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2012 future letter review
December 31st, 2012     |    LifeThink About It


First of all, I have to thank each and every one of you who shared your stories and support about my recent experience with the negative reaction to a birth control prescription.

I feel so much better knowing I’m not the only one who has gone through such a difficult time. At the same time I’m deeply saddened that others had to go through the same horrific phase of being out of control of our reactions and emotions. It’s truly a scary and frustrating place to find oneself.

However, I’m happy to report that being on my old prescription already has helped me quite a bit! Yesterday I felt a sense of calm and happiness that I have been missing for a several months. Though I’m still remaining cautious about any “full recovery” back to my normal self, Mr. Lively mentioned yesterday he already feels like I’m back in action.

Which is a good thing, because it’s time to reflect on my 2012 Future Letter and draft my 2013 Future Letter!

For those of you who haven’t followed me year to year, since 2006 I have been drafting Future Letters to myself as a way of creating a vision of what I’d like my year to be filled with – written in past-tense as if I’ve already accomplished my intentions.

I usually start of by writing, “As I see myself walk into this coffee shop in 2013… I see a woman who has done x… learned y… accomplished z… and so forth.”

I take time during the weeks leading up to my letter in December to decide what things I’d like to attempt in the following year and put it all on paper during my Future Letter writing ceremony (and by “ceremony” I mean I’m at a coffee shop typing on my laptop with a warm drink).

This tradition began when I was a college junior coming out of a massive quarter-life crisis which led me to my purpose. At the time, I did not believe that I could accomplish much at all, as I was just getting out of a serious low self-esteem semester. But nevertheless, I wrote my letter from my heart, inking out what I really, really wanted to be and do in the following year.

Though I didn’t re-read or focus too much on the letter itself throughout the following year, I was brought to tears later that year when I re-read the letter and realized how much of what I penned came true. At the time I wrote the letter I didn’t think I could accomplish a fraction of what I laid out, but I ended up manifesting 80% of what I wrote that year.

Since that pivotal moment, I have recognized the power of creating a vision and getting it down on paper. And I’ve written a Future Letter ever since. In fact, this exercise is so powerful, it is also a part of the Life with Intention workshops.

This morning I counted the statements that came true and those that did not come true in my 2012 Future Letter. Again, 56 out of 69 statements came true! That means again I’m batting 81% in my Future Letter predictions and aspirations. 

Most of the 13 statements that did not come true had to do with Jess LC, as I did not have a clue when I wrote the letter that I would end up ending the company this year.

This year in particular I realize how much of what happened over the past 12 months was not even on my radar. I had no idea I would elope to Paris, get a puppy, close Jess LC, and launch With Intention. None of that was mentioned in the letter, let alone idea for the Business with Intention workshops we did this year.

I really had no clue what was in store. And while I experienced a lot of stress, frustration, and birth-control induced anxiety/anger/mood swings, I look back on the year now with fondness. It was not an easy year. But that does not mean that it was not filled with love, growth, and humor.

I choose to take those rosy memories with me into 2013.

So while I draft my 2013 letter tomorrow I encourage you to write one as well! Last year someone who wrote a Future Letter mentioned there is a site called futureme.org where you can have your letters emailed to you on certain dates in the future, in case you’d like to review your letter at different points in 2013.

Here’s to a new year and a new Future Letter!



photo of our lock in Paris taken by Off Randolph
coming clean
December 28th, 2012     |    Life


Guys, there’s something I’d like to talk to you about which I haven’t mentioned much here on the blog.

And no, despite what my make-up and Photoshop free self-portrait above would suggest, I haven’t been arrested.

(Just in case you were wondering.)

All kidding aside, the past three months have been some of the most challenging of my life. I’m sure that doesn’t come as a surprise if you’ve been following along, a lot has changed. But one thing I’ve been dealing with on top of the elopement, new apartment, wedding, puppy, family events, and career change is the fact that I changed my birth control.

Though I might have mentioned it in passing, I didn’t think that the fact that I changed my prescription the same day that we moved into the new apartment would be important.

In fact, part of my mind still thinks it sounds silly to bring up. But the truth is that despite all of my preconceived notions about the effects of birth control, I have been seriously affected by my new prescription. To the point that not mentioning it here makes me feel fake talking to you day in and day out going forward.

I’m also not sharing this in order to rail against birth control, but rather explain what I’ve been going through lately which has affected me deeply.

