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half tucks & arm parties
July 31st, 2013     |    Style

HalfTucksAndArmParties

Due to the popular request for more fashion posts in the blog feedback, I have created my version of a style post.

No, don’t worry, I’m not becoming a street blogger any time soon. But today I thought I’d share two trends that I’m loving lately that involve items that you may already have in your closet.

 

Trend  No. 1: Half Tucks

 

TeeAndJeansHalfTuck

The first trend is subtle. I simply tuck the front of my shirt into the pants and leave the sides and back hanging out. This is obviously a casual look that might not jam with corporate environments, but is great for nights and weekends.

BlackAndWhiteHalfTuck

I find that just by half-tucking the top, I look a bit more pulled together – especially when I add a skinny belt. I’ve used the trick with tees, tanks, button-downs, and blouses. It’s a quick easy update that sometimes adds a bit more interest than a completely tucked or untucked top.

 

Trend No. 2: Arm Parties

 

ChambrayAndPinkHalfTuck

The second trend I have gotten into this summer is the “arm party.” Basically, you layer multiple bracelets on one wrist.

It took me a while to get the right mix of bracelets, but I now feel like I have a good balance.

My current rotation includes a rhinestone piece from my Grandma, a few vintage Jess LC gold link bracelets, a triple wrap woven style, an oversized gemstone piece by C.Wonder, and a cute handmade piece I bought from Biz in the City member, See Song Designs. Skinny watches or big chunky styles are great to include as well.

Depending on how “big” I want to go, I will vary the number of bracelets. I love to pairing neons with pastels. Sometimes the arm party matches my outfit and other times I’ll add a bit of color contrast instead.

FloralJeansHalfTuck

And the best part? When either of these trends goes out of style or I don’t feel like wearing them anymore, I don’t have to exfoliate a thing! They are items that can totally be used individually or tucked/untucked as they were before.

 

The super comfy black tank and white slouchy tee are c/o Pickwick and Weller – and they are giving 25% off to JessLively readers! Click here to gain the discount on their (really well made) tees. 

The blue striped t-shirt was a surprise gift from Remnant International

TheBestThingThatICanDoForMyBusiness

 

Today in What I’m Learning Wednesday, I’m sharing what I’ve learned – and practiced this month – that is the best thing that I can do for my business.

And the best part? It applies to anyone, not just entrepreneurs!

 

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 What I’m Learning (formerly Wish I Knew) Wednesday newsletter, you will automatically get this email.

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praying & relationships
July 30th, 2013     |    Relationships

PrayingAndRelationships

 

When it comes to my marriage to Mr. Lively (which will be one year come August 12th!), we have found two practices extremely powerful. The first is the private victory (PV) and the second is prayer.

Yes, prayer. Even though neither of us is Christian. 

As a part of our morning victory for the past few weeks, we decided to include something we picked up from Beyond Ordinary. Though we haven’t completed the book yet, we decided to test run one of the book’s exercises: praying for each other.

The idea is pretty simple: we take time each day – usually by the lake if we are running – to pray for the other person aloud.

Yes, aloud. Even though it feels super awkward (at first).

Sure, we have often done gratitude prayers before meals at home together. But these morning prayers are on a different level of intimacy for us. At the beginning, we weren’t quite sure what to say and were a little self-conscious of how we phrased things.

You aren’t talking to the person next to you… But you are talking to The Universe/God/nature/you-name-it about the person next to you… Oh, and they can hear you.

However, now that we’ve been practicing the habit, we are getting less self-conscious and it’s feeling more natural.

We pray for peace, clarity, career developments, productivity, joy, and guidance or strength for things the other partner is struggling with.

The effect has been pretty profound. There is something amazing about hearing that kind of love and optimism directed your way. As I listen to the words he prays, I actually can sense a bit of calm rest over me. A focus for my day and a positivity about tasks have actually occurred as he has prayed about those very things.

