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i said yes

May 31st, 2012   |   LifeOur Wedding

In case you were wondering,

The Luckiest Man on Earth

May 30th, 2012   |   LifeOur Wedding

Dear Jess,

If you are reading this you have made me luckiest man on earth. Everyday we have been together you have given me a radiant smile and unending enthusiasm that I wouldn’t trade for anything, and you have chosen to give it to me the rest of our lives. After our first brunch I told my friend you had ‘more energy than I knew what do with,’ but now I know exactly what to do.

I know to be as present as possible because it will allow me to cherish our time together. I know that learning about myself and growing into the world is exponentially more rewarding when I do it with you, and I know to stay committed to it. I know that your energy is meant to be given back to the world and together we can give more. Most of all I know your energy and enthusiasm is your greatest gift and it is something I will always protect, admire, and be thankful for.

Jessica Constable you are the love of my life and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us.

 

-mr lively

be brave poster giveaway

May 30th, 2012   |   Life

 

Big news! The Things I’m Afraid to Tell You movement which started as a simple post and spread by Ez, has landed on the pages of The Huffington Post.

I’d like to applaud everyone who has pushed themselves to be more honest online. I hope that going forward people feel more comfortable being real outside of this series too.

In honor of the movement, I’m excited to give away a Jess LC Be Brave print. It seems fitting to honor the series with this intention since courage is definitely required to really push past boundaries and share our less-than-perfect sides.

Giveaway Details

To enter to win the print, please comment on this post sharing one thing that you have been afraid to tell people – which you haven’t shared online yet. And if you have done a Things I’m Afraid to Tell You post on your own blog, by all means, feel free to link to that as well!

Comments will close June 6th and a winner will be randomly selected on June 7th. 

 

 

 

Tomorrow a juicy Wish I Knew Wednesday email is going out. It’s all about when to drop a popular product. As usual, I’m going to use Jess LC as my case study.

I’ll be sharing my decision making process which led to my choice to stop producing new iPad covers, despite their popularity.

If you’d like to get the email, simply sign up by clicking on the image below. This email list is also where I announce upcoming Workshops and other BWI updates.

(If you have signed up for the BWI newsletter, you will automatically get this series.)

Early Registration Deadline Approaching

Also, there are just three more days left to get the early registration discount for our New York Workshop! You can register here!

overwhelm

May 29th, 2012   |   LifeThink About It

To be honest, part of me feels like complaining to you today. Part of me wants to tell you about all the things I have on my plate, how much I have to do in such a little time, and how anxious I feel because of it.

I really do want to lay it all out there and have a pity party.

But the truth is that I work for myself and I am a proactive person. So I have therefore chosen everything on my plate and I don’t have much ground to stand on. I’ve created my schedule or said yes to things that are happening.

My schedule didn’t fill up at gun point.

I allowed it.

So as I am working to process all that I have to do in such little time, I’m turning to a few key things that have helped me in the past. And if anyone else is feeling similarly stressed, I highly recommend trying some of the same things.

First, I am going to do some worry flashcards. These are great to help me dump my brain out, shake out the dead stuff, pray about the stuff I don’t have control over, and get to work on the things I can do.

Then, I’m going to re-read Turning Want To’s into Have To’s. That’s the mindset I need to have going forward. No whining allowed.

After that, I will be crafting a prioritized to-do list to get my weekly and daily tasks in order.

Anything that doesn’t make it on these lists will be left up to Future Jess.

 

Phew. I feel (a little bit) better already. I hope you have a great day!

 

keeping it real: katie of gadanke

May 28th, 2012   |   Life

 

Happy Memorial Day! Today I have a new Keeping It Real post by Katie of Gadanke and Making This Home. Enjoy!

I’m building two dreams at once: a home and a business.

After a long day of hanging sheetrock or installing bamboo flooring at our future home in an old airplane hangar, I come home. I’m exhausted. I make dinner for my equally exhausted husband and myself, shower, and start my second responsibility – running my online business.

I like to think that my office (which is currently in our bedroom) is always organized and streamlined like the photo above.

But that’s not always the case.

One night, when organization was at its worst and a burst of journal orders were pouring in, our bedroom resembled an archaeological dig; I had stacks of artifacts surrounding the spot where I built some of my best selling writing prompt journals.

My husband entered the room with the camera.

“Don’t take a picture!” I pleaded. “Look at this place!”

“That’s exactly why I’m taking a picture,” he said, tweaking the camera’s settings. “Your journal business is all about helping women celebrate their stories. Wouldn’t it be good to capture this part of our story? You know… be true to yourself.”

He was right. I looked at the explosion around me and laughed. My gosh, I realized I was completely trapped! I exhaled. Then I really smiled. I could feel it filling my entire self.

The piles around me that night are a symbol of progress and good things to come. They are, after all, a part of my current story. I don’t have time to declutter and organize like I used to. My writing prompt journals have become so popular that I need a big studio in the hangar to handle them all. How could I complain?