Three days into the pill switch (which I take for PCOS), Mr. Lively noticed a marked difference in me. And it wasn’t a good one.

While I thought that having my period only four times a year would be wonderful, what really happened was far from it. For six weeks I had huge mood swings and emotional melt-downs. Though I’ve definitely had mood swings on PMS in the past, this was on a different level. And instead of just getting upset about something (usually not worth that a Class One freak out), I got angry.

And though I might be prone to being sensitive and stressed out, I am not prone to anger.

But that was one of the marked changes right from the get-go.

With everything in my life literally changing week by week, I was steadfast in my belief that it was stress and change that was upsetting me so much, not the pill, as Mr. Lively immediately suspected. 

I assumed that birth control could not make that much of a difference in me. I was determined to take accountability for my actions. Even when they were far from normal. “It’s the move/puppy/family party preparation that’s stressful, not the pill…” 

While Mr. Lively got the brunt of my reactions, I also lashed out at one of my dearest friends.

Eventually, after many melt-downs and the fall out with my friend, I called the doctors office and asked them if there could be any correlation to my freak outs and new prescription. The nurse assured me that I was not crazy, and that I indeed was most likely experiencing a negative side effect from the pills and urged me to wait out a full cycle. Which for my prescription was 12 weeks. She assured me that the symptoms would most likely subside as the weeks wore on.

Knowing that I could have intensely negative outbursts for another eight weeks was devastating. I finally had the humility to realize that I could not “proactivate” my way out of my emotions only to realize that it would continue to be this way for two more months.

Rather than do nothing, or act like it wasn’t really affecting me (like I did early on), I did the one thing that seemed to help: I ran every other day. And while I’m not stranger to running, it’s been a part of my life since cross country in high school, my running routine lately has been one of the most inspired of my life. Each run helped me feel just a little less likely to have an unwelcome meltdown.

I’m happy to say that the running routine paired with time did help the massive mood swings and anger. Meanwhile I still continued to experience a fair share of anxiety, low libido, and a bit of acne.

However, the past nine days the mood swings (including a dozy on Christmas night) have returned and I have since decided to return to my original prescription once this cycle ends, this weekend.

As you can imagine, I am beyond relieved to be going back to my old pill which was stable for several years.

But the fallout from the past three months has taken it’s toll. After my reactions over the past nine days I find myself at a pretty drained place. Emotionally I have taxed myself to the max. I feel immense remorse for my previous behavior and though I now recognize it was somewhat outside my control, I still am the one that said what I said and acted the way I’ve acted.

Though I’m thankful to say Mr. Lively has been incredibly patient with me through this process, it has hurt my dear friendship (which I hope to repair going forward), my confidence in myself (it’s hard to feel good about oneself when one feels out of control of reactions), and my confidence in my career.

But regardless of all the negative that I’ve shared, I have found a few silver linings and spiritual opportunities.

One, is that I have a renewed humility about myself. As I go into 2013 I have wiped clean any self-importance and have a fresh, humble perspective on myself and my future. I have to let go of what I have done poorly, and forgive myself for those negative egoic outbursts.

And I similarly trust that any of the blessings that come my way going forward are also not completely within my control. I can celebrate them without claiming that my ego was the main cause. Great things can happen through me, but they aren’t originating from my ego, so my egoic sense of self shouldn’t get the credit.

If I can absorb this lesson completely, it will be a profound turning point. Though it is hard to understand why such a difficult time in my life happened, the fact that I have this new level of openness and humility is incredible. Though I’ve never been completely wrapped up in myself before, I now truly feel like an empty vessel. Which is a wonderful state to be in, one that Buddhism encourages.

Further, in regards to how this phase of my life will influence my consulting and workshops. I now understand that if this situation in any way feels like it is hindering you from knowing me, then it is not something that would truly help my vocation. 

I also now realize that what I went through is something that others may have gone through, or something some of you may yet experience (though I pray that not be the case). And if this story can help others reject the “I can am always in control of my reactions, not matter what else might be at play hormonally” idea, that is a good thing.

Though proactivity is incredibly powerful, it is not powerful enough to always overcome an intense hormonal reaction.

And it is also a story that shares my own humanity, life lessons, and challenges. I don’t promise to be a guru with my life together perfectly. That’s not why someone should work with me or come to the upcoming workshops. What I do offer is a true, honest, and hopefully helpful depiction of what an intentional life can look like.

