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makeunder your workday
April 29th, 2011     |    Business AdviceLife

This post may be better suited for a Monday morning, but I can’t help but mention a few new sites I read about in Real Simple last month that help avoid web surfing during work hours.

So if you can’t seem to get yourself off of Facebook, Twitter, Gilt, or Google Reader (my personal vice), check out these sites below and see if they might help you focus a bit more during office hours.

Freedom.com ($10) macfreedom.com

This will stop you from going on the internet entirely for a specific amount of time. (There is a trial version available.)

RescueTime (free) rescuetime.com

This site tracks your online time and provides charts about where you spend your minutes on the web. I’m guessing that this one is kind of the Mint.com of time management online.

LeechBlock (free) addons.mozzilla.org

Here you can block specific sites online for a specified amount of time or forever. (On Firefox.)

As I mentioned, this might not be the thing you’re interested in knowing about on a sunny Friday afternoon. But come Monday morning, they may be handy new tools to keep the distractions at bay.

a year in review: Jess LC
April 28th, 2011     |    Business Advice

As I work on the finishing touches on the bag launch coming next week, I can’t help but reflect on how far Jess LC has come in the past year. The term “leaps and bounds” doesn’t seem to do the evolution justice. Maybe the term revolution might be better suited for the quantum shift.

Below I’ll recount the steps we’ve taken to bring Jess LC to where it is today. I hope that this review serves as a reminder that Rome isn’t built in a day, but a year makes a heck of a difference.

April 2010 – Re-branding Jess LC

Though Jess LC has seen many names and even logos in the past, it got it’s most recent and dramatic makeover last April. I did a major overhaul on the brand side of the business. Below you can see the previous logo and website.

Though there was nothing extremely terrible about the site or branding, it wasn’t something to write home about either. We took the company in a whole new direction with a new logo, color scheme, sophisticated website and shopping cart (more about that here), and packaging. Below you can see the difference.

Though the overhaul was essential and has served us extremely well, it did not become an overnight sensation.

April – September 2010 – New Jewelry Collections

Along with the fresh look of the company, we also innovated on the product side as well. Below you can see our most recent collections in lookbook form, Division, Franklin, and Diversey. (Click each page to see full-size.)

We also dealt with our share of mistakes along the way. The Franklin misspelling was particularly rough good learning lesson.

July 2010 – Dabbling in PR

I also decided to take press for Jess LC to the next level during the summer of 2010. I worked with Red Light PR on PR for about six months. During that time I had a great press tour doing desk sides in New York.

We even had a few great pieces of press including a mention in Real Simple December 2010.

And Ali was spotted wearing our Franklin braille necklace multiple times as well.

But far and away the best piece of press we got in 2010 had to be the Daily Candy Deal. That piece of press garnered a whole new level of business for Jess LC. It even inspired a six month update.

September 2010 – FGI Rising Star Nomination

Our first serious piece of critical acclaim came in the fall of 2010. The FGI Rising Star Nomination was a great honor.

January 2011 – Conferences and Company Culture

At the beginning of 2010 I was asked to speak for the Women’s Jeweler’s Association and had a fantastic time. It was surreal to sit among so many talented designers and share what I’ve learned with my business and social media.

During 2010 we also acquired two new indispensable girls, Melissa and Kat to add to our little Jess LC team. Susie and I cannot imagine finding two better people to work with on a daily basis. Both Melissa and Kat are fantastic, endlessly capable, and devoted.

It’s been amazing to watch our little crew grow it’s own culture and traditions which include endless baked goods, You Tube videos, and terrible wonderful movies. It has also been awesome watching Susie grow as well. She’s doing a great job guiding the jewelry development for us as we go forward.

April 2011 – Design Your Look Challenge

The recent DESIGN YOUR LOOK challenge created a huge splash of unprecedented attention and participation. It was incredible to see such involvement which can only rival our Ambassador program.

May 2011 – Launching Our First Bag Collection

As you know, I’ve been busy working since January getting our bag collection ready for release. Above is a sneak peek from the lookbook we shot last week.

The theme for the lookbook is “Going Places” because it encapsulates so much of what is going on for me and Jess LC. Not only can bags help you “go places” by carrying items you need to travel to awesome places like San Fransisco (where we shot the lookbook), but the concept also applies to our company – we are going into handbags for the first time. As we settle into this new branding and culture it’s important to keep things fresh and growing forward. Though I know not all Jess LC jewelry customers may love our new bags, I do have faith that they will resonate with many of our clients and will appeal to new customers as well.

