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First of all, I’d like to share my immense gratitude for the success of the Business with Intention Workshop this Saturday in Chicago. Going into the workshop I had an idea of what things would probably be most important and helpful. But I think I massively underestimated the power of the in-person connection these women business owners felt from meeting one another. The MML and BWI community is a group of like-minded individuals looking to make an intentional impact in the world, their personal lives, and in the lives and businesses of their new friends.

I have a feeling the Chicago workshop participants will be reaping the benefits of knowing and sharing with one another for years to come. Which makes me feel so humbled. Instead of feeling like  the “one in charge” of something like this, I now feel like a steward that is able to facilitate this wonderful connection and experience for these entrepreneurs.

And I’m honored to do so in Washington DC as well as the cities yet to come. Clara [the coolest person ever] and I will be announcing the new locations soon.

Okay, now it’s back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Today I’d like to follow up my video where I explain the difference between career, purpose, and vocation with a little case study to also illustrate my points.

Above, are my new crushes, Sophia Grace (8) and Rosie (5).

After discovering their immense talent on The Ellen Show, I was struck at how they perfectly illustrate the fluid nature of career, purpose, and vocation.

From watching their singing and dancing it is clear that they have the opportunity to use their talents to make performance a career, purpose, or vocation, depending on their intention throughout their lives.

First of all, it’s obvious that they can probably make money by singing via ad revenue on their insanely popular You Tube videos, Ellen performances, or other events in the future. Or, they can choose to not monetize their popularity.

Secondly, it is clear that they are delighting and bringing joy to people that watch their videos. This is an example of how they are helping to make other people’s lives better in the present moment. Sure, they may not do this once they are 12, 26, or 58 years old. But at this moment, their performances are making people happy and fulfilling their life purpose.

In the future, they may decide to become doctors, receptionists, or fire fighters and help people in different ways. This is a great example that what we do now to help people, does not need to be what we do for the rest of our lives. It can change and evolve with our stages in life and intentions.

When we are actively focused on helping people wherever we find ourselves, that is living our ultimate purpose.

Or finally, Sophia Grace and Rosie might grow up and find that they would like to dedicate their lives to singing and dancing. They may find that this unique talent is deeply fulfilling to them and they want to continue to preform as a vocation. Again, as I mentioned before, they can choose to to make this a vocation without necessarily making this their career. They could choose to be an engineer and build bridges (career/purpose) and sing for free (purpose/vocation). On the other hand, they could sing for money and craft a career/purpose/vocation out of their gifts.

It’s all up to them and no choice is “better” than another. Vocation is not something that is really any more “special” than purpose since they both involve what is truly most important: helping other people in the present moment.


this week i’m thankful for…

April 27th, 2012   |   Life

This week started hectic and stressful. Juggling Jess LC, MML, and BWI Workshops and consulting is a lot. So those normal hiccups that arise in any business, let alone three businesses, were getting me flustered pretty easily.

But surprisingly the last two days have been calm and I feel like going into tomorrow I’m much more mellow and relaxed than I ever thought possible.

Sure, I “planned” to have more done by now. But really, the few things that are left to do are no big deal.

My do it well and get it done mantra seems to have worked (amen!).

As you probably know by now, Clara and I have our very first Business with Intention Workshop in Chicago tomorrow. I cannot wait to see all of our plans and intentions come to life. And more importantly, I’m thrilled to be helping the business owners in the workshop get more inspired, clear, and strategic about their companies (or business ideas) than ever before.

After this, we have DC (there is still time to register) and then two more cities which we will announce in the next week or so.

Have a great weekend and thank you so much for reading MML!


April 26th, 2012   |   LifeThink About It


In my last post about career and purpose Karlita had a question about what purpose really means. In reading her comment, I realized that I think there are really three terms at play. But I usually just use two, and often in the wrong ways.

To best describe the difference between career, purpose, and vocation, I decided to talk with you in hopes that it will make more sense verbally.

the good and real career

April 25th, 2012   |   Business AdviceLifeThink About It

In the wake of my confession about my struggle with my relationship perfectionism, my gut tells me that there may be more people who struggle with this type of perfectionism in their career and purpose categories.

So today, I’d like to get a little feisty and share what I really think about career and purpose over-idealism.*

To be honest, more and more I notice comments, worries, and clouds of anxiety surrounding people and their “career” or “purpose.” Especially among Gen Y and Gen Z.

I think the idea we were all taught about “making a difference” in our childhoods has cast this shadow of expectation that we should all be rescuing the planet, curing cancer, and making hundreds of thousands of dollars while working a 9 to 5 job – from a sail boat in our pajamas.

And the truth is that all of those things are possible, and will happen for some people.

But the fact is that most people will not be doing those things. And that’s a good thing.

The world would not be quite as nice if we didn’t have people to do our taxes, send us Netflix, cut our hair, or cook our organic grass fed burgers on a pretzel bun.**

Yet it seems so many people are sitting in their cubicles stressing out over the utter “meaninglessness” of their jobs.

And I honestly want to say that I think that those people should deeply consider whether their current situation actually does have the potential to become part of their purpose if they dug in, changed their perception, and had a more proactive outlook.

I love you, so please let me explain.

Purpose is not a string of fuzzy warm feelings that naturally burst forth at every moment. The purpose equation explains that it doesn’t really matter what the heck you are doing. As long as you are using whatever you are doing to better the day of someone else, then that is purpose in action.