Like Jess always says, you have to design a life with intention. It’s just that sometimes the process isn’t pretty!

this week i’m thankful for

May 25th, 2012   |   Life

Today myself, Mr. Lively, and friends are off to camping in Wisconsin! I haven’t been camping since my Girl Scout days, so this should be fun (and interesting).

This week had a lot of highlights. On Wednesday Mr. Lively and I were able to see a sample of the finishes for the new apartment we are moving into this fall. I was thrilled to find out that we have a beautiful seafoam countertops. So thankful!

We also decided on getting a boy dog (much to Mr. Lively’s delight) when we move. Though I won’t reveal the name just yet, I will say that he will be named after my favorite historical figure.

Have a great Memorial Weekend and thanks for reading MML!

 

closing ceremony

May 24th, 2012   |   LifeThink About It

 

Last week I shared about how ruminating on the same problems in my life kept me stuck for much longer than needed.

And in the comment section Jacqueline asked exactly what I had done to stop making the problems bother me.

Though I responded with a few things that helped me, I didn’t share the biggest one.

I had a closing ceremony.

If my memory serves me, I think got the idea to hold a closing ceremony from Eat, Pray, Love. From my foggy recollection of the book, I believe Elizabeth Gilbert at one point in India held a closing ritual for her newly ended marriage.

Her premise was that we celebrate so many beginnings in our lives, but endings of sad events beyond funerals aren’t often given much thought. We are expected to grieve and move on.

At the time when I was in college, I was going through counseling and really struggling to let go of a lot of fear, anger, and hurt. Over time those feelings regarding something private in my life became part of my identity and I couldn’t let them go. They just stuck around on my shoulders haunting me, keeping me “stuck.”

So one night years later I finally realized I didn’t want to be sitting with that same problem for the rest of my life. And in order to signify the healing that I had gone through by a lot of prayer, writing, and reflection, I held a closing ceremony.

One one side of a lined piece of paper I wrote down the story of the pain, feelings, and events that happened. I poured all the negative events and associations that I had with this aspect of my life.

And on the other side of the paper I wrote down one good thing that came out of the bad situation on each line of the paper. So by the end, there were about 40 good things written on the backside of the negative story.

Then, I cut the paper line by line, until I had the 40 things that were good on 40 thin strips of paper.

After that I read aloud each good thing that happened, keeping the pain from the negative story still in mind, and burned the paper strips in a candle. By reading the 40 things aloud and then burning them one by one I allowed myself to feel the pain of the situation but also remember the good things that came out of it as well. Though I’m not happy for the situation, I became stronger, more compassionate, more aware.

I found my purpose.

Though the situation was not good, many good things did come about. And by the end of my ceremony I knew that whenever my ego wanted to have a pity party about that part of my life again, I could stop myself from going around that mountain and remind myself that no matter what, 40 good things came out of that situation.

For that, I was thankful.

And so I encourage anyone struggling to lay down a skeleton, when they are ready, to hold a closing ceremony of their own.

 

Over the past few weeks I’ve been sharing my life intentions. For me, this is one of the foundational aspects of designing a life with intention. When people ask me how to live intentionally, I usually go back to this core concept.

There is a good chance if we don’t consciously choose the direction we want our lives to head, life will end up taking us in a different direction. And if we aren’t careful, we can find ourselves climbing a ladder leaning against one building; wishing we had climbed a different ladder on a different building (thanks, Mr. Covey).

Deciding what intentions I want to have for my life is the way I create the lifestyle I want to live. None of my intentions are extremely “big goal” oriented. Each one is focused on my daily habits, actions, and choices.

I leave my “big goal” thinking to my Future Letters.

In case you are interested in the first four intentions, can find them here:

Work in a balanced way

Am in a committed relationship

Listen to and honor my body

Connect to my spirit

Okay, now it’s time to wrap it up with how I’ve designed my life to help other people.

The urge to help other people is pretty self-explanatory. It’s part of the purpose equation and has a big place in my understanding of my own life’s meaning.

I am meant to help people design lives with intention. And this aspect of my principals highlights this aim.

For me to help people daily, I spend my time helping friends with difficult situations when they need it. I also try to help Mr. Lively (perhaps too much, at times). So I’m learning to keep this intention in check in our relationship.

I also of course, spend my time writing daily here on MML! It is the first thing beyond email reading that I usually do for work. I love coming here, hoping to serve.

In addition, I am now consulting and holding our BWI workshops which are immensely rewarding. I feel so “in the zone” when I’m helping people with their businesses. It’s a true blessing and gift I am so incredibly thankful for.

And even Jess LC helps people as well. I love that the prints we design inspire people to be brave. Or that our jewelry can be a part of a wedding for a new bride. What’s more, I love the ability to teach our interns how to run a small business.

So there you have it. People often ask me “how I do what I do” and the honest truth is that I think a lot about what I want my life to be like. And then I design my life around that vision or intention. 

It’s a slow, stumbling process. Sometimes changes take years to really sink in. Sometimes I question everything and go in a new direction. Sometimes I feel lost. But then I listen to my gut and do the best that I can.

