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this week i’m thankful for… a break

November 30th, 2012   |   Life


This week I’m thankful for… giving myself a break.

I had quite a few intentions and deadlines fall short in November and I’m actively allowing myself to not feel bad about them.

You know how I wanted to thank people every day in November?* I did it for two days. The two days before we got Franklin, on November 3rd. Since then, I’ve been lucky if my hair is washed and I make it to a meeting on time.

I also planned to launch a few new exciting things next Tuesday. But based on the load of work I have on my plate right now, it’s getting delayed.

Oh, and I also still have my Thanksgiving decor up. At this point I’m debating if I’ll do any holiday decor at all.

And you know what? That’s okay.

Have a great weekend and thank you for reading!


* Did anyone complete the challenge? If so, how did it go?!


adventurous living

November 29th, 2012   |   LifeThink About It


As I type this post I have to do the following in the next twenty minutes: write this post, put makeup on/do my hair, take the puppy out, and leave for my monthly business mentorship meeting.

Needless to say, I’m typing coherent sentences as quickly as possible.

Lately, this has been my life.

I “thought” that ending Jess LC, finishing the apartment, and getting past the Thanksgiving holidays would leave me peaceful. That I’d have more time to breathe, to ponder, to wax poetic here on the blog for as long as I liked.

But the truth is that I’m almost a week out from those major projects passing and I’m still frantic with many new projects in my plate. How will I get them all done in time?

I’m honestly not quite sure, but I said a prayer and I’m hoping for the best.

I was relating my story to a recent Business with Intention workshopper, Kimberly of Daily Sip Studios in our first session. Without skipping a beat she said, “I think that’s just how you live your life.”


The woman had known me for twenty minutes and she had me pegged.

As much as I am all about making under my life and I understand that less is more… I seem to personally have a habit of crafting new, exciting projects like it’s my job (oh wait, it kinda is).

But the effect of this enthusiasm is a constant state of, “I have so much to do now, how is it all going to come together? And when to I get to r-e-s-t?”

I think this is in part because of my strengths, according to Strengths Finder 2.0. One of my biggest strengths (besides the world’s least sexy trait: individualization) is activator.

Once I have an idea (which is my second biggest strength: ideation), I want to make it happen NOW. Not tomorrow, not next week, right NOW.

So I suppose with the strength of ideation and activator I’m kinda destined to have this crazy life that I lead. Even though I’m constantly trying to reign it in and simplify along the way.

Though I normally have a clear point at the end of my posts, this one I’m leaving open ended. I think I am just now becoming fully aware of this duality in my life and I am not sure exactly yet how to make peace with it.

Do I just accept that my life will always be crazy and that’s how I, in some [insane] part of my brain, prefer it? Or do I try to let my ideas percolate a bit longer and spread them out over more ‘reasonable’ time frames?

I think there is truth to both approaches.

But right now, I have makeup to put on, a dog to take out, and a meeting to make before I can find the right balance.

intention preparation

November 28th, 2012   |   Life


As December quickly approaches, I’ve started to mull over my intentions for 2013. I don’t usually write my future letter to myself until the week before New Years but I like to contemplate those intentions early.

It’s also nice to reflect on how far I’ve come this year and look at what I’ve done well (work) and what has taken the back seat (friends).

So far I’m excited for next year to be about socializing, getting our puppy routine set, and developing my pretirement plan.

Some cool events will be taking place next year too including co-teaching a workshop at Alt Summit (more on that soon!). Mr. Lively and I would also like to plan a few trips next year and right now we are throwing out optional dates and destinations.

Over the next few weeks I’ll have a pretty good set of ideas floating in my head that will be relatively easy to put to paper in my future letter. So for others out there thinking about crafting their own future letters for 2013, feel free to get a head start by thinking and dreaming about them now!


working with a puppy (help!)

November 27th, 2012   |   Life



I have been working with Franklin for the past three weeks and I have gotten 25% of what I normally get done. I thought that since I work from home that I would be perfectly suited to having a little pup by my side.

But the truth is that he chews everything he can find* (thankfully there isn’t much damage, his teeth are too small), he can get nippy when he’s wound up, and he barks when he’s bored/I’m trying to work/I’m not in eyesight.

Though I’m sure he will outgrow these tendencies as he gets older… the meantime is frustrating for us both.