So thanks for sharing with me on this journey.

And it cannot go without saying that all of these changes rest on the past 12 years of business stemming from the sale of one (ugly) ankle bracelet. To look at that little anklet and see how far we’ve come shows that anything is possible with time, faith, mistakes, and perseverance.

designing an intentional marriage
April 27th, 2011     |    LifeThink About It

Today I’m busy back in the studio getting everything in order after my amazing California trip. Coming back from a week out of the office is a bit surreal. I’m busy catching up on emails, business requests, orders, and the next sneak peek email for the bags. The photo shoot went fabulously (more on that later).

In the meantime, I’d like to share an awesome post by Kelsey Williams of the blog Words of Williams. Below she shares how she and her husband took their marriage from good to great – intentionally.


Four Reasons We Are Still Married

I met Eric in college. We were best friends for six months before we started dating. We got engaged, had a lovely fall wedding and went on a magical honeymoon.

Happily ever after, right?

Not so fast. I had no idea the amount of work that was required for having a great (not good) marriage.

Because of my naivety, we spent two (hard) years being married and me not thinking we needed to work at it, and Eric trying so hard to work at it. The tension grew until I finally realized that our marriage wasn’t great and it wasn’t going to be unless we did work at it. Together.

Because when we said our vows, we agreed that divorce was not an option.

But no one teaches you how to be married, and we both came into it with different views of how it should look. So, over the past couple years, we’ve worked hard at making our marriage great.

As Jess would say, we’re designing a marriage with intention. Instead of letting life happen to us, we’re proactive in making sure our marriage is divorce-proof. And it’s been so worth it.

These four things have made the past couple years easier than the first two.

1. Financial Peace University. For us, this class was more marriage counseling than financial planning. We didn’t realize how many of our stresses, discussions and arguments were rooted in our fears or differing opinions about money. Dave Ramsey helped us get on the same page.

2. We have annual family meetings. Each year, at the end of the year, we have a family meeting. We talk about finances, plan for the upcoming year (budget, vacations, etc.), reflect on the past year and set goals.

3. We’re honest with each other. Over-communicating can be a really powerful way to earn trust in your marriage. One night, after attending a church service where the message was about pornography, Eric told me, “I don’t download pornography and hide it from you.” This wasn’t something he had to tell me. I was sure that he didn’t. But his openness really meant a lot to me, and it started a very open and honest conversation between us.

4. We love God more than we love our spouse. We pray together every night, and it’s our goal that God is No. 1. Our spouse comes second, and family is third. Mixing up this order is dangerous.

Read eight more reasons we’re still married.

What tips do you have for a designing a marriage with intention?

Kelsey Williams is a fashion blogger at Snappy Casual and a lifestyle blogger with her husband, Eric, at Words of Williams. They live in Des Moines, Iowa, and are on a mission to create a marriage with intention. You can follow Kelsey on Twitter (@KelseyWilliams).

real life makeunder: simone’s closet
April 26th, 2011     |    Exfoliating

A post worth reviewing. Via September, 2009.

Simone’s Closet Makeunder

I got an email last week from a Simone, of Skinny Dip. She’s a MakeunderMyLife reader and she recently completed a closet makeunder and shared the process on her blog. Of course the first thing I did was hop on over to her site and read about her new perspective on buying (it’s pretty darn similar to my own wardrobe philosophy) and then asked to share it here as well. Luckily she agreed and you can read the full process below.

One of my current goals is to try and live more minimally. I’ve been really inspired by Jess from Chicago’s blog Makeunder My Life. What’s a “Makeunder” you ask? You can read about here but basically it means “designing your life with intent” by subtracting things from your life that you don’t need.


Over the past year I’ve really been examining how & where I spend my money, especially when it comes to my wardrobe. I realized that when I was younger (ie my late teens, when I got my first job & really started to buy all my own clothes) my shopping style was this: I’d save up and buy one or two items every month. I didn’t have a lot of clothes, but the clothes I had I loved. Oddly enough I never felt like I had “nothing to wear”. Sometime during my twenties, my shopping style evolved into what I call “Grazing”. I’d shop really randomly which meant basically whenever I walked through a mall, which was often. I also would buy things whenever I had a bad day. I ended up with a lot of clothes that didn’t work together. However, I kept shopping because I never felt like I had anything to wear.

