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this week i’m thankful for
March 30th, 2012     |    Life

This week I’m thankful for… it to be over! There were highs, lows, curve balls, problems, and surprises. The emotional roller coaster has left me drained and ready to chillax.*

But you want to know one of the big, big highs?

Your comments.

Thank you.



* Yep, sometimes I say silly words like that in real life. Another favorite expression my cousin loves to hear me say: “brewskies.”

on a lighter note…
March 30th, 2012     |    Life


Thanks so much for all of the wonderful support yesterday! It has been one heck of a work week and I can easily count your comments on that post as a huge highlight.

In an effort to be a bit more “me” here on MML, I thought I’d share a photo I found on Facebook yesterday that’s had me giggling ever since.

Here’s something else you did not know about me before: I love funny YouTube videos or other internet comedy phenomenon. In fact, when entertaining at home, I have been known to sit friends* in front of my computer to show them my three eleven favorite funny videos.**

Yeah, I’m that fun to hang out with.


* How else do you think I landed Mr. Lively?

 ** I have also done this at other people’s homes/parties as well.
photo via
things I’m afraid to tell you
March 29th, 2012     |    LifeThink About It

Though I like to think I’m pretty much an open book online, there are things about me that I hide for fear of rejection or judgement. This is silly to my logical brain, my experience has shown that the more we are real online, the more people can connect and care about us as humans on the other side of the computer screen.

But my emotional, fearful mind freaks when I think about sharing some things in my life.

So today I’d like to push that fear back – a little bit or a lot – I don’t care. I just want to see what it feels like to really push past my own self-imposed boundaries and share my thoughts that don’t often grace MML.

[Deep breath.]

Here it goes:

  • Yesterday after a tense customer service call, I cried in front of my assistant and new intern. (Not the “ugly cry,” but pretty close.)
  • Mr. Lively and I try to count our drinks per week and limit them to 14 per week total. (Sometimes we are under, sometimes we are over.)
  • I have PCOS, so I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to have kids. (This has made me pretty rigid in terms of dating and relationships, more than I’d like to admit.)
  • I have been jealous of married friends who have businesses. (I sometimes wish I could supplement my income with a spouse’s paycheck.)
  • I have been worried about getting seriously injured because of my self-employed health insurance. (My deductible is high and not that awesome. Luckily I’ve been blessed these past five years, knock on wood.)
  • My bank has declined a recent business credit line increase. (So I paid for inventory with my personal savings.)
  • I watch Joyce Meyer’s TV show everyday even though I’m not Christian. And I’m sometimes afraid if I mention her too much here, it will come off as preachy on MML. (So I call her Mrs. Meyers now half as a term of endearment, and half so people won’t think I’m pushing a Christian agenda.)
  • I get jealous when I see the extensive wardrobes of some of my fashionable friends. (I know money isn’t everything. But sometimes I actively ignore that fact.)
  • I’m terrible with names. I’ve reintroduced myself to people I’ve met before. Many times. (I wish I was better at this, but I’m sure I’ll do it again.)

Thanks for listening. Though I don’t know what the fallout from sharing these facts will be, I’m hoping that it’s not as bad as I’ve always feared.

when you get knocked down
March 29th, 2012     |    Life

Something I’m reminding myself today.

We’ll never fulfill our purpose if we don’t dust ourselves off and just keep going.

Today Mrs. Meyers reminded me of something that I keep in mind while working to fulfill intentions in my life that I find very helpful. So of course, I’d like to share it with you.

When we get serious about creating intentions for our lives it is easy to make sweeping goals and grand gestures.

I will start eating only healthy foods, from now on.

I will pay down my debt to zero this year.

I will get along better with my father.

I will stop picking at my nails, immediately.

And, when we may not complete these intentions according to our personal deadlines, it’s easy to be come discouraged, or even give up and “go back to normal.”

We want to see the progress rightaway.

But as Joyce points out, we gotta give ourselves as much time getting out of the mess as we did getting into it — if not more.

The ingrained patterns we have created that get us into our not-so-great situations are often difficult to change overnight. And if we are serious about making lasting change, we have to be willing to take it slow and steady.

We have to be willing to persevere for as long as it takes.

So while we can aim at never picking our nails again from this breath onward, if we find ourselves picking unconsciously six times in the next week, we can return back to the intention once more and begin again.

In my own life I’ve found this understanding has played out in two food intentions I’ve had in my life.

The first intention was to stop letting my ego control my weight. After 10 years of obsessing over what I ate and controlling it with my brain, I desperately wanted to break free of the constant food thoughts, beliefs, and restrictions. I didn’t want to obsess over food and weight the rest of my life.