Not only will I share the challenges I face, but also how I overcome them or work through them, like I have today. Plus, I have a new found compassion and empathy for others who face similar situations.

I don’t need to be in perfect harmony every day my life to help others in significant ways. I just need to be myself, share my story, and be of service.

Thank you for listening.


PS – For some comic relief, please enjoy this relevant SNL clip.

merry christmas
December 24th, 2012     |    Life


With love,

Jess, Mr. Lively, & Franklin

christmas vacation
December 20th, 2012     |    Life


Every year I have made an intention to take time off between Christmas and New Years. With Jess LC, it was always a mad dash to send off the last orders before I rushed off to visit my parents in Philadelphia.

This year without a retail shop to tend to, I am able to glide into the holidays at a less frenzied pace. It’s been really nice.

I have wrapped up a few things around here including a snazzy new homepage and headshot on With Intention. And today I’m finishing my annual bookkeeping.

Starting tomorrow the Livelys will be relaxing and enjoying time with family and Christmas traditions. We are even bringing Franklin with us to see my family this year… which will bode for an interesting flight. Fingers crossed things go well and he stays quiet under my seat!

While I’m sure we will spend a fair amount of time eating, drinking, watching TV shows (hello, Homeland), and working out, I also want to bring a few books to read including Good to Great and Power Vs. Force.

Here and there I’ll be contemplating my 2013 intentions and future letter to myself, too. Over the past few weeks I’ve been unpacking what it means to set goals and intentions and uncovered a few truths. I shared them yesterday in my Wish I Knew Wednesday email about business goal setting, but really it could apply to everyone’s goals and lives.

Here’s a link if you’d like to read it.

The part about primary and secondary goals at the end is really where I am finding the most room for growth in my personal intention setting. I also look forward to helping people in these areas in the Life with Intention Workshops next year as well.

During this holiday pause I may pop in on the blog every now and then. But if it’s quiet for a few days on the blog next week, please assume that I’m eating my weight in pumpkin dip, making sure Franklin doesn’t chew on my parents furniture, and watching marathon sessions of TV with Mr. Lively and my little brother, Mike.

I hope you have a fantastic week ahead of you. And to those who celebrate Christmas, I hope it’s a merry one!

Thank you so much for reading, I cannot wait to see you back here in 2013. Great things are in store for us all!


Tomorrow is the last day to vote for the Readers’ Choice Life and Business With Intention Workshop city! The location for the March 2nd and 3rd workshops is up for grabs… so let us know where you want them to be held!

Many of you have already voted, but if you are interested in coming to either (or both!) workshops, please vote now.

And of course, if you live in Chicago, San Fran, or Austin, we are headed your way next year as well! Registration for these cities is currently available with an early registration discount. Register for Life with Intention or Business with Intention.


check-ins for marriage
December 19th, 2012     |    LifeRelationships

Over the weekend Mr. Lively and I discussed a few of our intentions for next year, including our intentions for our marriage.

While reflecting on 2012, we realized we strayed away from a lot of the positive communication habits we had while dating.

Early on, I was intent on using a lot of communication skills to help us set a good foundation like empathic listening and “the talking stick” (to help me listen more patiently when I was upset).  But as we focused on many major life events like the engagement, elopement, home, and puppy this year, we stopped communicating as effectively.

Instead, we subtly let familiarity and the comfort of our vows keep our bond strong, not our communication.

This distraction from properly talking to one another didn’t mean we fought more often, but it did mean any disagreements we had were not dealt with very well. We didn’t listen quite as deeply nor reflect back to the other person as often.

To help us work those discussion skills back into our marriage, we have decided to create a term we can use when either of us feels the need to talk about something important. We’re calling it a Check-In.

Rather than let a topic that may seem insignificant to the other person go unnoticed, or escalate later, we can use this term to communicate the importance of a conversation. It also indicates that we want to have an emphatic dialogue right away, which will help avoid potential arguments.

By having a specified term, we can even interject a “Check-In” in the midst of a discussion as well, if needed. Which will help us bring effective communication into a conversation that has already begun… and might have the potential to become an disagreement.

Though I am sure it won’t stop us from ever having another argument in 2013, I do believe that having this shared term will help us build our Seeking to Understand skills, communication, and marriage overall.


Now that picture day is over, it’s time to announce tomorrow’s Wish I Knew Wednesday topic: how to set business goals. With 2013 just a few weeks away, I am guessing there are many out there, like me, tinkering with a few new business goals or intentions.