It’s not easy, but it’s always worth it.

the workshop video

May 22nd, 2012   |   Business With IntentionLife

During our first Chicago workshop we also were doing double duty by filming a video about the workshop. I’m beyond thrilled with the results brought to us by Dan Hale, Michael Lippert, and filmed by Derek Cox.

Also, the New York early registration discount is only good for one more week, so register soon to snag the extra savings!

Or, if you are interested in coming to a workshop but want to talk to me quickly on the phone first, please email me at hello@businesswithintention.com.

Today it’s time to announce the second Wish I Knew Wednesday topic: why I retracted my web design contest from last week one day after I launched it.

I know I’ve mentioned that this business advice series would have takeaways from all 13 years of business experience – including things that I may have learned “just last week.” But I didn’t think I’d be sharing such a recent business lesson already!

But hey, that’s beauty of practicing what you teach.

If you’d like to get the email, simply sign up by clicking on the image below. This email list is also where I announce upcoming Workshops and other BWI updates.

(If you have signed up for the BWI newsletter, you will automatically get this series.)

Today I’d like to return to my intentions for my life. Over the past few weeks I’ve covered how I work in a balanced way, am in a committed relationship, and listen to and honor my body.

Now, it’s time to share my intention for connecting with my spirit in my everyday life.

To be honest, though I was raised Catholic, spirituality was never a big deal in my life. Sure, I had a lot of ‘religious’ beliefs back when I was younger. But after going through what  I can only call a quarter-life crisis (lame, but true) in college, I emerged without a religious affiliation, but rather a curiosity about what might be possible.

Once I started Jess LC full-time after college, I recognized quickly that there was absolutely no way of ‘knowing’ that my business was going to succeed week to week. Budgeting was a nauseating roller coaster of highs and lows for the first few years.

And the only thing that got me through that time was the faith that it was meant to work and that I was meant to help people design lives with intention.

My faith that it was possible to succeed in business over time became a spiritual journey.

There was no boss to tell me what the “right” thing to do with my business was at any given time. And there still isn’t someone in charge of me today calling the shots.

I’ve learned that by looking within and reflecting on my spiritual beliefs, I’ve found a sense of intuition and direction that always points north. It has helped me take detours, big risks, and persevere through tough times.

Then, a few years ago during a breakup with a boyfriend my spirituality took an even bigger role in my life. After living together for three years, we decided that we needed to go our separate ways… in six months once our shared lease ended.

Yep, I stayed in a relationship with someone while knowing that we were going to break up the day our lease ended, half a year later.

Being happy in that phase of my life involved an insane amount of prayer and self-reflection.

During that season spirituality wasn’t just something that I “thought” about sometimes.

It became my lifeline. 

Since that period of my life, I have grown an extreme appreciation for God/Life/the Universe/whatever you’d like to call it.

To help myself stay connected to my spirit daily now, I start my weekdays by reading some pages from a spiritual text (this can be Christian, Buddhist, you name it). Then, I spend five or ten minutes in a hybrid of meditation and prayer while sitting on the floor.

Later in the morning as I get dressed, I turn on Enjoying Everyday Life with Joyce Meyer. Though I am not Christian and I don’t believe in many of the same things as Joyce, I find a tremendous amount of wisdom from her teachings. I know that she has helped me be a better person. And for that, I am deeply thankful.

So there you have it. Now you are caught up on how spirituality has directed my life as well as what I do daily to continue to grow in this way.

I have to say, though all of my intentions for my life are important, I think this one enables me to succeed in the other intentions.

 

this week i’m thankful for

May 18th, 2012   |   Life

As you can see, while we were in DC last weekend besides the workshop itself, we ate our way through the city. Far and away one of the best seafood places ever was Hank’s Oyster Bar. At Clara’s suggestion Mr. Lively and I headed there for a date night and had an amazing lobster roll.

In other news, I’ve decided to go in a new direction with the Jess LC homepage. I’ll explain more about that decision next week.

And last but not least, I have to share some new additions to my home.

A few months ago I shared my morning routine and a very nice woman who represents J.R. Watkins noticed that I had their soap in my apartment (she had a crazy good eye). I’ve been buying their products for years because they are natural, affordable, and look like they are from Anthropologie, but can be found at Target.

She then asked if I’d like to try the new grapefruit line to see how I like the new scent. (!!!) Right now I’m totally digging the All Purpose Cleaner and the Body Oil Mist, both of which I had never tried before.

 

Thank you so much for reading MML and have a great weekend!

Yesterday I talked with a good friend who had just received bad news. One of her big clients decided to pull a contract they had just approved and her work and cash flow for the next few months was going to be deeply affected.

So while we were talking about all the possible good things that could come of the situation, I suggested that she try something that I heard about on a business show (that has sadly been cancelled), during the early part of the recession in 2008.

In the show, a wise man (can’t remember who) said that business owners should all write an article from the perspective of 2012 about how we became huge successes in our industries.

Doing this exercise, he said, would help us step out of our self-pity about the challenges we faced with the economy. It forced us to look at what we could do during the next four years that would positively impact our businesses and could lead to success despite the difficult circumstances.

