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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.

traveling with jewelry

March 21st, 2012   |   ExfoliatingLifeWardrobe

Gotta be honest, today I’m not feeling well. So I’m taking the day off, but right now I’m feeling well enough to drag myself off the couch and share something that hopefully is useful for you!

Traveling with jewelry doesn’t require a jewelry roll or anything fancy. Personally I use two things: little plastic baggies and an empty hand cream jar.

The key to not getting knots in fine chains while traveling is to drop the necklace vertically inside a little plastic baggie (a sandwich baggie will work too) – but remember to leave the clasp hanging outside the closure. This ensures that no matter how much your luggage gets jumbled, the chains won’t get tangled.

Once you arrive at your destination, pull the necklace out of the baggie vertically and you are good to go!

Extra tip: when at home make sure to hang your fine chains to make sure they don’t get tangled – ever.

For bracelets and earrings I simply drop them in a little hand cream jar that is cleaned. It’s quick, simple, and easy to find in my makeup bag.

I hope this helps!

Lately I’ve been fielding a lot of questions about the upcoming Business with Intention Workshops debuting in Chicago and Washington DC and I thought it might be a good idea to share them here as well.

Though our future events are going to be amazing and completely awesome, the first two are a little special.

Here’s how.

Currently I am preparing the content for the workshops and I’m using the goals and intentions of these first two classes to craft my direction and information. So these two events are the best place to have the most customization to your specific business goals.

Of course this will be a component of future workshops as well, but the depth and individual tailoring of these two first classes is an advantage.

One of the best assets of this workshop is the chance to get to know other business owners face to face. In a start-up world that can be somewhat lonely, the workshop will be a great place for people to connect at a deeper level than that found online.

So far, we have product businesses and service business owners coming to the events. Which will make for some great opportunities to help one another with marketing and possible future collaborations.

I know from my own experience how valuable it is to work with other businesses to grow. It’s been a huge and very successful part of my own strategy with Jess LC (more details will be shared in the workshop).

Plus, I love having entrepreneur friends who get what I’m going through on any given day. Their advice and unwavering support helps me get through the challenging times.

And last but not least, we are running a special discount on the first two workshops, so this is the chance to get the same experience for less.

Also, if you are thinking about traveling to either of these workshops, Clara, the Workshop Manager can help you find a place to crash at a fellow workshop classmate’s home. Please email hello[at]businesswithintention.com for more info on that possibility as well.


We currently still have room in both workshops, so if you want to come to Chicago in April or DC in May, please join us!

We’ll be mailing welcome packets not too far from now. I can’t wait.

photos of our Chicago space via

the lie about entrepreneurship

March 20th, 2012   |   Business AdviceLife

Yesterday I was reading an amazing article suggested by Diane here on MML (the link seems to be down right now), about Gen-Y and whether twentysomethings are expecting too much from work and life in general.

Though I loved much of the article, the last few lines of the article didn’t sit well with me.

At the end of the seven page article detailing Gen-Y’s search for a purposeful career, the author interviewed a female lawyer who said she wanted to look forward to jumping out of bed in the morning. The author then asked her if she thinks that there are people that actually have that euphoric feeling while waking up, and the lawyer mentioned that she thinks that’s how entrepreneurs feel.


Of course I can only speak for my own experience and that of friends that I know who have been in business for many years. But I can tell you wholeheartedly that that is not how I feel every morning.

Putting up an unrealistic expectation like that on a purpose driven career is a great way to stay stuck in disappointment, disillusion, and fear.

I’m sure that getting out of bed each morning for a non-purpose career might feel awful and depressing. But I can tell you right now that there are mornings in every business owner’s life that are stressful, scary, and worrisome. Or maybe even just a bit dull.

Charting your own path in the beginning can be daunting because no one knows your business. This can feel like you are constantly running up a big hill each day pushing a ton of bricks. Is it worthwhile? Absolutely. But that effort to get noticed can take it’s toll on the spring in your step at 7am.