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 Business With Intention updates.

(If you have signed up for the Wish I Knew Wednesday newsletter, you will automatically get this email.)

picture day
December 18th, 2012     |    Life

Pardon the radio silence. I’m spending the day with Daniel Peter, who is shooting my apartment and a few other little projects.

Can’t wait to share the photos with you soon!

what i don’t want for christmas
December 17th, 2012     |    ExfoliatingLife


Since my Makeunder days* I have had a little tradition each Christmas season. Instead of crafting a holiday wish list of all the items I want each December, I go through my home identifying the items that I would not ask Santa for.

The idea being that if I wouldn’t ask for something this year, there is a good chance that I no longer need, use, or love the item.

By doing this tradition before the holidays arrive I not only feel lighter mentally by January 1st, but I also make room for any new treasures that I receive on December 25th.

And with a photo shoot happening in my home tomorrow, I am itching to do a complete exfoliation more than ever. I might even do another Throw Out 100 Things Challenge.**

However, my schedule lately has been filled with other important tasks like Christmas Day and the With Intention launch. Which means attempting a serious exfoliation by tomorrow, or even by Thursday (when we leave for the holidays) is simply too much to handle.

So I have decided to schedule my yearly Christmas exfoliation between December 26th and New Years Eve, when I will have time off from work to devote to the process.

But I thought I’d mention the holiday-themed exfoliation ahead of time, in case anyone else would like to try the exfoliation along with me!


* This blog once upon a time was called Makeunder My Life and I had a heavy focus on exfoliating items I no longer needed/used/loved.

** Despite the name, I don’t actually “throw away” 100 items, I recycle, donate, or pass on any items that I can.

this week i’m thankful for… christmas day
December 14th, 2012     |    Life


Like Franklin above, I’m a tired puppy. This week has been filled with late work nights since Sunday with the launch of With Intention, Business in the City, and getting a huge Macy’s order out the door (yes, still have one more mega Macy’s order to go before Jess LC is officially laid to rest).

I think the long hours have been taking a toll on the whole family. Mr. Lively, my resident web programmer, coded the With Intention site and has been working late with me. And now we are both under the weather. And even the little pup has a cold of his own. He sneezes about 146 times a day.

So we will all be in rest and recovery mode this weekend.

Oh, and then there is Christmas Day.

Tomorrow is my annual tradition of “Christmas Day” for Mr. Lively. It began when we were dating and not going to be together on  December 25th. I had a few surprises for him and he was admittedly not the over-eager Christmas holiday person that I was. So to pump him up about the holiday and celebrate with him before we went home to our families, I created a day for him. You could easily insert Mr. Lively Day for Christmas Day, really.

He loves it.

So tomorrow is the 2012 Christmas Day. It will be a bit more low-key this year than years past because we have a puppy to care for every few hours and we aren’t feeling so hot. But there will be merriment, good food, and a few surprises (I promised I wouldn’t write what they are here on the site because Mr. Lively said he couldn’t be trusted not to peek).

And in case you are wondering about what I get… don’t worry. I have Valentine’s Day. Which is usually a short trip somewhere warm in February to escape the Chicago winter blues.

[If you ask me, I get the better end of this holiday tradition.]

Have a great weekend and thank you so much for reading and supporting the With Intention launch!


taking time
December 13th, 2012     |    Life


First off, I would like to thank you all for your incredible support with the launch of With Intention yesterday. It was truly a magical day.

Surprisingly, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief along with the gratitude. I no longer had to hint at what I’ve been preparing, planning, and doing. I got to just put it out there and claim it for myself:

I help people design their lives, homes, and businesses with intention. 


But really, this story has been in the making for the past seven years. You see, I discovered my purpose, to help people live intentional lives, my junior year of college. And every moment since then has been leading me to yesterday’s launch. And to be honest, I’m sure in years to come I will feel even more convinced that I am living out my purpose in some new way I have yet to imagine.

While living out this seven year journey, I have realized a few things about purpose. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that purpose is about building on cumulative experience.

Even when I recognized my purpose, while sitting in a college dorm room battling binge eating, I had a lot to learn to get me to the point where I could help people to the extent that I am helping people today. Yet even so, as a chubby 21 year-old sitting in my dorm room unhappily eating candy bars (three at a time), I recognized that my entire childhood, adolescence, and personal interests had been leading me to this life vocation.