So even if the job itself isn’t pulling samples for Vogue, saving orphans, or raking in fat checks, it can still be done with excellence, problem solving (aka creativity), and love.

Almost all jobs involve working and interacting with peers or customers. Those interactions are where you have the unlimited potential to step it up and become someone that really does make other people more joyful during the workday.

Take my label guy, Todd, for example. I have only spoken on the phone with Todd a handful of times over the past two years. But I always look forward to calling him for more labels. He’s friendly, happy, prompt, honest, and just plain fun to work with. Of the dozens of suppliers I have to pay, I actually look forward to giving him money.

He’s a label maker with a sh*t load of purpose.

Further, any transaction ultimately fills a need. So there can be a bigger goal to look towards for inspiration or meaning.

On the other hand, if that is simply impossible to find or the environment is unhealthy, there is always the option of leaving the place and going in a new direction.

Either way, we are not helpless beings in search of meaning and purpose. We are powerful. So powerful, we have the capability to transform our current moment into purpose if we put our minds to it.

We just gotta lose the cooky sense that we need to be doing something that we find fulfilling.

Fulfilling is in this very moment if we choose to honor it completely.


* Yep, I just made that term up, but I think it fits.

** And a million other careers. But you get my point.

it’s good and real

April 24th, 2012   |   LifeThink About It


While on the phone last night with my good friend Emily, I found myself repeating a few times “it’s good and real” in connection to my relationship with Mr. Lively.

As I noticed myself saying it, I connected a few dots and had a little a-ha moment.

To be honest, coming into our relationship, I was determined to make/have the “right” relationship with him. One that is perfectly intentional, is a perfect inspiration to others, and fulfills me in every way imaginable.

(This is back during the time when I had blond highlights too.)

As you can imagine, those high impossible expectations left me constantly worried and stressed during all the moments that the relationship didn’t feel “right” in the ways I described above.

I wanted to not only be a better person because of him, I wanted to be a perfect-ish person because of him.

I wanted to feel like running marathons again, making a million dollars, jumping out of bed every morning, and simply being in awe that “he would choose me?!?!

Instead, I often felt like: running when I felt like it, growing my business organically and intentionally, and getting out of bed sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. And I was pretty clear on why he chose me.

I’m intentional, goofy, and I shower him with affection and attention.

(I’m also an anxious over-thinker [see blond highlights].)

Anyways, I have been unpacking this whole concept of “right” and have finally learned how to allow things to be great and flawed in our relationship simultaneously.

We have a lot of great things going for us as individuals and as a couple. But there are still things we both need to work on and things we need to accept about one another.

To many people, I’m sure this isn’t rocket science. You may be nodding and thinking, “duh, Jess, get with the program.”

And you’re right, I did know all along deep down in my spirit that this is the case, but my ego would not allow for those cracks, flaws, or imperfections to exist without the nagging feelings of doubt and fear.

It was a wrestle-mania smack down between my spirit and my ego, and thankfully my spirit won (again).

And this good and real concept also applies to our bodies, our careers, our purpose, our home, our business, our friendships, our parents, our kids, our hamster, and any other thing that exists.

So when our ego urges us to wage a war against something in our lives, perhaps we need to check in and see if we need to allow the duality of idealism and reality to exist.

Peacefully. With acceptance.

Then the joy can seep back in.

branding: think small

April 23rd, 2012   |   Business AdviceLife


Last week I had two fantastic consulting calls. One of which, is a great example of how thinking small can lead to huge leaps forward in creativity, uniqueness, and purpose.

On Friday, I worked with Flavia, a food blogger with a site called, Flavia’s Flavors. Below, she shares how our consultation helped her narrow in and think “smaller” than the food blogging community at large, to reveal her true purpose and much smaller niche of Italian food blogging. I’m so excited to see her take her blog in this new direction and thank her for what has become, an incredibly kind testimonial along the way.

It was a joy to work with her and I’m so thankful I got to help her find her true purpose with food blogging.

Overall, the takeaway here is to really think smaller in terms of your industry and your place in it in order to reach a greater audience and have a deeper impact.

Click to read the full story over on Business with Intention.


(And in other news… there are just two days left to sign up for the Chicago Business with Intention workshop.)


important no’s

April 23rd, 2012   |   Business AdviceLifeThink About It

Ever since last week when Mr. Lively and I found our next apartment, I’ve been thinking about the importance of “no’s” in life.

While I would love to think that all of my wishes, dreams, and intentions will come true exactly as I expect and wish them to be, much of my life has been shaped by the rejections, denials, or no’s that I’ve gotten.

But when I inspect those events further, there are some important no’s that have fundamentally shifted my life for the better.

Had those fateful no’s not happened, I wouldn’t have many of the blessings I have today.

Here are just a few of the meaningful no’s that I’ve received and the happy outcomes that have since surfaced.

When I was in high school, I wanted to go to Notre Dame. Badly. But my dad, being pragmatic, looked up the rankings of business schools and found my in-state University of Michigan undergrad to be ranked higher than ND at the time. And thus refused to pay for the ND application fee. Since he knew that the extremely expensive out of state tuition would have been out of our family’s reach, I would have been putting undue stress on the family or taking out major student loans for an education that was totally on par with in-state Michigan Business School price tag.

Had I gotten into ND and not had a very huge scholarship (unlikely), I would have been weighed down with significant student loans that would have prevented me from taking my own business full-time right after graduation. I would have likely settled for a corporate job and perhaps never had the courage or financial freedom to be where I am today.