And once you are established, it can be daunting to know that you are going to have to troubleshoot multiple problems and complaints each day. People have their own expectations of what you and your company are going to do and as you become more successful their criticism can increase (look at the iPad 3 release, for example).

So either way there are times and reasons that you may not want to jump out of bed although what you are doing is deeply meaningful and fulfilling.

I’d liken it to having a baby, puppy, or marriage. Though I’ve never had those things in my life, from all of my friend’s accounts, those things are intensely gratifying but the reality of those things also does not always involve jolting out of bed in ecstasy.

Some days you wake up and just want to keep sleeping.

So all of this is to say that I sincerely encourage anyone considering entrepreneurship or just starting out to lower the “jumping out of the bed” expectations just a bit.

Like all good things, there will be a honeymoon phase and seasons of “joyful mornings” throughout. But if you experience less than ideal waking conditions at some point in your business operations, that is normal, that is fine, that still means all you have to do is just keep going.

bad juju

March 19th, 2012   |   LifeThink About It

Earlier today I tweeted about how I was frustrated about a situation that I’d like to share. Here’s the story, and the (eventual) happy ending.

Since January I’ve been dealing with a bank about a student loan and the relatively simple process is still going on. What should have been a one time encounter, has taken four or five letters and four or five phone calls over the past two months. Every few weeks I think the situation is complete and each time I find that there is Something. More. To. Do.

The last time this happened I was on a call and was almost in tears out of sheer frustration at how this has been handled and how this continues to be an unresolved issue. After majorly venting on the last call, I implored them to send me the proper forms and details so I could finally put this all behind me.

Today when I opened the letter I found that the form which has been the source of this whole debacle was not included in the envelope, which now continues this whole process and warranted a fifth or sixth call to this bank.

This time I started with a cooler head than the last call, yet I found my blood starting to boil as I was forced to explain the ridiculous scenario again.

Though I didn’t get quite as upset as before, my mood was properly sullen after the call.

Hence the tweet.

However, over the past few weeks I have been doing really great at keeping my mind clear of a lot of “muck” and negative thoughts. So contrasting that extremely positive recent outlook with this afternoon’s mood felt… itchy.

Like wearing a wool turtleneck in today’s warm weather. I just wanted to take off the frustration and chill out.

But I couldn’t shake the itchy mood until…

I forgave the bank for all of the hassle I’ve gone through the past two months.

Though they have no idea that I’ve forgiven them for this experience, I needed to mentally sincerely forgive them in order to forgive myself for my own behavior towards them. Otherwise the negative smog was going to pollute my interactions the rest of the day. And I really didn’t want that to happen.

As long as I was holding them accountable for their mistakes, I was holding myself accountable for my own negative malevolent reaction.

My behavior the past two times was ultimately what had me holding on to the anger and frustration I felt about the situation as a whole.

I know that customer service is a tough job, it’s something I do everyday with Jess LC. But I didn’t let that stop me from venting to the customer service reps. And all that venting didn’t change anything, it just kept me stuck in the itchy turtleneck long after we got off the phone.

For me, withdrawing judgment from both parties was the key to letting things clear up.

Sometimes it’s easy to point fingers at other people who make mistakes and then continue to feel crappy much longer than necessary. Because we ultimately need to hold ourselves accountable for our own reactive behavior – and forgive accordingly.

leaving the city of regret

March 19th, 2012   |   LifeThink About It

Thanks to Mrs. Meyers, I found this great story.

Leaving the City of Regret

By Larry Harp

I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year, and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly. This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come of it. I’m talking about my annual “Guilt Trip.”

I got tickets to fly there on Wish I Had airlines. It was an extremely short flight. I got my baggage, which I could not check. I chose to carry it myself all the way. It was weighted down with a thousand memories of what might have been. No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the Regret City International Airport. I say international because people from all over the world come to this dismal town.

As I checked into the Last Resort Hotel, I noticed that they would be hosting the year’s most important event, the Annual Pity Party. I wasn’t going to miss that great social occasion. Many of the towns leading citizens would be there.