Now that I am moving towards my 30′s I really want to shift my shopping style back to buying less, but buying better. I want to have a cohesive style that really expresses who I am, so that when people see me wearing something they say “That’s so Simone!”.

Before I get into my Wardrobe “Makeunder Strategy” that I’ve made for myself, I’ll give you a peak into my closet. Friends who have come over can testify that my closet pretty much looks like this all the time. I blame my neat-freaky nature on my German genes & the 3 years spent living in a student Co-op that had a communist-dictatorship style cleaning regime (which seems to have stuck with me).

I’d love to have a giant clothing storage space a la Sea of Shoes, but that just isn’t realistic when you’re living in an apartment in the city. Keeping things minimal is key. So here are my new rules:

1. PURGE: Get rid of everything you don’t wear, don’t love or don’t need & send it on to a new home. When I moved into this apartment I donated about 6 garbage bags full of clothes to The Goodwill. This summer I went through my closet again and found probably another 3 garbage bags full of clothes, plus about 20 pairs of shoes that I didn’t need. Combined with some other items around the house, my boyfriend and I had a killer garage sale. I really do believe that harboring stuff you don’t use is like harboring dead energy. It felt great sending all of those things onto a new home. My closet is probably the emptiest it’s been in a while, however when I look inside it feels good to only see things I truly like or love.

*Also, if there are things in your closet that you don’t wear but you still really love, try and figure out why you don’t wear them. If its something like you feel the hem is too long, get it altered. The money you’ll spend on the alterations is cheaper (and more enviro friendly) than buying a new item. I did this with a few of my dresses this season.

2. Buy Less but Buy Better: As someone who is a reformed “Grazer” I have started planning my purchases on a monthly basis. Instead of “grazing” throughout the month via after work browsing at Forever 21 and H&M, I’ll pick one or two semi-expensive “investment” items that I’ll buy each month. For example, this March I bought a classic tan trench-coat & a really great cashmere cardigan. These are both things that I know I will wear over & over again. I don’t have the budget to buy all designer clothing however I do try and buy the best possible quality that I can afford. I also try and pay attention to what things are made of & go for natural materials (wool, cotton, silk, leather for shoes & bags) whenever possible. By going for higher quality, the product lasts longer & usually comes with better service.
*By buying investment pieces I spend more on an individual item, but I find its actually now easier for me to track where my money goes. More often than not I spend less money overall because I’m not making a bunch of $20, $30, $40 impulse buys. Those purchases add up really fast but you don’t notice because it feels like you are spending less.
*I try to not shop during the rest of the month, but this isn’t always realistic. I always leave myself a little bit of gravy in case I come across a really great bargain (I love, love, love a good bargain!). I try to limit any additional shopping I do during the month & always set myself a clear budget that I stick to. I still love going to cheap chic stores like Forever 21, however when I find something I like there I’ll ask myself “Is this something trendy that I’ll wear once or twice to a club?” (in this case I don’t buy it) OR “Is this something that I’m going to wear all season (like a great tank-top that goes with a bunch of stuff)?” (in this case I will buy it).

3. The 3-way rule: No, this is not the latest dirty theory concocted by Barney on “How I Met your Mother”. When I’m considering purchasing a clothing item, I ask myself “Can I picture myself wearing this at least 3 different ways, or with 3 different outfits?”. If the answer is “NO” I generally do not buy it. Being able to walk away from a purchase once I have decided that I truly don’t need it has given me a new sense of power.

4. I’ll always love clothes: However, to stay on track with my plan I’ve been exploring other ways to make myself feel good besides shopping. I’ve started working out more, going to the library, blogging. I also attended my first Clothing Swap this spring-it was a lot of fun & I managed to score a couple of great pieces pretty much for free.

It’s all still a work in progress. My closet is emptier but inside it are things that I really love and are excited to wear again & again. It’s a good feeling.
My “nothing to wear” syndrome has been solved.

heidi on personal power
April 25th, 2011     |    Exfoliating

A post worth reviewing. Via March, 2010.