When I was in college, I interviewed for one full-time position after graduation and didn’t get it. The interviewer attempted to guess who I was in the lobby based on the fact that I noted on my resume that I was coxswain on the men’s crew team my freshman year. He suspected that I was a thinner girl in the room, since coxswains’ weight is important in rowing.

Once I said he was wrong, and that I was the one who had once been a coxswain, he remarked “I can see why you aren’t on the team anymore,” pointing out the fact that I was at that point about 22 pounds heavier than my freshman year. After that remark, I had to shake his hand, smile, and walk into an interview. Had I gotten that job, he would have been my boss.

I was badly burned from that offhand remark and was determined not to work for the company. Weeks later, I realized that I was better off working for myself while trying to fulfill my purpose. Which of course, has led me to where I am today.

In 2009 I had sales reps for Jess LC that opened 80 accounts for us. At the time, 80% of my business was wholesale. But to be honest, working with them was extremely frustrating and I had to rely on them for most of my company’s growth.

So as they eventually went off in a new direction and opened their own fashion line, I refused to let the dying relationship and sales channel keep me feeling helpless. I beared the sales dip that followed and refused to replace them with another company and relied on my own wits and sales channels to carry us over.

At the same time, I also started MML and devoted my energy towards online marketing and selling. Since then, I’ve been more in control and personally fulfilled by Jess LC than I ever would have had I continued working through showrooms or reps.

A few years ago I moved in with my boyfriend (at the time). Pretty soon after our move, it became clear that we were not meant to follow the path towards marriage. But we still had six months on our shared lease. Unable to afford the cost of breaking the lease, we stuck it out.

Then, almost exactly two months after the lease did end, I met Mr. Lively. An immediate and intense friendship soon turned into an intense relationship.

I cannot be more grateful for the way things have turned out and I am so excited about the future that lies ahead.

A few weeks ago I was looking for someone to sublet my apartment so I could move in with Mr. Lively when his lease ends in July. But despite a lot of interest, it wasn’t working out.

Then last week we discovered our next apartment which had almost everything we were looking for and more. However, the catch was that renovation would not be complete until September or October. Which actually worked out perfectly with my lease. Had we subleased my home earlier, this amazing situation would not have been possible.


So, when we find something isn’t working out as we hoped, we can remember that there might just be something awesome around the corner.

And in order to get to there, we might need to bump into a few no’s along the way.


my upper limit problem

April 20th, 2012   |   LifeThink About It


Confession: the last two nights I have woken up at 3:00 or 5:00 am worried and stressed out. I toss and turn for a few hours, start feeling anxious, and wake up in the morning only to try to shake off the yucky feelings and begin the day tired.

And for a while I was suspecting “something must not be right in my life.”

But after thinking it over a bit more, I think I might be experiencing an Upper Limit problem.

You see, over the past few days, weeks, and months, things have been going really well.

Like whoa, that just happened?!?! Well.

Mr. Lively and I are doing great and looking forward to the steps ahead of us. After the announcement of the BwI Workshops, Jess LC has hit a new level and my consulting clients are doing great. Our upcoming Jess LC product launch is going smoothly and looks adorable. I’m pushing myself to new levels with the workshop and feeling more “on purpose” than ever with MML. Heck, I even lost weight and am now three tiny pounds away from my goal weight while not trying (I had craft beers, half a burger and fries last night!).

Sure, there have been some setbacks along the way, but not nearly as great as the progress forward.

Then came this week and our apartment hunt.

On a whim, I contacted a building Mr. Lively liked, which then led me to an amazing and helpful lady, Alexis. She gave me the scoop about the apartment building as well as an even nicer one in their community just down the street from me.

Then, she went on to say that next door to the super nice building, they are now completely renovating a three story walk up from start to finish. And that the units were open for leasing, though they wouldn’t be ready until the fall.

At first this renovated building seemed untimely because we were looking to move when Mr. Lively’s lease was up in July. But since my apartment hadn’t been subletted yet and we hadn’t found a breeder for our future Westie puppy yet, we are able to stay put in my apartment until the new building is ready.

And not only was this new building going to be new, it was going to have almost everything we wanted on our wish list (private balcony, large kitchen, gas stove, in unit washer/dryer, space for Jess LC, and central air). You freaking name it, it seems to be in this unit.

Except for square footage.

There we were a bit wary on whether we could make it work. The unit we were looking at in our price range is 890 square feet. Which is a bit larger than my 725 square foot apartment now, but may not grow with us, Jess LC, and a new puppy very well.

However, yesterday when we went to get more information and give Mr. Lively the tour of the big fancy apartment building next door (we are allowed to access to their insanely nice amenities while living in the new building next door), we found out something new.

Instead of our proposed rent being for the unit you see above on the left, it is actually for the one on the right.

Holy crapballs.

1250 square feet of awesomeness for us to live in at less than what we each are paying combined right now. 

Insane. Simply insane.

As you can imagine, like many people, my home is one of the most important things to me outside of friends, family, and meaning. I live and work in my home often for what seems like every moment of the week. And I love that fact.

So to get a place that seems like a palace, have an amazing and sweet boyfriend, growing my business and purpose to new heights, and have lost weight without even trying, I don’t think I’m able to accept that it’s happening.

Instead, I’ve been waking up and worrying about stupid, tiny things like “is the apartment living room 15′ wide or just 12′ or 13′ wide?” “Why don’t I feel like Mr. Lively ‘completes’ me?” “What if this apartment deal somehow doesn’t turn out?”

