larger scale image.

Free Jess LC Wallpaper Download

Kat’s wonderful doodle blog.

December Ambassadors

And now I’d like to introduce the newest Jess LC Ambassadors! If you’d like to learn more about becoming a Blog Ambassador, please read on.

DIY DYL – november edition

December 2nd, 2010   |   DESIGN YOUR LIFE

Okay, so it’s technically December now, but let’s pretend that that this went up last week on Thanksgiving as it should have. Here are the first round of DIY DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews shared by MML readers. Hop on over to these lovely DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews below.

Meanwhile, I will be spending the day at Macy’s on State St. for a Jess LC trunk show from 11-4. Come down and say hello if you can!

Lisa of Everyday Elembee.

Lucile of Atomic Girl.

Anne of Anne the Adventurer Part 1 and Part 2.

Interested in doing your own DIY DYL? Here are the deets.

beauty tips for the soul

December 1st, 2010   |   Life

A few weeks ago I had a great conversation with Brittany, the editor behind BeautyGirlMag. As we spoke about designing lives with intention, we realized how much of our time is spent on making our appearances more appealing. What if we approached improving our souls in the same way as we do our manis and pedis? What actions that we take in our daily lives lead to a more beautiful way of being? Below Brittany explores this topic in greater detail.

Enjoy!

Brittany’s Beauty Tips for the Soul

Beauty surrounds a woman’s life in everything that she does. It is who she is. We were made to be beautiful from our hair, bodies, and feminine persona. I have come to the realization that it’s natural to want to look beautiful. But finding a balance is essential, and at times, this can be difficult.

I can’t count how many hours I have spent at the salon getting my hair high-lighted (of course, trying to achieve a “natural” look); going shopping to find the perfect outfit to fit my ever-changing style or simply looking in the mirror and applying makeup every day.

I’m always pulling, tugging, or fixing my outer appearance. At times, it’s exhausting.

There are multiple beauty resources available at our finger tips that assist us in finding the right outfit or achieving Jennifer Anniston’s killer body. But there seems to be a gaping hole in many of our lives and especially in our culture. And that is a lack of focus on inner beauty.

As the editor of BeautyGirlMag.com, I have met and continue to meet women who want to redefine beauty in their lives. These women want to accept who they are, change what they can, and be women of substance – more than what meets the eye.

So instead of a typical beauty blog where I offer you tips to look better, let’s rather think of beauty tips for our soul.

Think of all the ways that you make yourself beautiful on the outside and the amount of time each one takes. Imagine using that time to beautify your inner self. Taking the time to work on our inner self will translate to the outside.

Below are a few beauty tips for the soul:

Daily: Applying lipstick (5 seconds) = Speak a positive word to yourself or someone else

It only take 5 seconds to apply lipstick; now, let’s apply some positivity to our lives. As you’re looking in the mirror, say something positive about yourself to yourself ( I am beautiful. I have a giving heart. I am a loyal friend). Now, this sounds a little narcissistic but imagine the confidence that you’ll carry once you really start believing in those things.

Having confidence in ourselves is key to having healthy relationships.

Say something positive to a friend. Just a few words of encouragement, a thank you, or a compliment only takes 5 seconds, and it can make a difference in someone’s life.

A positive mindset can change the outcome of many situations and also make you enjoyable company:)

Daily: Picking out an outfit (20 min) = Meditate

Now in a perfect world, I would suggest meditating for more than 20 min, but with all the many activities that fill up our schedule, sometimes it just isn’t realistic. However, it is necessary that every day, we give ourselves time to be alone- free from distraction and escape from the worries of our day. Sometimes it only take a few minutes to feel energized and inspired.

Now, when you hear the word meditation you may think of Buddha, but I simply suggest getting alone with yourself to hear own thoughts.

Taking a little time each day to be alone will give you a chance to possibly rethink a decision you have to make or a cool down from a heated argument.

Hair Salon (2 hours) = Spend time with a close friend

There’s nothing like a good conversation with a close friend. Often times, when I finally take the time to reconnect with a friend over lunch, I leave feeling like a better person, sometimes relieved and mostly happy.

Talking to a close friend about our lives, what we are doing and what we are going through can lift a heavy burden. I also love getting updated on what my friends are doing and how they’ve been inspired. Usually this inspires me as well.

A great piece of advice given to me – Be friends with people you want to be like.

Manicure (45 min) = Enjoy Nature

I often go for a jog outside, and to be honest, I’m in the least bit enjoying nature. Instead, I am constantly checking the time because I’m exhausted! However, those times after my jog where I’ve sat at the park and stared into the lake have been times that I cannot explain with words.

Nature inspires you and reminds you that you’re only a small part in this big picture called life. There’s something energizing about nature with its peacefulness, serenity and beauty.

Take nothing but a good book or pen and notebook.

Shopping (all day) = Serve Others

I don’t know about you, but I have spent a whole day of shopping only to spend another day taking those items back. Think of the time spent shopping and imagine spending a day serving your community.

One of my friends volunteers once a month at a homeless shelter for women. She spends the entire night there, talking with the women, and assisting in ways that she can. There are many opportunities in your community to serve. Form a group who are passionate about it as well and do it together.

Serving others helps you see how fortunate you truly are and puts your life into perspective. It also allows you to give to those who are in need and help them to a path of success.  There is nothing more beautiful than a woman with a humble heart.

There’s more to life than “who’s wearing what,” and I’m sure you know that. Now, does this mean that you must sacrifice your outer beauty for your inner beauty? No, but finding a balance between the two is key.

My beauty tips for the soul are probably not new to you. But too often, the things we know to do, we don’t.

Don’t neglect your soul another day but rather practice one of these tips this week for a “prettier” you.

What are your own personal tips for the soul?

Reach Out

Name
Email
Message

Yay! Message sent.
Error! Please validate your fields.
© 2014 Jess Lively Creative Inc. // I'm an Amazon Affiliate - Which means Amazon items (like books) I genuinely recommend may earn me a commission.