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the bulletin board
August 30th, 2013     |    Life


This week on “what I’d talk about if we were drinking wine together” (catchy title, isn’t it?), I figured I’d share something that you’d notice if we were drinking wine in my kitchen.

Just off to the side from the entry table (shown here), I have two DIY bulletin boards housing all of our cards, announcements, and other “stuff.”

I believe you can learn a lot about a family by looking at their bulletin boards and refrigerator collages, so I thought I’d share what mine.

There is also a second board just below this one, too. But since the lighting is so dark in that part of the apartment, I could only capture a decent shot of the top board.


Here’s the story behind each item.

1. My family.

This is a photo of my family (and Mr. Lively) at our wedding party last Thanksgiving.

In case you didn’t know, I’m the oldest of three, and I have two younger brothers who look completely different from one another. The darker one, Michael, looks Italian. And the paler one, Matthew, looks totally Irish. Because my dad is 50/50, it’s kinda funny to see who they each look exactly like one nationality, but not the other. As for myself? I’m a mix of them both brothers (dark hair, freckles) and also look like my mom.


2. Our “kids.”

Okay, we don’t actually have kids. But we do sponsor two children through World Vision (we were inspired by Kelsey and Eric). Bockarie is three years old and lives in Sierra Leon. And Mollen, nine, lives in Uganda.

We love getting to know each child through letters and enjoy making them little ‘care packages’ with fun items we find at Target. If you have been considering a sponsorship like this, I totally recommend it!


3. Dog Puzzles.

Mr. Ben Franklin is turning one on September 3rd and we are considering a dog puzzle as a birthday present.

Silly? Yes. But we think he’d really like it.


4. Babies.

This year Mr. Lively and I know 15 babies being born to 13 new mothers (two moms are having twins). It is completely crazy to us to have so many friends having babies. But man, those announcements that come in the mail are adorable.


5. Jen’s wedding.

Jen, my Commander-in-Chief, is getting married this fall. I am so excited for her and her fiance, Brian.


6. Our wedding invitation.

Okay, so we got married last year. No matter, I still like looking at the invite.


7. “Just keep swimming” silhouette.

This is a silhouette from an old Jess LC tote design. I think it’s cute so I keep it on the board as a little daily inspiration.


8. Wedding invites.

We have six friends getting married this year.


9. Paraguayan money.

This is a bill from Paraguay given to us by our good friends, Gia and Steve. Gia is Paraguayan and gave the money to us before moving to Miami. We miss them a ton now that they are gone, but I love having this little reminder.


10. A wedding photo.

You can never have too many memories from Paris, right?

As for those little metal letters at the top that spell “Lively?” We picked them up on our trip to Napa at a little gift shop in St. Helena.

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

hey there, cutie
August 29th, 2013     |    Life

HeyThereCutieToday I have a pretty full day of meetings and design work. But before I got started, I wanted to check in with you! It might sound strange, but I don’t feel like I can really concentrate on anything else until I’ve chatted with you a bit, you know?

Here’s a little shot of cuteness for your Thursday morning.

And while I’m at it, I might as well share my new favorite thing…

JessLivelyCoverThanks, Kim, for creating the (in my humble opinion) cutest Facebook page cover photo ever.

Have a great day, my friend!

SuccessfulPeopleActAsIfA little pep talk for your Wednesday morning. It’s time we start acting as if! 

In other news, The Huffington Post picked up my post about What Gen Y Really Thinks About Soccer Trophies and Entitlement.

HowToConcentrateOnOneThingAtATimeToday I did a little call out for topic suggestions and Allison K. asked for a post about staying focused.

This is something that I have been struggling with over the past week as well. Transferring my mind between blogging, social media, video editing, consulting, article writing, and design sourcing has been making my head spin.

I first tried using Self Control. This app will block any time-wasting websites you like. However, the program worked a little too well in my case. Mr. Lively, a fantastic programmer, had to do some intense coding to regain access to the sites I blocked during the day. Though this doesn’t seem to be an issue for other users, I cannot personally recommend it because of the difficulties we had getting it to work properly after the restriction period ended.

Next, I moved on to a Mac app called Concentrate. So far, this one hasn’t given me any issues. I can set different tasks to launch specific desktop programs (like Photoshop or Word) and block any web distractions (Gmail, Facebook, etc.) so that I can focus on one task at a time.

By setting tasks in Concentrate, I’ve found that I am able to focus better automatically. It’s kind of like the online equivalent to turning off your cell phone. Knowing that I don’t have access to my go-to distractions helps me focus without feeling tempted to waste time.