However, once I stopped eating according to my brain and listening to my body’s signals, it took me a full year and a half, 547 days, to finally break free of the itch to want to get back on a diet, a plan, or just “try to lose some weight.”

Once that urge started to seriously subside, so did the weight that I had once been so desperate to lose. My body did it for me, though it took all the self-control I had to refuse to give in to my ego’s insistence that it knew best.

If I had become discouraged sooner, I might easily have given up and gone back to the way things were for the last decade of my life. I could have found a new “plan.” But Mrs. Meyer’s message helped me stay strong even when I felt fed up.

More recently, I’ve also been feeling an urge to cook more at home. Though I’m not a bad cook or baker by any means, I’m usually impatient and uninterested. I’d rather split nachos with Mr. Lively at Terascas than spend time making a recipe that takes longer than five minutes. Mr. Lively thinks I’d eat popcorn every night for dinner if I lived alone.

For this intention to be fulfilled, I found that what I really needed was not a huge amount of time, but rather a more compelling reason to want to cook.

In years past, this intention was fueled by the “cooking at home is a good thing to do, saves money, and is something that I admire in my friends – so I should do it too.”

Did that work? Nope. Not more than a few days at a time. Then I’d be back on the phone to Pho and I calling in some Pad See Ew with tofu.

However, I finally got my true motivation to cook more: I want to prepare better, healthier meals for Mr. Lively and I, so we don’t spend our whole lives eating out.

Though I work from home and eat breakfast and lunch in my apartment, Mr. Lively is busy working or hanging out with me or our friends. He often doesn’t have time to make anything besides dinner for us. And even then, we usually didn’t have groceries in my kitchen to cook with, so we order take-out for dinner or eat a frozen Trader Joe’s pizza. Which left him often grabbing something on the way to work for breakfast, getting lunch with co-workers downtown, and eating out for dinner frequently.

For me personally, I knew that I could show my love and care for him by preparing simple foods for his breakfast and lunch. Nothing too involved or fancy, but at least homemade and fresh.

To make matters even sweeter, Mr. Lively himself does enjoy cooking and making more complicated recipes, so he’s volunteered to cook our dinners – the thing I least like to prepare. Since I’m caring for two of his meals a day, he’s excited to return the favor at dinnertime for me.

So though I’m sure we will still do our fair share of eating out on the town, we are now mutually invested in cooking at home for one another. Which ultimately gives me a genuine reason to cook, to show my love for my boyfriend.

So whether it feels daunting to break a long held negative pattern or if you are struggling to genuinely commit to your intention; reflect, look deeper, and just keep going.


afternoon chat (video)
March 27th, 2012     |    Life


Today I thought I’d switch things up and share a glimpse into what’s going on in my life. In the video I share what it’s like to have three companies now (Jess LC, MML, and BWI), how I’m managing it all, and what is still a challenge.

I also share a little inside scoop about our upcoming Jess LC collection launching next week (a new product is in store!).

branding before and after
March 27th, 2012     |    Business Advice

Today I’m sharing an incredible branding story of one of my consulting clients, Kathryn of Protect Your Pumps. Her company makeover is insanely awesome. 

Hop over to Business with Intention to see the full before and after!

choosing your thoughts
March 26th, 2012     |    LifeThink About It

Last Friday I was chatting with a friend who is going to be moving soon. As you can imagine, she has a lot on her plate and the move is just one more big thing on the to-do pile. I happened to mention that she might want to take some time choosing her thoughts over the next few weeks while this craziness ensues.

She asked me what I was talking about and while I explained it to her, I thought it might be helpful for others as well.

One of the biggest themes I find in the spiritual teachings of Mrs. Meyers, Buddhism, and The Course in Miracles, is the idea that we have the power to choose our thoughts.

As Joyce likes to say, we don’t have to just think whatever stinkin’ thinkin’ falls into our heads. 

We have the power to choose excellent thoughts, positive thoughts. We have the power to turn our attention wherever we like.

And this year I have been working diligently to make this a part of my own thought life.

But to be honest, I know that I have to make a very consistent effort to really get the benefits of this power. Pretty much everyday, multiple times a day, in fact.

More than anything, I have found that if I take time in the morning to “select my thoughts,” my day can go from average to awesome, or from stressful to not-so-bad.