First, there would be the Done family, you know, Should Have, Would Have and Could Have. Then came the I Had family. You probably know ol’ Wish and his clan. Of course, the Opportunities would be present, Missed and Lost. The biggest family would be the Yesterday’s. There are far too many of them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share.

Then Shattered Dreams would surely make and appearance. And It’s Their Fault would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had failed in his life, and each story would be loudly applauded by Don’t Blame Me and I Couldn’t Help It.

Well, to make a long story short, I went to this depressing party knowing that there would be no real benefit in doing so. And, as usual, I became very depressed. But as I thought about all of the stories of failures brought back from the past, it occurred to me that all of this trip and subsequent “pity party” could be canceled by ME! I started to truly realize that I did not have to be there. I didn’t have to be depressed. One thing kept going through my mind, I CAN’T CHANGE YESTERDAY, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY. I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as encouraging. Knowing this, I left the City of Regret immediately and left no forwarding address. Am I sorry for mistakes I’ve made in the past? YES! But there is no physical way to undo them.

So, if you’re planning a trip back to the City of Regret, please cancel all your reservations now. Instead, take a trip to a place called, Starting Again. I liked it so much that I have now taken up permanent residence there. My neighbors, the I Forgive Myselfs and the New Starts are so very helpful.

By the way, you don’t have to carry around heavy baggage, because the load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival. Here’s wishing that you find this great town. If you can find it – it’s in your own heart – please look me up. I live on I Can Do It street!



this week i’m thankful for…

March 16th, 2012   |   Life

This week I am happy to report I did much better about snapping photos of things I’m thankful for. This habit is starting to really sink in.

In fact, I had a stellar week. I am incredibly thankful for the great response to the Business with Intention Workshops coming up (there is still space in both shops, so feel free to sign up and even come with a friend!). I’m also thankful for the just about everything in my life.

Though things are not “perfect,” I have done a great job being thankful for the vast majority of things that are true blessings. To think back to how I started out in Chicago four years ago; poor, scared, and obsessive about my body, this is a true transformation.

Anything is possible, seriously. Just keep going! 


sublet my apartment

March 15th, 2012   |   LifeStyle

I’m going to let you guys in on a little secret: Mr. Lively and I are moving in together in July.

Shhh… don’t tell, okay? 

Anyways, this move can’t come soon enough. Jess LC inventory and shipping materials are growing (new goodies are in store at the end of the month) and the workshop materials are coming in (!). Which means this 725 square foot apartment is not going to cut it for us much longer.

Since our leases end two months apart, we are looking to find someone to rent here — and perhaps sign on for a full year in my building in September, if they like.

This one bedroom apartment, which is perfect for one or two people (sans tons of business boxes), will be looking for a new caring renter come July and August.

Interested in what it looks like? Feel free to check out it’s feature in Rue Mag, Apartment Therapy, or even take the video tour on The Nate Show.

She has wall-to-wall / floor-to-ceiling windows, a granite kitchen, and she’s easy to decorate. The building also has a great roof deck and gym. She’s located a block from the running trails off of Lake Shore Drive, and is two blocks north of Lincoln Park in East Lakeview — the best part of all of Chicago, if you ask me.

Before I put this puppy up on Craig’s List, I want to make sure that you all have a chance to snatch her up first! Because nothing would make me happier than to know I can pass her on to someone who cares and loves decor as much as I do.

Interested? Email me at jess (at) jesslc.com for more details.

photos by

using siri for focus points

March 15th, 2012   |   LifeThink About It

Two nights ago Mr. Lively and I were reading The Way of the Superior Man (yes, we are still working through the book) and one of the quotes struck me. David Deida said “You are that which you seek.”

I liked it and wanted to keep it in mind as I continue to grow my career and help more people. I don’t want to constantly be “seeking” when I’m in so many ways where I wanted to be when I started out four and a half years ago in my tiny little studio apartment taking Jess LC full-time. Man have I come a long way. And man, do I have a long way to go!

Anyways, out of the blue I decided to reach over to my phone after Mr. Lively read the quote aloud and I told Siri to remind me everyday at 9:00am that “I am that which I seek.” By having the alert each day I am less likely to let it slip past my awareness.