Even writing it out, I can sense the ridiculousness of it all. Yet the pit in my stomach remains.

So this morning I looked up a post I remembered reading a while back by Marie Forleo which talks about her own Upper Limit problem and how she experienced similar discomfort during a time of prosperity.

Immediately after re-reading the post, I started to relax a bit.

I honestly think I’m having trouble accepting that all of this good stuff has happened to me.

I’m more used to struggling, pushing, striving, and falling just short of what I want. I’m used to sacrificing and stressing over money, my body, my relationship.

And I think I need to work on accepting that I might be in a new phase of my life which is different from my past.

Though I know there will always be challenges on my journey, I may have reached some new level of success I’m not yet comfortable with.

And that is okay. I can take things one moment at a time and push through this Upper Limit problem. I can learn to accept and bask in the gratitude that I wish to have for it all. Rather than making up things to feel stressed about just so I feel more “comfortable.”

I never thought I’d feel stressed with such blessings, but I think it’s good to be open about this in case it helps anyone else who feels this way too.


this week I’m thankful for

April 20th, 2012   |   Life

This week has been filled with Jess LC, BwI Workshop, Biz in the City, and… finding our new home!

Due to a string of extremely fortunate (though unlikely) events, we have landed on what seems to be our perfect new apartment home. In order to have this wonderful unit, we are going to have to wait until it is completed in September/October. Which means we’ll be sticking out my lease in my current building. This also delays our next addition… a puppy, until the fall as well.

Because of this wait, patience is going to be a theme for me throughout this summer. I might need to have my own Be Present reminder staring me in the face to chill out.

Over the weekend I plan to do more work for next week’s Chicago workshop and relax like crazy on Sunday. To be honest, with all the hustling I do during the week, I’ve been finding that I need one day to pretty much do absolutely nothing in order to recover.

I’m talking like eight hours of Arrested Development lazy.

Thanks so much for reading MML and have a great weekend!

and the countdown begins

April 19th, 2012   |   Business With IntentionLife

Lately my days are getting more and more focused on the upcoming Chicago Business with Intention Workshop. Our supplies are all rolling in and looking quite lovely. I can’t wait to see the whole thing come together.

Registration for the Chicago workshop ends on April 25th, and there are still a few spots left.

If you are interested in Chicago or the upcoming May Washington DC event, please email me at hello(at)businesswithintention.com. I’d be happy to jump on a quick call to answer your questions to help figure out if the workshop is a good fit for you.


what is your purpose equation?

April 18th, 2012   |   LifeThink About It

After yesterday’s Purpose Equation, I feel like I’m sensing more people are starting to “get” the whole concept of life purpose in a much more realistic and true way.

It’s exciting.

I feel like we as a community are going to make great progress once this is understood!

And there is going to be a whole lot less stress and frustration for those who are still in the process of discovering their purpose.

Which, will lead to more happiness, joy, and peace.

I love it.

Okay, to explain the Purpose Equation even further, I’m first going to do a quick recap. Here is the simple equation for purpose:

It’s really that simple.

In fact, it gets even simpler, really.

Anything that you are doing right now, whether it’s a talent or not, that helps people is part of your purpose.

Think about it: we all say that we “want to leave a mark” on the world during our lifetime. To do so, all that really means is that we want to leave the world better off than before we were alive.

We don’t want to just take up space, we want to invest and give back.

And to get inspired, we look at the famous people who have given back in astronomical ways. We look at Gandhi, Oprah, Buddha, Jesus, Bill Gates, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr, or Danielle LaPorte.

So, we try to be kinda like them. Famous, making a big impact.

However, when you think about who has made the biggest impact in your personal life, did any of those people directly help you in any way? Sure, they may have helped us slant-wise. But the people who make the biggest positive impact in our lives are usually:

Our parents, extended family, significant others, friends, teachers, doctors, neighbors, and online friends (I had to throw that in there too!).

These people are the ones that make us smile, pat our backs when we get bad news, cheer us on, and help us make our dreams come true.

When I die, we won’t be thinking of thanking Mother Theresa for what she did for me. I will be thanking my mom for spending most of her life dedicated to raising myself and my two brothers.

So this isn’t a knock on the scale of your purpose dreams, just a reality check that fame and recognition does not the only way to make a deep and lasting effect on the world.

Helping people we come into contact with, on any scale, is the true meaning that we seek. 

So, that means… whatever the heck you are doing in this moment is an opportunity to find purpose and meaning.

You may not be in your dream job, but purpose is not about having a “job” or “career.” So whatever you spend your time doing, is a chance to bring purpose to the table by helping those around you.

Here are a few examples of how purpose can play out in our current situations:

So basically anything done with love and concern for others is in some way, our purpose.

And, if you find that whatever you are doing now doesn’t feel like “enough,” find a way to help out a new group of people who need your talents or current profession even more.

If you are a fashion blogger, for example, consider helping out with Dress for Success or some other program that helps women look their best who need new jobs.

If you are an accountant who is not allowed to help others with accounting based on job restrictions, consider tutoring an under-served  high school student in math.

If you are a mother raising three kids, that seems like a lot already. But, you could also volunteer at their school or give advice to new moms.

If you are a college student, there a million programs and non-profit opportunities to help out in meaningful ways on most campuses. Go get busy doing something that you love which helps others.

But above all, please, please, please, never say you don’t know your purpose again.