The best thing so far I’ve found is stationing him with his harness and leash to the kitchen table leg where he has some roaming room near me but he can’t chew cables, curtains, or pee on the living room rug. Yet he’s constantly wanting to hang out with me (and eventually bite my hands) or get into trouble chewing something within reach.

I put him down for a nap in the crate in the morning and in the afternoon when I leave the house for a few hours for work. But other than those two crate naps, I am constantly untangling his leash from a chair leg, pulling the pee pad out of his mouth, or listening to him bark.

Also, he just hit the 12 week mark. So eventually it might be nice to send him to puppy day care a few days a week or take him on longer walks (he has a morning and evening walk)… but what do I do until then?

I thought I would be able to handle having him near me during the day stationed like I’ve been doing. But he is too high maintenance in this manner so far to make it effective for me – right now it’s ruining my productivity, patience, and sanity.

Anyone out there have any suggestions on how to survive as work-at-home business owner? What does crate training really look like? Almost all day?

Mr. Lively and I joke that I should be in a reality show called Pup Moms (like Dance Moms) where all I do is cater to the dog all day.

Because so far that’s what it feels like.



* He likes Bitter Cherry, jalapeno vinegar helps (but fades away), and a squirt bottle has been effective but difficult to time just right.


Tomorrow’s Wish I Knew Wednesday will be a fun one. I’m going to be covering when it’s a good idea to celebrate! So often this aspect of business is overlooked and it’s definitely important in many ways (which I’ll describe in more detail tomorrow).

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.)


sitting pretty (a desk makeover)

November 26th, 2012   |   DecorLife


When Mr. Lively and I moved, I was hitting the CL pretty hard.

One of my scores was a yellow and green bamboo desk for the guest room.

As you can see it had great bones but the color story wasn’t quite my jam. So I went to town with paint. Which meant last week before our families visited for Thanksgiving I spent three days in and out of the same paint splotted sweatpants and shirt working on my masterpiece.

Maybe masterpiece might be a bit of an overstatement, but it did consume much of my time and was worth the effort in the end.

A coat of primer, two coats of white semi-gloss, two coats of Polycrlic, and a coat of Liquid Leaf later… I was left with this.


Thanks to Kim’s painting tutorial and my friend Stacia who helped recover recovered the seat for me in my new favorite color and fabric (cerulean blue velvet) I was all done just before the folks arrived.

I cannot wait to start consulting at this desk from time to time. The guest room turned out to be one of my favorite places in the apartment. Well, that and the bedroom. And the master bath. And the living room… Okay, I love it all but the guest room has a special place in my heart.

Oh, and there is one last surprise…

I lined the drawers with leftover wallpaper from the master bedroom.

Done and done.


the wedding comes to a close

November 26th, 2012   |   LifeOur Wedding


Over the weekend our extended families came into town to celebrate our marriage and elopement over Thanksgiving, a cocktail party on Friday, and a dinner on Saturday.

Though I never expected to have such an unusual wedding celebration three months after the ceremony, the weekend could not have been more perfect ending to our wedding story.

We loved welcoming our families into our new home and introducing them to our new little pup, Franklin. We loved getting to see them all throughout a long weekend of fun and food (and wine).

I can now totally understand why some brides feel a sense of let-down after their big days. The amount of love poured onto us was overwhelming in the best way possible.

And of course the weekend was not without it’s own share of personal pressure. I was downright frantic leading up to the festivities getting the home finished(!!), the food prepared/purchased, and managing the puppy at the same time.

Thankfully, I didn’t implode from my self-inflicted perfectionism with the help of Mr. Lively’s teamwork (as well as his sense of humor), my incredible brother Mike (who stayed with us and watched Franklin and helped in every aspect of the weekend), and family support. Lots of family support.

As everyone began departing yesterday, I felt a tidal wave of bliss and joyful gratitude. I will remember the feeling long after the logistical details of the celebrations fade away.

And though I am sad to see the weekend pass, I am also so thankful we get to spend future times with our families. There will be other events to celebrate and times to share.

But do you want to know the best part? Now that we are moving past our lovely elopement, we get to spend our time focusing on our life as a family.



This Wednesday I am taking the day off from dishing out business advice and instead offering an added bonus for those who sign up for consultations or one-on-one workshops with me between Black Friday (11/23) and Cyber Monday (11/26).

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.)

Jess LC posters live on

November 20th, 2012   |   Life


Though Jess LC has closed it’s doors, the ladies at Ampersand Design Studio have added three of our collaboration prints to their shop!