And Mr. Lively feels the same way. Today, in fact, after I got done going through my prayers for him, he started laughing. At first I wasn’t sure if he was poking fun at what I had said, but he quickly responded that the laugh with joy of from hearing my wishes for his day.

Which is a pretty big testimonial for the exercise.

So all in all, I cannot help but suggest the practice to those couples who might be interested. It might feel a little weird at first, especially if you aren’t used to praying, but the results could be well worth the effort.

finding joy in unexpected places
July 30th, 2013     |    Life

FindingJoyInUnexpectedPlaces

 

Increasing joy is something that I never really thought about until the past year. Sure, I wanted to be happier, but I never really put much attention on the concept of joy. In fact, until recently, I would have said they are pretty much the same thing.

However, I have started to observe the two emotions in the past few years and realize that there is indeed a tangible difference.

To me, happiness is an emotional mood or response to a positive event or external circumstance. And though others may not feel this way, I think happiness is a shallower, fleeting mood that is a bit more ego-ridden than its cousin, joy. For example, we often use the phrase, “I’ll be happy when …” to describe our positive response to future outcomes, experiences, and goals that we desire.

“I’ll be joyful when …” simply isn’t a part of our lingo.

I believe that joy isn’t used in that future and expectation-oriented phrase because it is a state of being that occurs within ourselves in the present moment.

In order to feel joy, all we need is to draw upon our gratitude for what is happening in the present moment. By doing this in a deep and peace-filled way, we feel joy.

In fact, I think we truly seek more joy in our lives, but often use the term “happy” inadvertently. And by using “happy” instead of joy, we expect a better life to flow through a continuous string of positive events — rather than a focus on present-moment gratitude.

A whole lotta stuff has to go right in our lives all the time for us to feel a sense of happiness at all times. It also negates a lot of other emotions inherent in the human experience and requires us to constantly have more good things in our lives in order to increase our level of happiness.

In fact, research has shown we have a happiness set point. But this set point does not necessitate that our experience of joy remains constant throughout our lives.

Gratitude begets joy.

Currently, I am fascinated by the natural gratitude triggers that produce immense joy in my own life.

I now realize that my most consistent experience of joy is when I am folding the laundry. 

Why the heck do I feel it then? I have no idea. I don’t like doing laundry. Folding clothes doesn’t make me happy. But when I fold our laundry, I feel peaceful and present minded. A wave of gratitude sweeps over me and I frequently feel joy that sometimes bring me to the verge of tears.

Folding laundry!

I also feel joy on flights with Mr. Lively and while looking at Lake Michigan. And in each of these scenarios I don’t seek joy from the circumstance. I have no attachment to a positive state of being. The joy simply comes.

I would love to know, what are your joy triggers?

raspberry & kale smoothie
July 29th, 2013     |    Food

RaspberryKaleSmoothie

 

Yesterday my youngest (and tallest) brother, Mike, came to visit. He’s living in Phoenix now, so we don’t get to see him very often.

To celebrate, yesterday started with a mimosa brunch and ended at Headquarters Beercade. And after many of my favorite dishes (mac and cheese from Wilde, nachos from Terascas)… my body is craving something healthy this morning.

Enter, my raspberry and kale smoothie.

 

Raspberry & Kale Smoothie

  • 1 cup of raspberries
  • 1/2 c of kale (I prefer the frozen kale at Trader Joes)
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of almond butter
  • 3 small glasses of water
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon chia seeds and/or flax

1. If you include the chia seeds, put the tablespoon of seeds in a small glass of water for a few minutes until they get their jelly-like exterior. Stir if needed.

2. Toss all ingredients in the blender and blend on high for 1-2 minutes.

3. Serve!

 

It’s fast, easy, and gives me a good dose of veggies and fruits right when I wake up. I’m also recently into the chia seeds as a great extra boost (awesome for the digestive track).