Your purpose is always to help others in whatever way you can in this present moment.

the purpose equation

April 17th, 2012   |   Life

Over and over I’m finding myself getting feisty about the confusion and stress surrounding the idea of purpose.

Really, it can all be boiled down to this equation.


Your talents and how you help people can change through the years.

But the outcome will always be the same.


A few people have mentioned over email or Twitter that they spotted my recent feature in the May issue of Woman’s Day Magazine.

And thanks to Michelle, I now have a copy  of it myself!

On page 66 you’ll see this mug staring back at you. Don’t worry, I had hair and makeup for this shoot. So that ain’t the way my hair looks when I wake up.

What can I say? Just keepin’ it real.

Anyways, I’m honored to be asked by WD to share how I organize and decorate with my accessories. It was quite a fun day of shooting and it was fun to share my easy (and cheap) decorating tricks.

Luckily, the feature is also on Woman’s Day online as well. So feel free to hop over and see my tips for storing and showing off accessories.

two ways to add hot pink to your home

April 16th, 2012   |   Life


Considering the extreme popularity of our Be Present prints, it’s clear: neon pink is popping in the home world.

Here are two ways I’ve incorporated the color in my own home… without hearing a word of protest from Mr. Lively.


(My tulips are $5.99 from Trader Joe’s and the swans were snagged at The Brown Elephant for $3 each.)

“you’re still carrying that woman”

April 16th, 2012   |   Life

Two travelling monks reached a ford in a river where they met a young lady of the night.  Wary of the current, she asked if they could carry her across.  One of the monks hesitated, but the other quickly picked her up onto his shoulders.  Together the monks strode through the river until they reached the other side.  The monk set the prostitute down on the other bank. She thanked him and continued her journey.

As the monks continued on their way, one was brooding and preoccupied.  Unable to hold his silence, he spoke with anger.  “Brother, our spiritual training teaches us to avoid any contact with women – let alone that sort of woman – but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!”

“Brother,” the second monk replied, “I set her down on the other side, while you are still carrying her.”


Several years ago I heard this story and it’s stuck with me ever since.

Now, whenever Mr. Lively or I are unable to let go of something that happened earlier in the day or at work, we remind each other to “put down the woman.”

There is no use in carrying her further than necessary.


excerpt via

negative comments

April 13th, 2012   |   Life

Today an MML reader and fashion blogger received a negative comment on her blog. The gist of it was that the reader was unhappy with the blogger’s new direction and wanted her to go back to her previous ways.

In responding to the email, I thought it was universal enough to share here on MML. Hopefully this will be useful for those who also have or may in the future, encounter negative comments on their blogs.

(I received permission to share my email and have changed the names of the people involved.)

Hi Lauren, 

Thanks so much for reaching out!

And also thank you for explaining your situation so well. I can imagine that you are feeling hurt, stung, and exposed. I’ve had a negative comment or two like that myself, and been really hurt as well.

So, first off, you are allowed to hurt for a bit. It’s okay. (Sometimes brushing it off too quickly does as much harm as wallowing in it.)

As far as your next action goes: it is your blog and you can do whatever you like with that comment. 

Delete it, write about it, ignore it, or say a prayer about it. It is all up to you.

There is no wrong or right answer here, so whatever your gut feels most comfortable with is the action to take. Since the person didn’t leave her email or any way to connect with her, it’s even more up to you to do whatever you like since there is no way to take it further than commenting in the comment section or writing a post about it.

As far as what to think about this in general:

I took a look at you blog and saw that your style and brands are pretty consistent from the January archive (the oldest I could find) to today. So my guess is that the person may be a reader from your personal blog in the past? And that the style or clothes you wear now from then has changed a bit?

Either way, it doesn’t matter. But what I think may have happened is that she used to relate to your style and the brands you wore and now she cannot. She probably looked up to you or appreciated your style in some way before and now feels like she can’t connect as deeply.

This is okay and totally fine.

But in her mind, she has two choices to make: she can either be excited for your success and evolution and use your newer style as inspiration for her own wardrobe. Or, she can get jealous and feel like she is “less than” now that she can no longer resonate with your outfits personally.

You used to be equals with her, and now you’ve pulled ahead.

To be honest, I personally am a bit envious of your closet! I myself do not have many items from nice brands like you have, and would love to one day have that ability. And because of that, I think of you as in an inspiration and someone I can think of as “like me, and I might be able to have a similar wardrobe one day, too.”

But there is also that ego-y, yucky side of our brains that wants to be jealous and catty. That wants what the other person has so much that the only way they can deal with that envy is to hate on the other person in order to feel okay again.

It seems Tamara is either in that negative ego-y place or she’s genuinely trying to give her feedback: she’d like more low priced items in your outfits so she can own the same things you have.

And this is again, where the choice is yours. You can either continue to wear exactly what you love and have been wearing and grow with all of the people who love your current style and leave the haters behind. Or, you can choose to take the (mean) advice and use it constructively and work in some budget finds that look just as great as the other more expensive clothes.

Personally, I think that editorial decision comes down to what you want your consulting and styling services to be about: do you want to have high end clients that aren’t interested in budget buys? Then keep it just as it is. Or, do you want to make budget buys a part of your styling client profile as well? Then, you might want to work in a series or some items in your outfits that are “under $100″ or something like that.

Phew! Okay, I’m guessing you didn’t expect all that, but I guess I had a lot to say on the subject! My hope is that you are now feeling better, but I’ve also given you some real, honest advice that can help you move forward with your brand and blog in an even better way.