Today’s post is written by life coach Heidi, of To Be Luminous. Her ideas on personal power are a perfect continuation of MakeunderMyMarch in the mental realm.

Heidi on Personal Power

I love “Makeunder My Life” for too many reasons to list out here and since you all feel the same way, it would be redundant.  For the sake of time and space I’ll stick to the #1 reason I give MML stamp of approval:

This process paves the way to personal power.

Most people move through life tossed around on the waves while life happens to them and then wonder why their life isn’t going where they want it to go!  In designing your life you are taking your life back into your own hands and are daring to believe you know a better way.

Even after setting powerful intentions and moving forward in our dreams life keeps moving and I don’t know about you, but I still find myself listening to what someone else thinks I should do and doubting my deep desires and personal intentions – even just for a split second.  For many of my clients just as they begin breaking down barriers, throwing away parts of life that don’t suit them (everything from a bad skirt to a sketchy boyfriend), the world starts to scream “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” and sadly enough some step out of their new strength and retreat back into their former comfy world.  Think:  taking off the perfectly styled new outfit you’ve been dreaming of and slipping back into sweats.  It sounds comfy, but comfy doesn’t help us achieve our dreams, become the person we’d like to be, and share our authentic selves with the world that so desperately needs each and every one of us.

We have to strengthen our personal power and as we take the MML action steps, it’s equally important to reacquaint ourselves with our own personal voice, our spirit, our intuition . . whatever you want to call it.  It’s the little guy inside you that says what you really think.  Your intuition fills you up, gives you wisdom, dispels fear, and calms anxiety.  Your personal voice is full of love and joy- for you and for others exactly as you are now. Sometimes it’s even more of a feeling or a whisper, but the closer attention we pay to it, the stronger our personal power becomes and we come closer to our authentic selves and allow the people around us to do the same.  Isn’t it great?  By being our best selves we give our favorite people permission to do the same.

The best three ways to hone in on your own voice are to do the following.  WARNING:  This is a lengthy life long process.  Do not expect to master it overnight, but DO expect to feel amazing strength, energy and courage very, very quickly!

#1 – Toss your energy vampires.

This means do your best to rid yourself of not only your excess stuff (which is perfect place to start), but your excess personal baggage too.  Sit down and set the timer for 15 minutes.  Grab a pen and paper (so much better than a computer for a brain dump) and write down the parts of your life that pull you away from who you dream of being.  Your list might look like this:

  • Screaming boss
  • Critical “frenemy” Jill
  • Guilt over broken relationship with Greg
  • Hour long daily calls where my mom tells me what’s wrong in my life
  • All my excuses for not going to the gym (Grey’s Anatomy, Deep fudge chocolate cake, having one-too many the night before)
  • Vogue magazine (makes me want more stuff and to look model thin)

This list is different for everyone.  One person’s vice (deep fudge chocolate cake) maybe a fabulous motivational tool for someone else.  Keep it personal and remember it’s only about you!  One example from my list will sound silly, but I used to watch the Hills and after watching it I’d always feel frumpy, unstylish, like I need to shop, lose some weight, etc.  It wasn’t that I was actually saying these things out loud, but I never felt good after watching it.  I put it on my vampire list.  Anything that drags you down instead of lifting you up (including people) should be on the list.  For most people on the list, it will be a matter of changing the nature of the relationship.  For example:  if mom yells at you, rather than cut her off, you need to find a new way of relating to her.

Once the list is made, get ready to start cutting.  Some things are easy to cut, others will be difficult.  Go slow and do your best, just know that you are treating yourself with care and deserve to feel alive and amazing, so that you can help others to feel the same way.

#2- Fill up on the good stuff.

Nope, I don’t just mean the aforementioned chocolate cake . . . just like your list of vampires, it’s time to sit down and make a list of people, places, items, and influences that fill you with joy.  Set the timer and go!  This list might include:

  • My best friend Holly
  • Date night with my man
  • Cake batter batter ice cream from Coldstone
  • A long hard run on a Spring day
  • Girl’s night out dancing
  • Long conversations with my sister
  • A day on the beach
  • An invigorating project at work

You get the picture.  This is fun!  If it feels like work, you’re doing it wrong.  Put it down and try again later.  Making this list should bring you to life, quicken your step and start you laughing.