So yesterday, I offered up the same advice to my friend. I asked her to take some time to write a letter to herself from the perspective of December, 2012 about how this year was a huge success because this client dropped the contract.

I asked her to share in the article what steps she took to find new clients that were also her ideal clients, and how she used this new free time to direct her business to even more fulfilling success.

Basically, I wanted to see if we could find a way to look at this “no” as something that was actually really good news in the long run.

And of course it goes without saying that we can all do this kind of exercise in any aspect of our career or personal life. Because no matter how tough things may seem at the time, the way to get out of the ditch is to imagine a better future outcome and then determine the steps that we need to take to get there.

It won’t always be easy to implement, but it will get us “off our buts” and start moving forward.

 

 

** Why the pig photo, you ask? It’s Chorizo, a mini three-legged good luck pig that sits on Mr. Lively’s desk at work.

 

Update 5/17/12: I have decided to go in a new direction and this is no longer open for submissions. Thanks so much!

going around that mountain

May 16th, 2012   |   LifeThink About It

The other day as I was crossing the street on Clark and Diversey, I realized that my mind was occupied with thoughts about our new workshops, balancing Jess LC, and MML.

And I did a little cheer inside.

You see, for years I spend my time dwelling on what I had to overcome as a kid, what I needed to do to “fix” my body, or how to have the “right” relationship.

I had carried those things, though substantial struggles in my life, far longer than I ever needed to. It was like I had a heavy load of struggles, injustices, or imperfections that I packed in a heavy sack on my back.

And then I spent months, even years, walking around the same mountains ruminating on the same things.

Rather than actually getting me anywhere worthwhile, I stayed stuck moving forward in a circle around the same “woe is me” or “what’s wrong with me” attitudes. Over time, that sack of burdens became part of my identity and story. If I met people and wanted to share my life, I’d unpack my sack and lay it out for them to see.

And though I think there was a good aspect of healing in that part of my life, I think I kept that sack fuller than necessary for much longer than needed.

I remember so clearly a few wake up calls that struck me upside the head and helped me recognize that I could put down the drama and move on.

The first one was a few months after moving to Chicago. After having a long heart to heart with my older cousin, he mentioned that his dad once told him that he had to “stop holding his parents accountable for all the messed up stuff in his life and just move the hell on.” And though that specific scenario wasn’t an exact depiction of some of my “stuff,” it did point out that as much as I might have overcome stuff in my life, I couldn’t keep harping on it and blaming my past for my future.

The second wake up call came from Geneen Roth, author of Women, Food, and God. A few years ago she was on the Oprah Show and mentioned that she one day realized that she didn’t want to gain and lose the same twenty pounds until she was 80 years old. She didn’t want to constantly be trying to manipulate her weight. She wanted to just one day be “okay.”

And man did that cause an explosion in my brain. Of course, I didn’t want to think about my body for the rest of my life! 

Anyways, I will say that these little light-bulb moments didn’t automatically make me walk away for the well worn mountain paths of self-pity and restriction that I had created. But they did point out the fact that I could blaze a new trail, away from the Problem Mountains.

Little by little I started to unpack that sack of issues, setting each one down on the ground with a prayer and the hope for something better.

And over time I’ve moved past the crap and started to live my life without the negative weight. Which has helped me climb new, bigger mountains full of positive purpose and meaning. But had I not unpacked that sack as much as possible, I wouldn’t have the mental health or physical strength to try new things.

So if anyone else is out there struggling with a sad pack, I hope you consider putting it down or seeking help so that you can lay those things to rest and move on towards the possibility that lies ahead.

 

PSBusiness in the City is tonight at Next Door in Chicago! 6:30-8:00. See you there!

 

As I am finding the balance of Business with Intention and MML, I realize there is a large overlap of readers who want intentional life and business advice. To make sure that I address both concepts, I am starting a new email series called I Wish I Knew Wednesday which will share something that I wish I knew back when I was starting Jess LC, or what I wish I knew just last week.

This email series technically falls under the Business with Intention umbrella, but I will also post the topic on Tuesdays here on MML so that those interested in getting the emails and seeing the content have a chance to sign up before the email goes out the following day.

Tomorrow’s topic is How to Find Manufacturers. This is something I’ve been working on for a few years now and I’ve accomplished in several different ways.

If you’d like to get the email, simply sign up by clicking on the image below. This email list is also where I announce upcoming Workshops and other BWI updates.

(If you have signed up for the BWI newsletter, you will automatically get this series.)

 

 

 

First off, I’d like to say that I had a great weekend in Washington DC with our BWI Workshop! I will have more photos and details to come later this week. I’m also taking today off as I have mentioned. But I wanted to drop by MML quickly and share a breakthrough I’ve had… just a few hours ago.

The Thing I’m Afraid to Tell You About Jess LC

As the Things I’m Afraid to Tell You movement continues to grow (Meg is doing a new wave of the series today), I’m taking this truth-telling to let go of something I’ve been ashamed of over at Jess LC.