It is kind of like putting my focus point on automatic pilot.

I share this because it could easily be done with any automatic alert system and any personal intention.

depth and reach

March 14th, 2012   |   LifeThink About It

Today I’d like to return back to the post It’s Not Over Yet and continue the conversation in a slightly different way. That post, which is about recognizing that we may feel like we need to be successful online rightthisverymoment, hit home for many people.

So now I’d like to propose a new way of looking at our blogs – and lives. Rather than constantly pondering whether our reach is “big enough,” we should also be looking at the depth of our actions. It is often assumed that a wider reach breeds a wider influence, but that is not always the case. Rather than constantly focusing on how fast we are growing, what if we start looking at how we are helping the people following our blogs right now?

What about finding gratitude and meaning from the fact that someone tried our recipe and added it to her recipe book for years to come? What about the person who found the perfect little black purse in your post? What about the person who wears the earrings you made to give her the confidence she needs when she interviews for a new job? What about the person who got the courage to paint her bedroom yellow after seeing how great it looked in your home? What about the person who has the courage to follow their dream thanks to you sharing your own journey to do the same?

That level of impact, I feel, is more important than statistics. That level of impact is what usually brings us to our computers each day. And although we might see a few indications of this, we can easily undervalue that depth in favor of being “popular.”

I see myself do it sometimes, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

Of course it goes without saying that popular is not a bad thing, in fact, popular can bring about more improvement in more people’s lives. But it is not everything.

Helping people should be the focus on any scale.

Further, we must look at our lives outside of blogging as well and reflect on our overall impact. We cannot hinge our self-worth on our online persona when the impact we can have in the real world is usually much deeper and lasting. A mother’s influence on her children is miles deeper than in the blogosphere, and for good reason.

Our lives and value are infinite, blog reach is just a drop in the bucket.


business in the city

March 13th, 2012   |   Business Advice

While I’m on the topic of Business with Intention, we have our next Business in the City meet-up tomorrow at Next Door (659 W. Diversey).

Unfamiliar with Business in the City? You can read more about the meet-up group here.

I’m proud to announce that the Business with Intention site and workshop are now live!

The Business with Intention Workshop is designed to help current and soon-to-be business owners develop a defined vision for their businesses and then give them the tools to make it happen.

And I know everyone has been wondering where we are headed first. Based on your feedback we chose…

Chicago and…

Washington DC!

You can read the complete details here as well as some of the main points below.

The day long workshop will help you create meaningful goals and intentions for your business that allow you to push past personal barriers along with the nuts and bolts of then making that dream come true.

The course will focus primarily, but not exclusively on:

  • Creating an intentional business
  • Work/life balance, time management, and delegating
  • Effective branding
  • Selling via wholesale, retail, and online
  • Interacting online and using social media to your advantage
  • Website 101 and 102
  • Marketing online and offline

The event itself will be in a fun, positive, and inspiring space that allows you to connect with other business owners in a small group setting and imagine bigger and bolder things for your business.

The event will have a light breakfast and full lunch, along with a few surprises along the way.

The first half of the day will be devoted to creating a complete vision for your business followed by a group discussion about the barriers, challenges, and opportunities to make life and business work together in a deeply satisfying way.

Then, in the afternoon we will get into the trenches and discuss the steps needed to make that plan a reality. Please see the specific business topics listed in the “What will it cover?” section above.

And all along the way you will be able to ask questions and get personalized feedback on your business in it’s current state so that you have direct feedback to work with going forward.

In addition to the information shared above, you will walk out of the Business with Intention Workshop with:

  • A course binder and USB filled with tips, tricks, and information to help guide your next steps
  • A clear sense of what you want out of your business — and a plan to make it happen
  • Connections and friendships with the business owners in your class

Rather than do the planned 10% discount for the people who participated in our survey, I’ve decided to make the first two event registration fees even sweeter for everyone.

For these two events only we are deducting $50 off of what we estimate to be the fee for future workshops. To register, head over to the Chicago or Washington DC pages.