: )

Have a great weekend,


this week i’m thankful for

April 13th, 2012   |   Life

Whoa. What a week.

It’s strange, the weeks where I do the most things actually seem to be the shortest. I suppose that’s because I have less time to sit down and get bored.*

Anyways, above you’ll see some of the highlights from my week including thrifting with Kim last weekend at the Brown Elephant. My finds included swans I painted hot pink and a wooden turtle who is now gold brass and belongs to Mr. Lively. I also got some of the goodies for the BwI Workshops as well.

This weekend I’m going to be downloading my business brain into the course material for the BwI Workshops. So it will be a work/play balance for me the next few days.

I hope you have a great weekend with a chance to relax and get bored* just a little!

And of course, thank you for reading MML this week!


*Side note: I’m a firm believer in getting bored every now and then to help appreciate the busy times. Which is why I love email free nights and weekends.


future me

April 12th, 2012   |   Business AdviceLifeThink About It

Lately, I’ve been working longer hours than ever before, but stressing less.

How you might ask?

That’s because Future Jess is working overtime.

Yep, that’s right. I’ve cloned myself and the second Jess is living somewhere off in the future working hard for Jess LC and my personal life.

My Future Jess is pretty awesome, she doesn’t get worried or anxious and her hair is always perfectly smooth and soft. (She has shiny white teeth, too.)

Because of Future Jess, whenever I come across a problem or decision that needs to be made, I simply leave it on Future Jess’ to-do list.

Q: When am I going to find my westie puppy?

A: Future Jess will figure it out closer to May when that becomes a more important possibility. 

Q: What should I do with the remaining stock we have left when collection is finished?

A: Future Jess will figure that out once we get to that point. 

Q: Who is going to intern for Jess LC once our summer interns have gone back to school?

A: Future Jess will find some great girls to help out in the shop in the next few months.

Q: How am I going to balance the workshop travel, Jess LC, MML, and writing an e-book this summer?

A: Future Jess will decide what is best once July comes around.

Q: Where am I going to live July 1st?

A: Future Jess is going to take a look at the options on the market with Future Mr. Lively in May when July leases start popping up.

You see? Future Jess has a lot of work on her hands while I enjoy this present moment and the macaroni and cheese I’m about to eat for lunch.


Yesterday I read Words of Williams post about How a Baby Affects our Marriage and I thought to myself; dang, I wish I wrote that.

Because you know what? I think sharing that post is the most helpful thing I can do for you today.

Since I don’t have a marriage or baby, I  obviously cannot write on the subject. But for anyone in that situation, or like me, might be there a few years from now:

Eric’s post is really good.


photo via

incrementally better

April 10th, 2012   |   LifeThink About It

Sometimes I need to be reminded of my own lessons that I share here on MML.

Today was a great example. As I was running around trying to finish what felt like a million projects across MML, Jess LC, and BwI Workshops, I stopped for a moment to check my Twitter on the bus. What I found was MotorCityMoxie’s tweet staring me in the face.

My own words greeted me and said, “hey, why don’t you follow your own advice?

So I cut myself some slack. I’ve decided to accept my own limitations as I move forward with more on my plate than ever before. I don’t have to be a pro at the juggle just yet. I can just get better day by day and let that be enough.

Thanks for the reminder, Monique.

As usual, we have some upcoming Business in the City dates planned out over the next few months.

Anyone is welcome and feel free to bring a friend. This one and a half hour meet up is a low-key way to meet full-time and part-time business owners or those with business ideas. We spend our time asking each other business questions and helping one another by sharing our own experiences and successes.

This event is free to attend and light snacks and drinks are provided by Next Door.



Next Door, 659 W. Diversey

MAY, 16TH 


Next Door, 659 W. Diversey



Next Door, 659 W. Diversey

 Hope to see you there!

inauthentic intentions

April 9th, 2012   |   LifeStyleThink About It

When designing a life with intention, the first step is creating a vision for your life. But be careful, if you don’t take this step seriously and do it with authenticity, you could end up miserable (and annoying to be around).

I should know. I made this mistake myself last summer.

You see, I have always been good at creating a vision for my life and then designing my life around it. I’ve been doing it since I was a junior in college after reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and discovering my purpose.

However, last year I found myself in a situation where I was content and satisfied with the direction of my life, yet I was told that I wasn’t dreaming big enough.

So I took this advice to heart and decided that I really needed to amp up my vision, to super charge it.

I needed to make it really special impressive.

What followed was an intense few days where I “dreamed bigger and further into the future than I ever had before.”

After it was all over, to be honest I did not walk away with an inspiring vision that I could use to push myself further and find even greater joy (which was the whole point).

I walked away with a rigid perfect standard with which I measured my current life and relationships against.

Instead of holding my vision with open hands, letting it evolve and grow, I had a death grip on my life. I did everything I could to make my life look exactly like my vision.

And you know what?

I ended up miserable in front of this beautiful home on Mackinac Island with a really bad hair color.* 

Sure, I don’t look miserable in that photo. But inside, I was desperate, scared, and mean.

In my turbo-charged vision of my life I had a beautiful mansion that looked exactly like the one in the photo in the exact area of the country that I wanted to live in (outside San Fran) with sandy blond hair.

So by taking this photo I was trying to make my vision that much more likely to happen.

I was desperate to have that vision come true in my life. From the exact color of my house to the exact brass knobs I’d have on my kitchen cabinets. All of it was extremely important and had to come true.

Failure to achieve any of it was not an option in my mind.

Which of course, made me scared.