Got your own go-to smoothie? Feel free to share your recipe with me in the comments!

howidoitandfreecalmingapp

 

Before I sign out for the weekend, I wanted to share an interview about “How I do it” for Rachel MacDonald on her super-helpful blog, In Spaces Between. Questions include the biggest lessons I’ve learned from the blog and business, my key to building an online tribe, and how I combat self-doubt. Hop on over to see my answers!

And in other news, thanks to Life with Intention workshop alum and Morning Club member, Jenny Wise, I am now a fan of the free calm.com app (hint: they also have a desktop version, too). Just using it for six minutes left me way more peaceful.

 

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

THINGS JESSICA MURNANE KNOWS
July 26th, 2013     |    Life

Jessica-Marane-knows

Jen here, and today we have Jessica Murnane of One Part Plant. Her blog is an inspirational place for people (like me) that are interested in feeling better mentally and eating cleaner.

Not only does Jessica have her blog, but she is the creator of So, How Was Your Day? and owns her own stationery company. Her work has been featured in major magazines such as Oprah Magazine, Real Simple and House Beautiful. Jessica is definitely an accomplished, talented women that knows what she’s talking about!

to make change, think differently
July 25th, 2013     |    Quotable

ThinkDifferentlyToMakeDifferently

 

Today’s quote is really proving to be true in my own life lately. I am so grateful for the tiny willingness that I mustered in order to allow the possibility to think about things differently.

This is proving true in my marriage, in my work, and here on this blog. I am so grateful, and I hope those who feel kinda ‘stuck’ – like I did – find the willingness to be open to new ways of thinking.

Though it often feels scary to do so at first, I am so grateful I am not where I used to be which was a result of old thinking.

Enjoy!

 

In today’s video, I share something that Mr. Lively and I have done (by accident) that has created a huge increase in happiness this summer. Besides our private victory, this has made the biggest difference in our joy this summer.

(Sorry about the video fuzziness, I’m still learning how to make these as great as possible for you!)

lovely little accents
July 24th, 2013     |    DecorLife

LovelyLittleAccents

 

Though we had really done a great job completing the house for our mega Thanksgiving party in the winter, there was still some finishing touches to add.

So we’ve been slowly making updates this month that I thought you might want to see!

Let’s do a little tour, shall we?

 

The Guest Room

 

First of all, you’ll notice that I got those Caitlin Wilson pillows I shared about a few weeks ago. I have to say, I’m in love with this British Bouquet one in the guest room. If I could turn that fabric into a dress, I totally would. Mr. Lively really loves it, too.

 

CaitlinWilsonBritishBouquetPillow

 

You’ll also notice that the changes I planned on July 2nd have happened! Here’s the before. You’ll notice a whole lotta color and a painting that Mr. Lively dubbed, Birds walking on clown vomit.

 

UpdatesGuestRoom

 

And here’s the now.

 

GuestRoom

 

I painted new art (Mr. Lively named this one The Jess Lively Creative Inc. Flag), replaced the pillow cover, changed the sheets (old), and got a new fluffy duvet cover (seen here).

I’m now using the guest room as my ‘writing room.’ So having the large expanse of white with pops of gold, white, coral, and color is like living inside my brand everyday.

 

 

The Living Room

 

The coral Deco pillow has also added a nice pop in the otherwise neutral living room. The gold pillow is from West Elm.

 

CaitlinWilsonCoralDecoPillow

 

 

The Entryway

 

While in Ann Arbor the other week, we also scored the deal of the century. This white and gold(!) mirror cost just $37. Steals like this can always be found at Treasure Mart. Last year we scored our white marble coffee table there for $60, as well.

 

EntryWayMirror

 

I think the entry looks way more finished now that the mirror is hung. It’s obviously very practical and pretty at the same time.

Oh, and that lamp? Here’s a secret: it’s not plugged in! There is no plug nearby, but the table needed a bit more height, so I put it there anyway.

Tip: You’ll also notice the ‘his and hers’ trays for our keys – a great way to beautify any Mister clutter.