Since last year I’ve been designing and creating iPad 2 and 3 covers. The color combinations and the overall design have been very popular, and I am so thankful for the success that it has been. As you all know I am a completely self-taught designer and I have only recently begun working with local manufacturers to create these new cases.

It has honestly been one of the most challenging projects of my thirteen year run in business. Designing accessories is not extremely challenging. But applying an accessory mindset to a decidedly tech product, is a balance that is extremely hard to reach – especially as a 27-year-old with no background or major resources like most out there producing most portfolio style iPad covers.

Our cases themselves have met every expectation that I personally had for my “dream iPad 2 case,” but they have not been everyone’s cup of tea. While we have had hundreds of satisfied, excited, and happy iPad case customers, we have also had more issues with this style than any other product we have ever designed combined. About 9% of people who purchase this case are not satisfied.

While that number still is pretty small considering the circumstances, it has been very hard on me personally. You see, I desperately want each and every case to be as perfect as possible for everyone. But reality is not perfect. And what’s more, even if it is perfect for most people, it is not perfect for all people.

So now that we’ve blown through our inventory of gold iPad case styles, I am now faced with a decision: Do I continue to make more for all those who are so excited about them? Or do I stop making them and avoid the disappointed customers?

It’s been a tough battle in my mind, let me tell you.

I would rather have a 1% customer service request rate which is consistent with our other products than the 9% that occurs with iPad cases.

But I also know that if I drop the cases, I am going to get tons of emails from people who really, really, really want us to keep making them.

So this morning I came to a conclusion: unlike the industry standard of sharing bullet point lists of the product details on the product page for this item, I am coming clean with the pros and cons of these cases right up front so customers can make a decision.

That’s right, all the good and bad points about the case are now front and center on each product page.

My hope is that by being this honest about the cases, customers who might be disappointed by certain aspects will know this ahead of time and not buy the case in the first place. Thereby lowering our overall customer service rate for the product.

And, for those who fully understand the case’s features, they will still be able to order and enjoy the colors and features they are so excited about.

While I realize that this much information might be a little to “TMI,” I think the peace of mind that I will feel about them is priceless.

My hope is that we have more informed customers who appreciate our efforts to provide the best case we possibly can, while still understanding the limitations of the product.

Phew. It’s now out there. It feels peaceful, freeing, and real.

Thank you all so very much for your support.

 

photo by

this week i’m thankful for…

May 11th, 2012   |   Life

Today Mr. Lively, Clara, and I are off to DC for our second BWI Workshop!

Thank you for reading MML and I hope you have a great weekend! I will be back next week!

 

I’m now on my third intention in my DESIGN MY LIFE, To Listen to and Honor My Body. Over the past few days I’ve also talked about my intention to Work in a More Balanced Way and To Be in a Committed Relationship.

Of course it goes without saying that these are my personal intentions and are in no way supposed to be seen as “advice.” They are simply the lessons and guiding principals for my life and I encourage everyone to reflect in their own lives on what works for them!

Listen to and honor my body

Whenever I thought about intentions for my life in the past, one of the first tasks that popped up was to eat and exercise “better.” But to be honest, all of that really was really just a masked way of saying that I wanted to be skinnier or lose weight.

I know I’ve linked back to these posts many times, but I really did struggle for nine years with extreme dieting and binge eating. It was a nasty mindset that ruled my thoughts more than anything else in my life.

Thankfully, I finally found my way out of that obsession and I’ve come to a much more peaceful and natural way of eating and working out. And the miraculous outcome has been that I’ve (very slowly) floated down to almost exactly my goal weight without having to stress, measure, dwell, or struggle.

For anyone else out there who might be caught in a similar struggle, I suggest reading Women, Food, and God by Geneen Roth. It was the gateway that led me to an immense amount of peace and understanding.

Anyways, back to my intentions.

Now that I’ve got a new relationship with food and working out, my new guiding principal is to listen to my body and eat what it wants to eat. But once I feel full, I don’t eat anymore.

In the same light, I workout a handful of times a week with a combination of running and lifting. It’s now become more about keeping my heart and body strong. And I recognize that my anxiety melts away with a good run, so it’s also become a mental health decision as well.

So to sum it all, up: I eat what I want, when I am physically hungry, and as much as I need to feel satisfied. I work out in a similar way: I work out when I want, for as long as I want.

 

Today I’d like to continue sharing my intentions for my life in my more extended DESIGN MY LIFE series. Yesterday I explained how I work in a balanced way and today is about my relationship.

Be in a committed relationship.

I would love to say that my relationship with Mr. Lively has been a bed of thorn-free roses, but that’s a lie.

It’s not that surprising, since no relationship is perfect.

But still, I was a bit shocked to find out that someone who is as amazing as Mr. Lively didn’t leave me feeling completed, whole, and perfect.

From all that I had heard about “knowing,” I was downright confused as to what “knowing” really meant.

If things felt perfect, then I would “know,” right?