Further, I don’t think a specific purpose is something we are born with, but rather something that builds over time and life experience. We are all born to serve others. But how that will manifest largely depends on our strengths mixed with our unique experiences.

To me, purpose is a mixture of nature and a lot of nurture.

So basically my life experience until I was 21 led me to understand the particular value and service I could offer the world. Then, in the past seven years, I’ve been slowly weaving that purpose into my actual life and career. One day (or blog post) at a time.

And little by little I found myself turning this mission into a career. But a career is never essential with purpose – we are meant to be of service whether we are paid for it or not. So there is no problem if one never turns their purpose into a company, job, or whatever the heck we feel we “need” to make it become.

The value of purpose is in personal interactions and the cumulative betterment of the human experience for others.

Money is not a factor from the Universe’s point of view.

Which means regardless of whether we discover our purpose sooner or later, or whether we do it for cash or karma, we need to recognize that it will take time. The only way to really speed up the process is to cultivate an intentional life.

Because when we remain dedicated to seeking a deeper understanding of what we have to offer others in this world, we will notice the little signs, lucky breaks, and opportunities more quickly than if we let life happen “to us.” 

So if you feel stuck in limbo trying to discover your purpose, perhaps shift your sights to the intentions you have for your life. For they might just lead you, in time, to the purpose you seek.



I am excited to announce that I now have a new site, workshops, and services to share! 

Ever since I realized that it was time to close down Jess LC, I have been putting the puzzle pieces together and discovered that as a newly pretired person who spends her day helping people.

And while I could pretend that I came up with this larger scope for my services myself, that’s not really true. You see, I have been approached over the past few months by readers and clients interested in working with me in life consulting and home design.

Which, really makes so much sense when I look back on my journey. Though I intended to help business owners exclusively, that never truly captured all that I could help people with. I write daily here on the blog about almost everything about living an intentional life, not just growing an intentional business. And let’s be honest, I adore home design more than anything and I would like to use my design skills beyond my accessory company.

So now I get to do all the things I love and can help others. I really have to pinch myself, this is a dream come true!

This new vocation shift also called for a new look. Below you can check out my new internet home, with-intention.com.

Ahhhh. I get happy just looking at it.

On the new site you will find Life with Intention consulting packages, Business with Intention consulting packages, and Home with Intention design services (coming soon!).


Business and Life with Intention Workshops

And of course, there are the new Life and Business Workshop dates for 2013!

The Business with Intention workshops will cover much of the content from the 2012 workshops as well as a few extra content additions.

The Life with Intention workshops are designed to help participants dive deep into their lives and explore their true intentions, purposes, and passions in a supportive environment with other intention-minded individuals. Once the intentions are clear, we craft a plan to make that meaningful vision a reality. Think of it as an inspiring, introspective day designed to help you create the life you really want.

Because we paired each workshop location with back to back Business and Life workshops, we are offering a special discount to those who register for both workshops. And there is an early registration discount for all of the workshops listed on the site (offer expires on date listed next to each workshop).


Jess LC Workshop Scholarship

Further, I have mentioned a few times that I have planned to help others, like myself a few years back, who are young but itching to create an intentional life or business. In honor of this goal I am offering one free spot in each workshop for a woman under 25. To apply, see details listed on the site.


2013 Workshop Dates

Here are our upcoming events for the first half of 2013.

Drum roll please… 

January 19-20, 2013 – Chicago, IL 

March 2-3, 2013 – READERS’ CHOICE

April 20-21, 2013 – San Francisco, CA

June 1-2, 2013 – Austin, TX 


Registration is now open for all dates (excluding Readers’ Choice).


Vote For the Readers’ Choice City

As you may have noticed, our second location is yet to be determined. My incredible planning and strategy partner, Clara Persis, and I have decided to let this city be selected by you!

You can vote for your city by clicking on this quick poll.



Voting ends 12/19, so vote now and encourage any friends who would like to come with you to vote as well!


Stay connected

Also, feel free to sign up for the With Intention newsletter to get updates (every now and then) on new workshops, specials, and behind the scenes content.



Or follow along on Facebook.



And last but not least…

Thank you so much for supporting me and following along on this journey. It’s been one heck of a ride and I cannot wait to meet and work with you in the future, if you feel like it’s the right thing for you! And of course, I’ll be right here on the blog  each day as well.

Here’s to designing a life with intention!


viavia both edited by Jess Lively













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