And that completes our tour! We are still saving our pennies for the living room armchair makeover. But until then, the home is looking a bit more polished with these little additions.

 

update: working with franklin
July 24th, 2013     |    Life

UpdateWorkingWithFranklin

 

I last shared about working with “my partner,” Mr. (Ben) Franklin about six months ago. And since one of the themes from the feedback was “more Franklin, please!” I’ve decided to create a little update and photo montage.

In my February recap, I told how he had gotten much better (he was a little terror terrier in the beginning), but still had a long way to go. Now that he’s almost a year old (his birthday is September 3rd), I can safely say that he has calmed down even more.

Working with him lately has been much more enjoyable. And though I’m sure he would love to continue to go to day care twice a week to play with his friends, it is becoming less and less necessary for my sanity.

This summer we have also made several trips to the dog beach. Though I wouldn’t go so far as to say that he loves swimming, I do think it’s something he’s excited and willing to attempt. Seeing all of the bigger dogs out in the water makes him want to get better.

In fact, going to the dog beach has quickly become one of my favorite things to do this summer, too. I get ridiculously excited when he starts paddling out to me in the “deeper” parts of the water. (Plus, though Franklin has always preferred Mr. Lively, I think my trips to the puppy beach with him have been winning me brownie points.)

I cannot wait to see how he continues to evolve and mature. He’s now an essential part of our family and I am so happy he is in our life. Though he certainly was not easy in the beginning, his personality in the recent months has proved to be well worth the puppy phase.

And, as promised, here’s a little montage of the pup through the first 10 months.

 

Franklin

 

PrioritizingandStayingProductivePartTwo

 

Earlier today, I shared why it is important to focus our time on the important but non-urgent tasks in our lives based off of Habit 3 of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Now, I’d like to share how to do just that.

 

List Your Life Roles

 

Each Sunday or Monday, I write a list of the roles in my life. Currently, I have personal, wife/pup mom, consultant, designer, friend, and blogger all listed as my present roles.

These roles can change as needed each week. The main point is to think about each major area of our lives. If we have several roles in our careers, we are welcome to sub-divide a few times, if needed.

 

Identify Priorities, By Role

 

Then, next to each role, I list out the main priorities that I have for that role in order to move ahead with important/urgent and important/non-urgent tasks. The main lesson here is to really think about those things which fall in the important/non-urgent category.

Exercise, for example, is one such item. It is rarely “urgent,” but if ignored for long periods of time, could negatively affect our health or wellbeing. We might also eventually have important/urgent issues result like heart attacks, anxiety, or excess weight gain.

This week, I listed private victory as a priority for my personal life since it is important, but not urgent. I also listed buying grilling foods under friends, which is important and urgent for a game night we are hosting tonight.

One of my favorite outcomes of this practice is that the attention placed on weekly personal and life priorities, not just business.

 

Schedule Priorities

 

Once the priorities are listed for each role, it is time to pull out a calendar and to-do list. I personally like using Google Calendar and Teux-Deux since they both sync on my phone and laptop automatically.

But you could use any apps or paper products you like. There is even an app called Week Plan inspired by this practice from The Seven Habits that you might want to check out.

Time sensitive priorities, like buying grilling supplies for our party tonight, can be scheduled directly onto a calendar at an appropriate time. And non-time sensitive priorities, like making a Morning Club calendar, can go on a to-do list for a specific day of the week.

By first listing out the main priorities for the week and then adding them to the schedule and task list by day, we effectively make time for priorities that otherwise may get bumped to the next week, or forgotten altogether.

This practice does not try to replace a daily task list, but it works to incorporate and prioritize those things which are truly most important in our lives first.

 

I highly recommend trying this system out for one week. If you find that it helps you to stay focused on what matters, then it will be all the encouragement needed to continue the practice. (And hey, a cute notepad can help sweeten the practice.)

READ PART ONE HERE.

 


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