I pretty much expected that I’d hear some Charlton Heston voice announce to me one day “Mr. Lively is your guy.” Then the angels would pop out of the clouds and I would be whisked away to some magical place were reality, cellulite, and student loans didn’t exist.

But that never happened.

Disappointing as that fact might be, it was nothing compared to the time that someone looked me in the eye and said that he wasn’t the one for me. That I was supposed to be with someone five years older than myself. This person was someone I looked up to considerably but did not know Mr. Lively. That blanket statement shook me to my core and made me question everything.

What if this person was right? What if there was someone else out there named Mr. Older that was supposed to make me perfect and would then cause those angel clouds to part so I could live in Never Never Land?

It was a confusing time, for sure.

But through all of my fears, Mr. Lively stood by my side. Instead of feeling offended or angry or sad about what that person told me, he felt empathy for me because he knew that was a lot of pressure and expectation from someone who didn’t know us very well.

(Yeah, he might not be perfect, but sometimes he’s pretty darn close.)

Anyways, I say this all so that it hopefully helps someone out there. I’m not sure how, but I pray that this situation in my life is going to be used for good.

So now it’s time to come to the point: I had a lot of sorting out to do about the whole concept of “knowing.” And I have finally come to a spiritual a-ha moment which has brought me a tremendous amount of peace, joy, and even more love.

I have finally recognized that what I want more than anything is to be in a committed relationship that lasts a very, very long time. And in the past, I was approaching everything backwards.

Before, I used to think that I would find “Mr. Right” and that he would be so amazing that I would suddenly be a perfect girlfriend/partner that was ready for a more serious commitment. That by falling “in love” with someone was going to be so amazing that I would be ready for forever, amen, and “I do.”

But all that did was leave me feeling a bit empty inside. All of that expectation left me feeling like I binge ate icing rather than eating a satisfying piece of cake. It clouded all the things that were amazing about our relationship and left me scanning our life for holes, leaks, and cracks.

Ugh. You are lucky you weren’t in a relationship with me at the time.*

However, I’ve since made a discovery that has literally changed my life: I’ve finally fessed up to the fact that I really do want to be in a committed relationship. That comes first. I want to learn what that relationship will have to teach me about myself, what it will teach me about others, what it will teach me about love, and what it will teach me about having a family someday.

This also means that I have to be realistic in what a committed relationship means: unconditional, acceptance, joy, peace, mercy, forgiveness, and real love.

It doesn’t mean perfect and it doesn’t mean “Mr. Right.” 

Then, once I owned up to that fact and I accepted what that kind of relationship would be like (both good and bad), it was up to me to pick out who I wanted to be in a partnership like that.

And the obvious answer was Mr. Lively.

By allowing myself to put the spiritual side of the relationship before the humanity of myself and Mr. Lively, I stopped weighing myself down with a bunch of expectation and illusion. It allowed me to fully enjoy all the amazing traits and love we have to offer one another. It stops me from looking for flaws to indicate that we aren’t perfect.

It let’s me see all that is good without a veil of ugly selfish expectation.

So now, whether we are cuddling or arguing I have my priorities set.

It’s not about him “meeting my every whim and expectation” it’s about choosing to be together through whatever comes our way.

Though that might sound disheartening or sad, it’s actually been the most freeing and loving experience of my life.

 

* Except you, Mr. Lively! I love you.

[sponsor post] coach house pictures

May 9th, 2012   |   Life

 

Today I’d like to welcome the newest MML sponsors, Liz and Joe of Coach House Pictures. They are an adorable Chicago photography duo. I’ve actually worked with them myself on product shots for Jess LC recently, and I cannot say enough nice things about them.

Read below to find out more about themselves and their current Mother’s Day special good through the month of May!

Coach House Pictures

Hello! We are Liz and Joe behind the Chicago based photo studio Coach House Pictures. We are a photo boutique specializing in engagements, weddings, family, and kids portraits.

We live, play, and work from of our cozy Bucktown Coach House (<Apartment Therapy House Tour!) and simply put we love capturing moments in a lifestyle/editorial way.  We are based in Chicago with availability to travel. We love meeting new people and can’t wait to plan your next photo session!

Let’s connect!

Website: coachhousepictures.com

Blog: coachhousepictures.com/?page_id=211

Twitter: @LizandJoe

Facebook: facebook.com/CoachHousePictures

Once upon a time on MML there used to be a beloved series called DESIGN YOUR LIFE which allowed interviewees to share their intentions for their lives along with the specific, tangible ways they “designed their life” to make the intentions become reality.

After a while it became too much for me to run alongside the rest of my commitments, so I put in on hold. But I’m excited to announce that it will be back soon.

I also think it’s time that I updated my own interview from 2009.

A lot has changed in the last three years and it’s time to share my current intentions.

Since I would like to go in depth which each of my intentions, I will share only the first intention today and the rest throughout the week.

Enjoy!

Work in a balanced way.

As I take on more and more responsibility with Jess LC, MML, and BWI, I find myself more and more ferociously defending my time off and life balance. If I don’t, I begin to resent work very quickly.