Once the list is made start filling up the holes left by the previous list.  If you go to lunch with Frenemy Jill three days a week and only see best friend Holly once every other week . . . there’s some obvious switching up to do.  You get the gist.  Have fun with it and just get started!

#3- Listen to your authentic voice every day.

The first two steps will get you started, but this last one will keep you going for the rest of your life.  You have got to make time to listen to yourself daily or you’ll never hear that important whisper that could lead you into the life you’ve dreamed of.  The more you listen, the stronger you become internally and all those vampires begin to lose their grip on you.  You will find that you second guess yourself far less and you’ll jump in and take risks at times you never would have before.

Listening means making time.  When I commuted, I’d turn off my iPod, not answer my cell and then I’d dream and talk to myself (out loud  . . . I know a little crazy, but no one could hear).   My car was a sacred place.  I kept it clean and I kept my heart open.  It was on one of these drives that I felt nudged to go live in Bulgaria for a year and a half.  These quiet nudges WILL change your life.

Another way to listen is by journaling.  I’m not talking about writing a discourse on the details of your day.  I mean, sitting down in a quiet calm place for 30 minutes and scratching out whatever comes into your mind.  The words won’t be pretty and often they’ll be grumpy, but half way through (for me it’s around the 15 minute mark) brilliance starts to shine through.  I have been doing this daily for a decade now and every bold, brave, amazing move I’ve made first began as a scratch in my journal, a seemingly silly momentary thought.

If you make no other change in your life than listening to (and acting upon) your authentic voice your life will unfold in beautiful and unexpected ways.  This is the process I work through with my clients weekly.  It’s empowering and frustrating, full of highs and lows, but so is life.  Our dreams need a soft, happy, joyful place to grow and if we start within ourselves, miracles will happen.

one piece of trash
April 22nd, 2011     |    Exfoliating

A post worth reviewing. Via April, 2010.

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

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

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

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

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

edit, add, appreciate
April 21st, 2011     |    Exfoliating

A post worth reviewing. Via May, 2010.

This post is brought to you by Karen at Graceful Creative. Enjoy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

the ventilator test
April 20th, 2011     |    Exfoliating

A post worth reviewing. Via March 9, 2009.

The Ventilator Test

As I’ve started to post old exfoliations like the Throw Out Fifty Things Challenge, I’ve gotten a few emails about what I do with the stuff that I’m perpetually exfoliating. So today I’d like to talk about my frank and honest views on trashing, treasuring, and passing on exfoliations.

First, I will say that last year after the Throw Out Fifty Things Challenge, I did a big Free Garage Sale on MML. It was a huge success and most of my things found new homes across the country.

But what about you and your stuff? What should you do with it all?

As you look around your home for things to exfoliate, you might find that there are some things you don’t need, but have no idea what to do with. In my experience, there are three general exfoliation categories: trash, recycle, and pass it on. Recycling is a pretty straightforward group. If it is plastic, glass, or furniture, chances are it can have a new life. “Pass it on” stuff is still in working order and useful- it’s just not working or useful for you personally. These items can be given to friends, donated, or sold at consignment stores. Clothing is the most popular item in this group.

But what about the trash? This is where I find the most difficulty when working with people who are making under. The idea that something might be end up in a landfill is sometimes enough to scare someone into keeping it for months or years longer than necessary. We are good people looking to make a positive impact on the planet, and imagining that our past purchases might one day end up in a landfill is downright depressing. But the harsh reality is that even if something enjoys years of future pleasure with new owners, eventually everything that is not recyclable has an expiration date… and will one day end up in the trash.

So here is a little test I like to use when I find I have resistance to getting rid of something in this “trash” category: If I was suddenly killed, moved to Timbuktu, or put into the Witness Protection Program at a moment’s notice; what would my family do with my stuff? Would they donate it to a charity? Send it to the recycling center? Sell it on Ebay? Or put it in the dumpster? If the answer is the latter, it’s safe to say that if you don’t throw away that really old prom shoe, someone else will.

If something can serve no purpose for you or someone else, it doesn’t deserve to sit in purgatory at the bottom of your hall closet. Pull the plug. Give it a proper funeral. Say a few kind words (you can even take a picture). And let it go.