Because let’s be honest, when you have 1,001 things decided in your mind, there is a good chance that most of them might not come true. And if they all didn’t come true, then I would be failing at my vision life.

This fear of course led me to be mean and demanding. I had a laundry list of attributes I wanted in all of my stuff and my relationships. And heaven forbid if Mr. Lively didn’t stack up to each and every one of them too.

Ugh. I hate just thinking about how I acted for those few miserable months.

However, I am happy to report that eventually my house of intentional cards imploded on itself in a firestorm of frustration and anxiety.

After feeling terrible for about three months, I finally abandoned the grandiose life vision in favor of peace.

I dropped all the illusions and lived intention free for a few months to decompress.

It was a slow, but glorious process.

Now, I have slowly gone back to creating a vision for my life but it is much more focused on who I am, what brings me joy, and how I want to live that also brings me peace and excitement for the future.

I don’t know what my future will hold exactly. But I have some ideas and suggestions, not rules and regulations.

So the next time you start creating a vision for yourself, look inward. Don’t let society, friends, family, blogs, or fortune cookies tell you what you should seek.

After all, you might end up like I did: too blond and pining after someone else’s summer home.



* Don’t believe me on the hair color? Take a look and judge for yourself.

Words to the wise: Just because you have a vision or intention to look awesome with blond highlights doesn’t mean that you will.

this week i’m thankful for

April 6th, 2012   |   LifeStyle

This week I’m thankful for a lot, but the launch of our Wells intentional prints has to be at the top! The response to the prints has been overwhelmingly positive and I’m so thankful that so many people are picking these up for their homes here in Chicago, across the country, and in Australia (one of our most popular customer bases)!

In case you are wondering, I have my own Wells print in my living room too. Though it didn’t make the cut for the lookbook, I think it looks pretty dapper in my living room.

Also, I’m loving how my friend Kim, of Yellow Brick Home, styled her Just Keep Going print in her hallway over chalkboard paint.

Tomorrow Kim and I are going thrifting to find and spray paint ceramic animals neon colors. I can’t wait.

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

I’ve been working from my home or in a studio apartment for the five years ever since graduating from college and taking Jess LC full-time.

Over those years, I’ve grown to love working from home more and more. I love being able to spend time in a place that I love so much. And though working from home isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, more and more people are doing the same.

One of the best things about being self-employed, and working from home too, is that you get to make the rules for your business. As I’ve mentioned before many times, if I don’t like my job, I can only blame myself. Because I make the decisions and have the power to change my short or long term strategy.

Some of the habits I’ve created for my own work from home culture include getting fully dressed everyday, and working consistently from 9:30am to 5:30 or 6:30pm. After that, barring anything super duper important and urgent, I’m off on nights and weekends.

I have been doing this for five years and I’m going to be doing this for the rest of the foreseeable future. So I have set an intention to pace myself to avoid burnout. Which means my personal life has a schedule devoted to it, just like my business.

On the other hand, you’ll find me weekdays during business hours at my desk or working in some capacity. Though I do sometimes take a lunch with Mr. Lively downtown after a meeting or grab groceries on the way home from the bank.

Last Friday, however, after a very long and draining week, I had very little energy and motivation to do any work whatsoever. But with everything on my plate, taking the day off wasn’t really a good option.

So I decided to shake up my working routine and think of ways that I could get work done which didn’t make me feel like I was working.

Here’s a few ideas I came up with that other Work From Homers might find helpful too:

Turn on the TV.

Though I don’t have it on during workdays, when I really didn’t feel like working, the white noise and energy from the Food Network gave me a bit more pep, and made it feel like a special treat.

Work in another room.

As I mentioned, I usually work at my desk, but I also could work on the small couch in my bedroom. Because when the weather is crummy, going to a coffee shop to work doesn’t always seem that appealing.

Wear a weekend outfit (or pjs).

Again, normally I put on an outfit that is comfortable and cute (jeans, flats, and blouses mostly). But when I really didn’t feel like working sticking to jeans and a t-shirt without makeup was a nice change of pace.

Mix up the activities.

Instead of working straight through the day, I broke it up by doing a few fun things I enjoy (aka: painted my nails) in between the work oriented activities.

… And when all else fails, call a friend or go to happy hour.

By the late afternoon I had very little energy to put towards anything else. So I called it a day and talked with a friend on the phone. After that, it was time to head out and hang out with the corporate crowd for happy hour. Though it meant that I did a bit of work over the weekend instead, it was nice to end early.

april’s free wallpaper

April 4th, 2012   |   Life

download the full-size white wallpaper

Now that April is here, it’s time for a new free MML wallpaper! This month I thought about quotes or sayings. But nothing seemed to stick.

Then, I took a look at what I have to accomplish in my own life in April (subletting my apartment, prepping and holding our first Business with Intention Workshop, launching Wells, preparing our next two collections in development, and running MML) and realized that this is one busy month.

So with that in mind, I decided the phrase “do it well and get it done” was really what I personally need to keep in mind – and I’m guessing I’m not the only one.

download the full-size floral wallpaper

And of course, I’ve lately been making a bolder wallpaper for those who like a bit more color on their screen.



One of the biggest things I’d like people to take away from MML is the belief that it is totally freaking okay (and normal) if you don’t know your purpose yet.

I feel like there is a sense out there that there is something wrong – especially for those in their early 20′s – if people aren’t crystal clear on their life purpose.

To be honest, sometimes I want to scream,

“It’s not that big of a deal!”