And… the first five people who register for a workshop will get a free one-on-one hour long consultation with me after their workshop. These first five people will be contacted by me directly to let them know they won the consultation via email.

I would also like to take a moment to thank the wonderful people who have helped me launch this endeavor, without their help, support, and talent, I would not be able to make Business with Intention a reality.

Clara of Clara Persis Events has been with me along this journey from day one. She has helped me take what was once just an idea and make it a real workshop which will not only help people and their business goals, but also be a wonderful, beautiful, and inspiring experience. I can’t thank her enough for her support, encouragement, and brilliant ideas.

And Lisa, of Elembee Creative has been a wonderful WordPress.org designer taking the thoughts in my head and putting them to pixels. It’s definitely not that easy to make a WordPress.org site happen, and she did it extremely well and incredibly fast. I can’t thank – or recommend – her enough. If you are looking for a WordPress.org designer, she’s your girl.

Of course it goes without saying that Mr. Lively needs to be recognized. He has been with me every step of this journey. It has been a challenge to launch this on top of Jess LC and MML and he hasn’t complained once. Though I’m working longer and harder, he’s been supportive and insanely helpful with many of the technical details that go along with domain redirects, registration button codes, and any general anxiety attacks I face. Without him I would be a way less balanced person with a mediocre web presence. Thank you.

And last but not least, thank you all right here on MML for supporting me as I take this next step. I realized last night that this new venture has new level of meaning for me. Though I’ve stepped into new territory in business many times before, this one is closest to my heart and purpose. This one is the most personal. And I thank you for helping me get the courage to step into this new chapter of my life and career.


photo viavia



March 12th, 2012   |   LifeThink About It

Over the weekend Mr. Lively and I somehow completely missed that it was daylight savings time. Which made for a bit of a confusing morning for me as I switched between my phone clock and digital clock.

What appeared to be a 45 minute nap turned out to be 1:45 long.

Anyways, the time change along with the springtime showers we have in Chicago are all signs of the changing season. Which  is a perfect time to re-focus on yearly intentions or future letters.

After re-reading my future letter I found that some of my intentions are well underway, like being grateful for my body, delegating at Jess LC, and reading (slightly) more frequently outside of work. And a few that I predicted no longer apply, like focusing career-wise on only Jess LC, consulting, and MML since the Business with Intention Workshops are going to be an important part of the mix very soon. In addition, I didn’t mention my intention to get a puppy (!) this summer with Mr. Lively.

But most importantly, I recognized one specific intention had the most room for improvement, growth, and transformation. That intention for me was reflecting throughout the day on my thoughts and continually re-focusing on a positive, thankful heart. I truly believe that if I can hone this trait in myself, I would have a transformational year.

Right now I’m good at having spurts of this, but to truly make this my norm would be incredible. So I’m re-committing to making this a daily focus for me this week.

I’d love to know what intentions or future letter goals others are focusing on this week!


this week I’m thankful for

March 9th, 2012   |   Business AdviceLife

This week I wrote a to-do list for the major projects that I had on my plate. It seems I did pretty well; I’m one major project short and one workout shy of my intentions, but the rest are crossed off. Which means there is homework for me this weekend.

I have a gut feeling that most successful people out there have an outcome like this, so I don’t feel bad about not getting everything completed. I imagine that the people we look up to usually get a whole lot done, but the still end up shy of their goals. So they just keep plugging along and [wait for it] just keep going.

One thing that I’ve learned from my Midnight Hustling is that I can either do a lot of weekday night work or a decent chunk of weekend work. Doing both last week left me drained, dry, and not happy. So last weekend I took the two days off to purely rest, and this week I’ve worked a bit later, but not much past 6:30. This leaves me with plenty of energy and enthusiasm to work on my Midnight Hustle this weekend.

Interestingly, Mr. Lively and his freelance web programming Midnight Hustle (he’s making Big Cartel and Shopify sites for shop owners) as found the same lesson: multiple long weekend nights or work on the weekends cannot be mixed for his sanity. Though everyone has different temperaments for work, we seem to strike a similar balance.