You might feel a lot better once you come to terms with the death of that thing. And you won’t feel guilty every time you struggle to close that closet door.

moving made easier
April 19th, 2011     |    LifeStyle


As I mentioned last week, I am moving to a higher unit in my apartment building today and tomorrow. Then on Thursday morning I fly out to San Francisco for a bag photo shoot followed by a trip to LA to meet Mr. Lively’s parents. So from today through Tuesday, April 26th, I will be out of the studio.

In the meantime I have a cool series called Freshen Up which will be a review of posts from years ago which tackle clutter for passionate purgers and pack rats alike. You’ll see this banner below on top of the review posts.

And I also have an idea for those who are in the process of moving. I can’t remember where I learned this tip, but it’s a good one.


Before moving, pack an overnight bag in order to have your toiletries, change of clothes, and other essentials easily organized. This saves time digging through dozens of boxes to find your toothbrush and slippers after a long day.

I’ll be taking this trick one step further myself. Since I’m leaving for SF the second day after the move, I’ve already packed my bags for the trip. No digging in boxes in order to get ready for my flight early Thursday morning.

(Bags: the red bag is from Spare Parts, yellow bag is from Suwanee Springs.)

DESIGN YOUR LOOK challenge top 10!
April 18th, 2011     |    Life

The votes are in! The winners of the DESIGN YOUR LOOK challenge are announced in the video below. I want to give a huge hug and thank you to everyone who voted and participated.

Winners are being contacted right now. : )

Hop below for the Top 10 Looks…

why bags? (or any other dream?)
April 18th, 2011     |    Business AdviceLife

(DESIGN YOUR LOOK winner will be announced later today.)

On a long walk yesterday with my good friend Cathy we talked about what was coming up in our lives. As you can imagine, my bag launch was definitely one of the discussion topics.

And though she has watched the whole process unfold from inception to completion, she asked me a simple question which I’ve gotten from a few other people recently as well:

“Why bags?”

And to that, for some reason, I have an impulse to say,

“Why the hell not?”

I’ve made it very clear in the past that Jess LC has always been a way for me to stay self-employed and independent in order to eventually help people design lives with intention full-time. The fact that I sell jewelry is simply because I sold an (ugly) ankle bracelet at a pool as a fifteen-year-old. Had I sold a puppy near the deep end, I could just as easily be a breeder right now.

Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly grateful for the jewelry experience, it has taught me about design, marketing, business, entrepreneurship, selling, intention, thrift, you name it. And though 12 years of jewelry design has certainly made me a good jewelry designer, I have never personally had a passion for jewelry as a customer. In fact, I only wear about eight pieces of my own jewelry on a regular basis.

But what I do spend my money and attention on is bags. I love them. I got my first Coach bag in college and ever since I was hooked. I love the feel of high quality leather, the shapes and stitching that are possible. I love that I can have something beautiful that is functional as well.

And in all of the 12 years I have been designing I never once allowed myself to think outside the jewelry box. I simply did not allow myself to think that I could do more than what I had done in the past.

Until January.

As I sat (ironically) in a jewelry conference I spoke at this winter, I allowed myself to think beyond where I was on that day. I allowed myself to imagine the company that I wanted to have. And that company vision took me directly to bags and home goods. It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with interior design and bags have always been a personal obsession. So the idea that I might be able to create goods that reflected what I wanted to see and buy in the market was overwhelmingly awesome.

I simply needed to allow myself to think it was possible and that I could do it.

And so if I wrap all of what I’ve just shared into one simple sentence, it still boils down to the same question and answer:

Q “Why bags?”

A “Why the hell not?”

And it turns out that the 330 people on the preview list agree.

So the next time someone questions you about your new venture, don’t be afraid to boil it down to one simple answer,

Why the hell not?

April 15th, 2011     |    DESIGN YOUR LIFE

Sorry for the slight delay on this month’s DIY DYL – we have been busy here in the studio keeping up with everything going on. I also have a feeling this weekend is going to be a working one in order for me to get ready for the move and upcoming photo shoot in California next week. And remember the winners of the DESIGN YOUR LOOK challenge will be announced on Monday.

But back to the April DIY DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews. Hop on over to the blogs below to see how Lisa and Jennifer have designed their lives around their intentions.

Lisa’s post is on The Dame.

Jennifer’s follow-up post is on Jennifer, Unwritten.

Want to find out more about the DIY DESIGN YOUR LIFE monthly feature? Keep reading.













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