Because you know what? It’s not.

It make absolutely no difference whether you know your purpose or if you haven’t the foggiest idea.

That is totally fine.

Because from all of my own understanding of my purpose and the purposes of those around me, the truth is that life purpose is much larger (and simpler) than a career, service, or transaction.

Life purpose at it’s core is about extending love, care, and concern for others in a way that capitalizes on our unique talents and gifts. 

That’s it.

But so often people make life purpose another word for their “career,” “job,” “business,” or other money making device. Or heck, even a volunteer or non-profit venture.

That is so not true.

Careers, jobs, charities, and inventions are the tools and channels with which we help other humans improve their lives. That is all.

The juice inside the Gusher of life purpose is the love and energy we expend helping improve other people’s lives.

So that means it makes no difference whether we know what our purpose is yet. We can still take whatever situation we are in this very moment, and transform it into part of our purpose by making sure that we are helping those around us live a better life.

We can do that in a crummy job, while in college, while staying at home with a baby, or while sitting on the bus next to a stranger.

Over time, as we help others throughout our lives we might discover – by accident even – that we are really, really good at helping people when we do x, y, or z.

Then, we can take that feedback and go a little further in that direction. And over time we might just find that we feel deeply compelled to help people in one way, or in several different ways, throughout our lifetime.

The point is that we can always be living our life purpose no matter what we are “doing” at the time.

The rest will come when we keep an open mind and heart.

Can I get an Amen?

Hopefully, some people are feeling more relaxed about their purpose search now.

(Or at least pretend to.)

And last but not least, as the title of this post promised, I wrote a column about three things to do while you are searching for your life purpose over on The Everygirl.


I love you and you will discover your purpose in time.

Let it be shown to you.


introducing the Jess LC wells collection

April 3rd, 2012   |   Life

Once upon a time there was a collection named Franklin at Jess LC. This braille necklace series had intentions that were loved by many people. Eventually the cost for these pieces rose too high and needed to be retired. But all was not lost.

Meet Wells.

Over the several months I have been reinterpreting Franklin in a new and exciting way. By collaborating with the amazingly talented Morgan and Carrie of Ampersand Design Studio, we have brought back the spirit of Franklin, and now have Jess LC for the home.

It was a treat to do this project with Morgan and Carrie. Not only do our design styles work well together (we all have a love of gold, graphics, and neon pink), but they are simply delightful people as well. I’m also proud to say that the prints are produced in Kansas City on poster-weight paper with gold, neon, and one-of-a-kind inks.

Below you’ll see Franklin’s most popular intentions taken in a whole new direction.

And thanks to the my recent motto battle cry, we have a newcomer as well.

Meet Just Keep Going.

I decided to make the prints large, 16″ wide x 20″ tall, so their scale can make a statement alone or on a gallery wall. But they are also a standard size which will work with most high and low end frames (aka: you can get a frame custom made or you can find frames that work at most craft stores).

For the lookbook, I knew that I wanted to let the prints speak for themselves in the lives and homes of other people. Though I could have styled a shoot all by myself, I thought it was much more dynamic and interesting to let other interior design fanatics like myself share their visions for these prints.

And I couldn’t be more blown away by the results. These are just a few of the photos from the lookbook (hop over to see the full lookbook).

I’d like to thank the following ladies for participating in the lookbook and styling process, they are incredible women with ambition and style that inspires me everyday.

(In order of lookbook appearance)

Erika Brechtel, Small Shop Studio

Danielle Moss, The Everygirl and Breakfast at Toast

Carrie Kiefer, Ampersand Design Studio

Liz Schneider, Sequins and Stripes

Alaina Kaczmarksi, The Everygirl and Live Creating Yourself

Bryn Dunn, Bryn Alexandra

Mackenzie Horan, Design Darling

Morgan Georgie, Ampersand Design Studio

And last but certainly not least, I would like to thank Zoe, our Jess LC intern and lookbook coordinator for making this all possible!

Hop over to check out the lookbook and Wells prints.



photos via Erika, Morgan, Carrie, Alaina, and Bryn 


As we roll into April, I’m getting the word out about the upcoming Chicago and DC Business with Intention Workshops. I am excited to say that though the workshops are filling up, there is still room in both cities to attend!

This week I’m starting a three-part email series called Three Things I Wish I Knew. As you may know, I started my business from scratch when I was fifteen without a clue, and have “trialed and errored” my way to success. Throughout the thirteen years I’ve been doing this I have learned a lot about what works and what is a waste of time and money. With that in mind, I’ll be sharing three of the biggest things I wish I knew, ten years ago and last month, in the series.

In a sense, I will be downloading my business brain and heart into the day long workshop so people can find profit and meaning in their businesses much quicker than I did.

This email series will do two things: it will give you a flavor of the actual workshop content and why you might like to come, and also help your business right now.

The emails will be sent out on this Thursday, next Monday, and next Wednesday.

The First Thing I Wish I Knew will be: How (and when) to delegate and take on help for your business.

Sign up for the Three Things I wish I Knew email series.



If you or anyone you know might be a good fit for the workshop but aren’t sure if it’s a great fit for you, I’d be happy to jump on a call with you and discuss one-on-one whether the workshop would be beneficial.

To do so, please email me at hello(at)businesswithintention.com and let me know about your business and your phone number. I’ll follow up with a quick phone call this week!

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.)

Want to sponsor The Lively Show?

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

Want to submit yourself or someone else as a guest for The Lively Show?

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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