So to keep a “normal” life as much as possible, I am learning that I need to do a few things to stay sane and highly effective at the same time.

First of all, I am learning how to delegate more than ever before. In Jess LC that means I have the amazing and wonderful Susie to make our jewelry orders and a new trio of Lauren, Kiley, (and soon-to-be) Caitlin to intern and manage the online shop. This frees me up to do the high level activities like finance, product development, and social media needed to keep the company growing and maintaining the brand’s DNA.

In MML that means that I am working towards allowing our amazing intern/managers also help with a few labor intensive, but not me-specific tasks. One of which will be to resurrect the DESIGN YOUR LIFE series.

And in BWI, I am working with Clara, my totally awesome, talented, and capable event planner to help execute our travelling workshops. Handing event specific details to her allows me to stay focused on content and making sure the participants are getting the best advice and information.

In addition to delegating, I’m also learning how to ‘hustle’ more during my workdays so that I can accomplish more from 9:30a to 6:00p. I make detailed weekly and daily to-do lists which keep me moving along and accomplishing all the major tasks. I also just work harder. I’m usually wiped by the end of the workday.

And to make sure that my off hours stay “off” I am now cutting Twitter, business Facebook, and email out of my nights and weekends. I’m doing pretty good so far. Right now I’m 98% free of them all and the more that I honor those boundaries, the more I enjoy work and feel more present in my home life.

However, all of this goes without saying that there are a few days where I work until 7:30 or 8. And on our workshops I work during the weekend. But those overtime hours are rare and encourage me to honor the regular off hours all the more.

Because after all, “off hours” aren’t really “off.” They are the times that I’m honoring my personal life. 

 

Tomorrow I’ll share what my intention to be in a committed relationship means to me.

mrs. meyer on “stuff”

May 8th, 2012   |   Life

 

Some wise words on clutter from lady Joyce M.

 

Just wanted to give one more shout out about the Washington DC Business with Intention Workshop. Sign up by Wednesday to join us!

(It’s also the last chance to grab the workshop introductory rate.)

Over the weekend I thought about this new wave of truth that’s spreading online and I think there a few other personal boundaries that I’d like to smash.

Though I thought I shared most of my personal hang ups in my first Things I’m Afraid to Tell You post, there are other things that I’m also afraid to talk too much about for fear of judgement. I think on some level, I feel like if people really knew these other things that might not be “politically correct” some people will stop reading MML (or try to convince me to change).

These things don’t have any real bearing on my purpose: to help people design lives with intention. But I think I’m afraid that if people don’t agree 100% with my personal choices or beliefs that they will stop reading and think I’m a bad person.

However, since I personally encourage everyone to design to their own intentions for their own lives, I should feel comfortable sharing my intentions without being so scared of the condemnation I might face.

Okay, here it goes.

I eat meat.

Though I haven’t done anything to really hide this fact on MML, I do sometimes feel a pressure from reading blogs that I should be eating paleo, vegan, vegetarian, sans-carbs, you name it.

But the truth is that I am more “flexitarian” than anything. I love a good burger when going out with sweet potato fries, buffalo wings are great, and tofu is my go-to protein when I order thai. I don’t believe in diets for myself (not anymore), but I feel like there are a lot of “shoulds” out there in blog land (or in the media at large) that want to make me eat differently.

And though I could imagine myself becoming vegan or vegetarian in the future, at this moment, I am not.

I want to get our puppy from a breeder.

This is another thing I’ve been shamefully hiding because I think a lot of people have judgements about this choice. The truth is that I’ve actually been a volunteer at a local rescue myself, so I am definitely fully informed about the amazing-ness of rescues. And in the future, Mr. Lively and I do plan on rescuing dogs. However, for my first dog, I have had my heart on a Westie puppy since I graduated high school.

Having done my research, I know that the odds are extremely small of finding a Westie puppy in a rescue. So unless the Westie Rescue in our area happens to have one when we move, I will likely use a breeder to find our little guy or girl. As you can imagine, I’ve done everything possible to research the very best of the best breeders so I am sure not to support the horrible things that can go on in the industry. But overall, I think caring breeders are good people.

 

Phew. I’m glad I got that stuff off my chest.

I know you might be thinking, wait, that’s all you have to share? But to me, those things have been weighing on my heart. I’ve felt ashamed. And though I don’t have to mention them or make them a big deal, I think it’s important for transparency because they felt like a big deal to me.

If I want to make any impact on this blog world at all, I want to show that it’s okay for people to be themselves and not have to feel like they need to hide things out of fear.

And in order to do that, I need to walk the walk.

Thank you for reading.

this week i’m thankful for

May 4th, 2012   |   Life

Man. What a week.

After taking Monday afternoon off, things felt so much easier. And for the next few days Mr. Lively and I have very few plans or obligations.

Amen.

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

 

PS – I’d like to congratulate my brother Mike for graduating from Michigan State University tomorrow!

You guys, I really don’t know what to say.