As far as my thankful photos go, I really need to get better about taking photos during the week! To be completely honest, four of those thankful moments were snapped this morning. Not that I’m not thankful for them… but really I need to be more present during my other days to capture the cool things that happen seven days of the week.

Thanks for reading MML this week. I hope you have a great weekend!

new Jess LC FLEA styles in the shop

March 8th, 2012   |   Life

Jess LC is bursting with color due to a new installment of FLEA pieces.

Pops of pool blue, flamingo pink, and lemon drop mix with leopard, stripes, and bamboo.

See them all here.

it’s not over yet

March 8th, 2012   |   Business AdviceLifeThink About It

Lately I’ve been sensing in myself and others, especially online, that there is a feeling of urgency to be successful. Now more than ever it is awe inspiring to see the shooting stars of the internet world have great success in what they do. It’s amazing to see the big corporations start to reward these bloggers with attention, features, and sometimes a bunch of loot. And some people are seeing corporate level paychecks from their passion projects. While others are getting dozens and sometimes hundreds of comments.

The internet is gaining steam and many of us want to be on that train to huge success right this instant.

So we are leaning in, pushing ourselves, and trying to break into that special spotlight that casts its light on the “big” people of the internet.

But in most cases we are all striving for levels we have yet to achieve and it can be disheartening over time to feel like despite all of our efforts, we just can’t quite get there.

We haven’t made it yet.

But that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. One thing I continue to remind myself comes from Gary Vaynerchuk. He is always quick to point out two things: how young the internet is and how much longer we are going to be working in our lifetime.

He always has his eye on the much bigger picture, he feels like a kid at 36 with so much left to give and with so much room to grow. While here I am at 27 feeling exasperated thinking that after 13 years of business and three years of blogging I’m still not “where I want to be yet.”

His paradigm on life always gives me a reality check when I’m feeling frustrated. And I think this is something many of us can keep in mind for our web efforts or life intentions.

With any luck, we are going to be adding value in our lives, possibly here on the internet, for a very long time. So perhaps we need to sometimes take a chill pill when it comes to the grasping and “now now now” mentality. The internet moves so quickly with tools like Facebook and it’s easy to think that our success needs to come at the same pace as our Twitter feed.

But that’s not the case. We just need to remember to just keep going and pace ourselves for the long haul. If we really are in this for the foreseeable future, there is no need to stress over where we are today. There is plenty of room for us to get “there.”

As Tony of P90X likes to say, “just do your best and forget the rest.”

goals vs. intentions

March 7th, 2012   |   LifeThink About It

Fact #1: I have run two marathons.

Fact #2: I have trained for five marathons.

Why the huge difference in completed marathons versus training attempts?

It all comes down to the difference between goals and intentions. 

You see, during the first few training attempts I had two very heavy weights on my shoulders. The first was a “goal” and the second was a healthy dose of perfectionism. Combined, these two elixirs made for a cocktail far worse than failure; a fear of trying.

When I went into training for my first few marathons I had set a goal to run 10 minute miles the entire race. This meant I needed to finish in four hours and twenty-two minutes. Notice that I said needed? That’s where the perfectionism came into play.

For me a goal was a benchmark that differentiated success and failure. And my inner-perfectionist could not handle the thought of failure. So I put a tremendous amount of stress on myself to do things perfectly when it came to my training. Kind of like my years of incessant calorie counting.

I was quite good at being obsessive and goal oriented.

Therefore, each time that I would train for a marathon early on I would do my best to run at exactly 6mph. As any runner can attest to, some days my runs were easy and some days they were hard for no reason at all. No matter how hard anyone trains, marathon distances can be tricky for so many random reasons like weather, hydration, hills, and pain.

So over time, it became clear to me that running 26.2 miles at exactly 10 minute pace would be a challenge was near impossible. And rather than accept that fact and continue training, I eventually stopped training altogether.

In my mind when I would think about the race, I imagined myself at mile 18 unable to keep my Perfect Pace. And in my mind I could see myself walking off the course and stopping the run. I could see myself quitting.