It’s kind of like picking out my spiritual “outfit” for the day. To do this, I sit on the floor with a candle in front of me. I clear my heart of anything that I might have done wrong the day before, and give thanks for the awesome people and things in my life. Then, I move on to pick out the thoughts I’d like to think during my day. Some of my chosen thoughts recently are:

  • I have favor in business.
  • I have everything that I need.
  • I am enough.
  • I am blessed and I want to be a blessing to others.
  • I will have the grace for anything that comes my way.
  • I am positive, happy, and thankful.

To me, it’s like a mix of praying, meditating, and what I’d write in a journal.

After I run out of things to say and I feel ready to ease into the morning, I get up and start making the bed and getting ready.

Though I hope to one day make this an everyday ritual, right now I’m batting about 40%. I don’t find myself doing it on weekends or every weekday. But when I do take the time to do it, I have a much better attitude and approach to opportunities and challenges. I am quite simply more joyful.

And surprisingly, I do find myself re-thinking the thoughts from the morning throughout my afternoon. Over time, it really does stick as long as I’m consistently doing my morning practice.

As usual, it goes without saying that this what I have found to be personally helpful, but perhaps it is worth considering for others as well. It doesn’t need to be sitting in front of a candle, it could be writing in a journal, thinking on the way to work, or a million other things. What I think the core of this practice does is help us consciously think about what we want to spend our days dwelling upon.

We can think what comes to mind without any censorship or choose otherwise.

It’s up to us.

Over on Business with Intention I shared a great two minute video on how to separate truly great branding from the rest of the pack.

Hop on over to watch it and enjoy!


this week I’m thankful for
March 23rd, 2012     |    Life

This week I’m thankful for the fact that I got sick on Wednesday. Though I certainly didn’t feel good at the time, I think it was a much needed break for my brain and body. Running three different aspects of business now is a lot of work. And though it’s extremely rewarding and they have some overlap, each business still needs individual care and attention. Perhaps it’s like having three kids?

Anyways, a chance to completely stop moving, thinking, and working was good for my soul.

This weekend I hope to continue to relax and be present with Mr. Lively. Hopefully a bike ride is in our near future.

Thank you for reading this week and I hope you have a great weekend!


how to remember to throw out makeup
March 22nd, 2012     |    Life

If there is one thing that I suck at, it’s throwing out makeup in a timely manner. There are all sorts of makeup expiration dates out there and I ignore them all.

But recently I found a way to be a bit better about makeup expiration dates. I simply write the month and year that I purchased the item on the makeup case itself. This way I can’t forget when it needs to go in the trash.

Simple. Easy. Free.

the icing or the cake
March 22nd, 2012     |    ExfoliatingLifeThink About It

When it comes to cake, I prefer the icing more. In fact, when Mr. Lively and I stop by Molly’s Cupcakes, my treat of choice is an icing shot – which is a healthy dose of icing in a small plastic cup, sans cake. Though to some that might seem gross, to me it’s heavenly.

However, in real life, I’m finding that I need to keep my metaphorical love of icing in check. I’ve struggled with this before as well, I even wrote about it in my bio. In college I tried to be perfect and happy through physical “stuff” only to be disappointed and later to get my major a-ha moment – peeling back the layers of our lives leads to the most happiness – not adding to the layers.

Once I had this revelation I discovered my purpose, moved to Chicago, and have been promoting the benefits of making under ever since.

But recently I’m starting to notice that I now have two lenses with which I evaluate my life. The first lens is the lens of “The Real World,” the in-person experiences and relationships that I have. And the second lens is the “Online World,” which is comprised mostly of lifestyle blogs, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.

According to my Real World Lens I am doing fine – great even! I am grateful for all that I have in my life, I am thankful that I have a career and purpose that I’m passionate about, and I have a great relationship.

But my Online World lens tells me a different story. My Online World lens makes me feel not quite “enough.” Sure, what I have is nice, but my life could be so much better if I had bright colored jeans, a floral blazer, a puppy, a hunky husband, a baby on the way, and a knack for cooking and entertaining like Ms. Stewart.

Then my life would really be something. 

I get swept up in the beautiful images and their promises of perfection and forget all that I have learned from my Real World experience.

This needs to stop.

Photos online are more beautiful, styled, edited, Photoshopped, and professionally done than ever before. Inherently much of the photography that I consume online is telling a beautiful story that only depicts the icings of life.

And if I’m not careful, I find myself disrespecting the cake (read: substance) of my life. I trade my gratefulness for the dissatisfaction of never having enough icing.

My hope is by taking the time to share this with you that I’ll begin to re-program my values to go back to true North. That I’ll reconnect with the epiphanies I had in college and begin to apply them to my Online World lens as well.

Because I want to be in the icing, but not of it.













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