As you may know, a month ago I wrote a post called Things I’m Afraid to Tell You which detailed all the things that I was… afraid to tell you. After pressing publish I immediately felt better and more relieved that I was no longer “hiding” these things from you out of fear.

Fear of what? Judgement and shame, I guess.

So as you can imagine, it was awesome to hear such kind feedback about the post and I didn’t think much more about it.

However, last week (the extremely kind) Ez, of Creature Comforts, browsed MML and stumbled upon the post and decided to make what I can only call a movement based upon it.

Crazy, right?

She single-handedly took what I wrote in that little post and used it to inspire dozens of bloggers to share the things that they are afraid to tell the online community.

So all day while I’ve been busy with meetings and appointments I’ve been seeing touching and honest stories flood the blogosphere at the encouragement of Ez.

It is extremely liberating to see all of these wonderful bloggers share their stories and truths.

And at the same time, it’s a little very overwhelming for me personally.

I didn’t write that post with the intention to do anything other than share my story with you, here on MML. But to see it do so much good in a larger context… that I can’t wrap my head around.

But I’m glad it did. And I could not be more thankful for what Ez has done for us as a community.

 

 

Participating bloggers organized by Ez of Creature Comforts:

Design for Mankind | Little Brown Pen | Beautiful Hello | Curating Style | Sweet Fine Day |The Jealous Curator | Happy Days | Sage & Berries | Really Handmade | Peck Life | Satsuma Press | Rena Tom | For the Easily Distracted | The Hemborg Wife | Vitamini Handmade |Courtney Khail Stationery and Design | Meg in Progress | Dando Photography Blog |Widdershins22 | Alison Citron | Pink Moon Daily | Just Pretty Things | From China Village |Tea with Me | The Darling Ewe | Not Your Average Ordinary | The Electric Typewriter |Elleby Design | Parsimonia {Secondhand With Style} | Life as an Artistpreneur | Hello Cupcake | Dellie | The A & B Stories | Pretty Little Things

photo created by Creature Comforts

It’s time to reveal the photo recap of Chicago’s BWI Workshop!

Here is a quick glimpse of our Chicago workshop taken by Kim Vargo of YellowBrickHome (she’s such a sweet person and wonderful photographer).

 

I had such a wonderful time getting to know these amazing women entrepreneurs. Below is a smattering of feedback from the workshop participants.

I loved meeting other small business owners and being able to share our thoughts and ideas with them. I loved feeling reassured that you have others to support you. I also loved being able to get clarity on the vision of my business. It was really helpful to write everything out and I think it will make it much easier to stick to. I’m going to hang it right next to my computer, so I’m reminded everyday that there is a bigger picture.

- Amanda Genther, Amanda Genther Design

My favorite aspect of the workshop was  the exercise to ensure that my vision of my personal career matches the vision of my business. It was an interesting exercise to write down my career vision, then write down the business vision, and measure them up to each other.  The parts that didn’t match may not come to fruition, and I’d end up unhappy doing work I didn’t necessarily like.  Even though i may not love 100% of my daily tasks in this new business venture, the overarching visions should be parallel. 

- Renee Davis, Bell & King Eyewear

I really enjoyed connecting with other positive, motivated individuals and getting personalized feedback on my business vision, struggles, and plans for the future.

- Lisa Butler, Elembee Creative

I loved that the workshop allowed me to carve out time and space to really think about my business.  I was able to solidify my purpose and vision, figure out how I want to structure my days, and brainstorm new ideas and ways to grow my business.  It was a fun, supportive, and low-pressure environment with lots of discussion and some time set aside for individual journaling.  Best of all, Jess encouraged each of us to collaborate with at least two other attendees after the day concluded… and I’m already on the way to doing just that!

- Melissa Tydell, Melrose Street Custom Content

I enjoyed the group aspect of the workshop. Being surrounded by like-minded creatives was so inspiring; it was amazing to see the support for each other and watch the ideas grow! The group discussions were thought provoking, and I was able to think about my product and business model as a whole. I had some ideas going into the workshop, but leaving, I was thrilled to get started! 

- Kim Vargo, Yellow Brick Home

The Business With Intention workshop was a great opportunity to take a step back from the day-to-day responsibilities of starting a small business and think intentionally about what I want my company to become. It was great to learn from Jess’ experience and to connect with other like-minded ladies who are driven by similar goals. I left feeling incredibly inspired!

- Alyssa VandeLeest, Prosper Public Relations

You can find more thoughts on the workshop on our Workshop Alumni Page as it grows and evolves with each new group.

 

I cannot thank everyone enough for their support with this endeavor. And most of all, I would like to thank Clara, my partner in crime and event planner for all of her help and support along the way. She’s a pro as well as a wonderful friend.

Our next Workshop destinations are…

Yep! We have two new cities on the books! Washington DC still has room and is at the introductory rate. And New York and Seattle both have early registration discounts through June 1st and July 1st respectively.

Want to learn more about the Business with Intention Workshops? Read on.

mother’s day sale

May 2nd, 2012   |   Life

- shop our Jess LC mother’s day sale today and tomorrow only -


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