Over and over I trained for marathons only to get to a point where I imagined myself quitting mid-race and then I’d quit my training. I didn’t want to face the fear of failure to meet my pace goal or the fear that I might actually not complete the race at all.

However, as I’ve stated at the beginning, I have indeed overcome these fears and completed two marathons because I did one simple thing differently:

I created an intention instead of a goal. 

Now there is obviously semantics at play, but please stick with me. To me, the idea of an intention represents something much different than a goal. An intention is something that is a guiding principle or value that I have which I can return back to at any moment. And a goal is a benchmark that is either met or unmet.

So while training for my two successful marathons, I created the intention to run 10 minute miles during the race. But if I was unable to keep that up, I gave myself permission to slow down, speed up, take my time, or walk if I needed. It was a soft gaze on 4:22, not a white knuckled death grip.

As Tal Ben-Shahar likes to say, I gave myself the permission to be human. 

And that permission to slow down and “fail” at my intention allowed me to run two great marathons – in neither of which did I hit 4:22. In fact, in both races I was about twenty minutes over my goal. But that didn’t dull the success of ultimately focusing on what what was truly most important all along: finishing the race.

As you can imagine, marathon training taught me a lot about expectation, intention, and perseverance – just like Jess LC. And the blessing out of all of those miles is that I now approach my whole life with the paradigm of intention.

So now whenever I get bogged down and discouraged that I’m fulfilling my intentions as quickly or well as I’d like, I gently return back to the intentions and commit again. Straying from an intention or not reaching it in a certain time frame is not a “failure,” but simply a chance to come back and begin from where I left off.


when the going gets tough

March 6th, 2012   |   Life


That is all there is to it.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been busy midnight hustling to take my business consulting to a whole new level. And right now I’m a week out from launching the traveling workshop(!) and one-on-one consulting site.

I’ve taken your thoughts from our recent survey to heart. Thank you so much for your feedback. There are lot of people out there reading my mind!

Though I don’t want to give too much away just yet, I will share the overall mission of the workshop itself:

The intention behind the Business with Intention Workshop is to help current and soon-to-be business owners define their intentions for their businesses and their lives.

There are a million ways to “grow a business” but none of that matters if you don’t first start with the end in mind. “What do you really, really want?” is the starting point, not “how do I make a lot of money?” Clarity from these questions will help identify what areas of business need to be nourished and expanded… as well as delegated.

From there on out it’s about the nuts, bolts, shortcuts, and hard work that it takes to grow a business filled with intention. My own 13 years of experience along with a variety of takeaways from my one-on-one consulting is on the table. I want to help other people do better in business by sharing what I’ve learned. And if you know anything about me, I’m all about keeping it real, honest, and positive along the way.

By the end of the one day workshop, my goal is to have each person excited and clear about what they want their business (and life) to be like. They will know the next five major steps that they need to take. Plus, they will have a wealth of insight from my own strike outs and home runs to help them get there.

And it goes without saying that there will be plenty of discussions, fun, loveliness, and surprises.

Though I’m still keeping the first two workshop cities under wraps for the moment, I will share a taste of the first space where we will be holding the  Business with Intention Workshop.

Beautiful, right?

I. Can’t. Wait.

If you are excited about the workshop and want to be kept in the loop on the cities, information, and other free content that will be a part of Business with Intention, please sign up for our email list here.

It’s time that we take our businesses, intentions, and lives to the next level.

Reach Out

Want to learn how to live from Values-based intentions?

I run an online course, Life With Intention Online, to share exactly how to do just that. Sign up for updates and special bonuses here. (The next class will most likely begin in late 2015.)

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If you would like to get sponsorship information for The Lively Show, please submit your information here.

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Would you or someone you know make a great Lively Show guest? Please submit yourself or someone else here.

Guest post + blog advertising policy.

Due to the format of my work, I do not accept guest posts or blog advertising (sponsorship is only available for The Lively Show podcast and you can get more info by submitting here).

Have a question about your Intention Tattoo order?

Have a question about your intention tattoo order? Please email Ashley at jess(at)jesslc(dot)com directly.


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