Purchase here just in time for the holidays.



stress fighting

November 19th, 2012   |   LifeRelationships


Over the weekend Mr. Lively and I were frantically finishing the apartment for both our extended families which are coming into town this week to celebrate our elopement. People start arriving tomorrow (so things will be light on the blog over the next few days).

With Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, a cocktail party on Friday, and a nice dinner downtown on Saturday, we have a lot to prepare for beyond the decor as well.

While we have been pretty good at avoiding conflict over the last few weeks, even with the stress of learning to raise a young puppy… this weekend things hit the fan. A non-stop list of to-dos and little sleep, thanks to Franklin’s 3am and 6am potty breaks, made us two cranky campers.

I had three separate meltdowns directed at Mr. Lively yesterday alone. And the truth is that though disagreements were bound to pop up here and there, the degree to which I was upset was unwarranted.

And the ironic part? We are stressing out at each other in preparation for events which are meant to celebrate our love and union. 

So as I went for my morning run today I was setting an intention to be nicer and less argumentative with Mr. Lively this week. But knowing that we are already this tired going into the festivities has me a bit worried. How am I going to cope better when things are about to get even more challenging?

The answer turned out to be simple. I need to make time for my spirituality.

Over the past few weeks since getting Franklin my morning routine of reading from A Course in Miracles for a little bit and meditating/praying has taken the backseat to (very) early morning potty breaks for the little guy.

And in general we have been so worn out due to his erratic sleeping schedule that I don’t get around to my morning reading and reflecting. I’m simply getting by and trying to give him attention in between his naps while I’m getting ready for the day or doing work.

Beyond my running routine, my spiritual time helps me cope with difficulty more than anything else. So it’s time that I make that a priority again, this week especially. No matter how tired I am, I need to make sure I keep the intention to reflect internally in order to start my day in a positive direction. I’m also more likely after my morning time to talk to the Universe about the troubles as they occur, rather than snapping at Mr. Lively.

In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr:

“I have so much to do today that I had better spend another hour on my knees.” 


hallway organization

November 16th, 2012   |   Decor


When it came to decorating the back hallway I knew it needed to be practical. With the back door right across from our bedroom we would eventually be taking Franklin out that way often.

To add quick access storage I turned an Ikea bathroom towel rack into a coat organizer.

We now have hooks for Franklin’s puppy coat, scarves, leashes, and keys. The shelf at the top also adds a place for plastic bags, a lint roller, and treats.

Plus, the hanging items add some nice interest and color to the otherwise neutral nook.

Overall, we spent $29 West Elm bath rug and $34 on the Ikea stainless organizer. Not bad for a cute little space that otherwise would have gone unnoticed.

having “it all”

November 15th, 2012   |   Business AdviceThink About It


This year I have learned many lessons. It was outwardly my most transformational year and inwardly I made similar progress as well.

One lesson I’ve learned over and over each month is that having “it all” in my career is not a recipe for happiness.

I received many emails and compliments while I was juggling Jess LC, Business with Intention, and the blog. Very kind mentions about how I was so lucky to “have it all.”

But I will tell you the experience of juggling everything was not increasing my quality of life.

There is a saying that I was reminded of time and again this year that says “when you pick up one end of the stick, you pick up the other.” And holding three sticks logs with opposite ends so weighty was draining.

I constantly felt like I was working “in” my businesses, not “on” them… unless I was pulling night and weekend hours (which is never my long-term intention). And though I initially planned to alleviate some of my workload by taking on a more permanent manager for Jess LC, I was stopped in the nick of time by my intuition.

When I started this blog in 2009 I named it Makeunder My Life. After a series of failed attempts at deep happiness via external additions like purses, candy bars, guys, and lipstick, I realized life is improved and strengthened when it is reduced to the most intentional elements. When the unintentional excess is cut out, we shine.

And this universal concept applied to my career as well. Sure if I was truly meant to juggle all three businesses for the rest of my life I would have found a way to make it work. But the fact that I was feeling dull, exhausted, and depleted was a great indication that my “all” was too much.

I think what I’m really trying to say is that no matter how glossy a career looks from the outside, no matter how tempted we are to wish we had a company/job/career like so-and-so, we never know what’s lurking on the other end of that stick. And spending time wishing for “it all” is really a recipe for stress and burnout.

Rather, I hope that we can learn to look inside ourselves for internal direction to find the path that is suited to our strengths, talents, and purpose. Because that’s the stick worth holding.


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