PS- I believe both Self Control and Concentrate are apps for Macs. If you have a PC, check this article out for other suggestions. 

photo shot by LLB Creative for JessLively.com

WhatI'mLearningAboutUppingTheAnteTomorrow on What I’m Learning Wednesday, I am going to share what I’ve been doing to up the ante in my business. I am taking things to the next level and in order to do so, certain habits are shifting, evolving, and forming.

And for the first time ever, I’m going to be sharing this lesson in video! From the awesome feedback I have been getting about the videos here on the blog, I’m excited to bring this week’s WILW to the big screen You Tube.

As for that man in the photo? That is none other than Mastin Kipp, of The Daily Love. I’ve written about him several times over the past year, and I had the honor of meeting him on Sunday night. He’s a great role model for me when it comes to this topic, and he’s inspiring me in many of the habits that I’ll be covering 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 Business With Intention updates.

If you have signed up for the What I’m Learning Wednesday newsletter, you will automatically get this email.


JustKeepGoingAs I honor the lesson I’ve learned from living without Jess LC, I think it is also important to give thanks for the strengths that the accessory company taught me which still serve me today.

Many of these lessons will also relate to other entrepreneurs, as well.


#5. Branding is essential.

As I grew my lifestyle brand, I recognized the power of good design in the product and in the business materials. Though it would be wonderful to assume that everyone will love a superior product, branding is usually what gets people in the door – or scouting a website.

This brand awareness has helped me develop a consistent color palette, photo selection, and graphic style on my service site and here on the blog.

Plus, I learned the power of the online photo. When it comes to online shopping for products – and even many services – people consider buying based on the quality of the photo because the physical object is not able to be seen in person.


#4. Always take full responsibility.

When your business has your name on it, you learn to take full responsibility for things because at the end of the day, people are buying “you.”

This was not always easy to handle. Outside factors can affect quality, timeliness, and inventory shortages. But no matter what, I was always the end of the customer service line.

This taught me to live with integrity, honesty, and generosity. And in difficult situations, it has also taught me when to stand up for myself.


#3. Leadership trumps delegation.

Growing my team for five years taught me the power of leadership. Rather than delegate to teams with a lot of oversight and micromanaging, I get more accomplished because I believe in the people I work with and let them do their own thing as much as possible.

Yes, I give feedback and guidance, but I try to avoid putting limits on any team member.

I simply encourage them to “make things as amazing as they want!” 


#2. Live with uncertainty.

Early on, I realized there is always an element of uncertainty when you work for yourself. At first, it was terrifying as I had little money and bills to pay every four weeks.

However, over the last six years I have learned to trust the process, do my best, listen to my gut, and let the rest unfold with time.

Speaking of which…


#1. Just Keep Going.

I know, I know. I’ve said this a million times. But I can’t really say it enough. There is no other factor that is as essential to success as the ability to just keep going. I learned how to do this even when things got hard from marathon training, and I have applied it throughout my years in small business ever since.

“Just keep going” is not about doing the same thing forever and ever. It is about following your gut and continuing even when things feel hard. Because you never know what might be just around the corner.


Just Keep Going illustration by Jen Serafini for a secret project I’m launching in September.


One year ago, I heard a message in my gut to close my successful fourteen-year-old accessory company, Jess LC.

Though I had every intention to continue the business, one simple word from my intuition led me down a completely different path. I went from preparing to hire a manager for the business, to closing its doors two months later.

To many people, my decision seemed crazy. But I knew, deep down, that the company was always a bridge to my full-time vocation – helping people design lives with intention.

While I basked in the new full-time career, helping people through consulting and workshops, others continued to ask how I was doing. They were worried that a huge part of me had been lost and that I might feel sad. But in reality I was relieved. I was finally able to be myself!

No longer did I need to describe myself as a “designer,” I got to merge my passion with my career. 

Looking back over the past year, I am simply astounded at how things have progressed. One year ago, I was coming to terms with the fact that a company (that lasted 50% of my life) was ending. Now, that time seems like eons ago. I truly feel like that girl with the jewelry company has vanished.

The biggest lesson that I have learned from this experience is that by letting go of what no longer serves us, we make room for the wonderful things that are to come. 

If I still had Jess LC now, I would not have the time to re-brand a hotel, design a hotel lobby, help clients design their homes with intention, or, to work on the biggest project of my career (which is still under wraps).

I honestly believe none of these amazing opportunities would have come my way had I continued Jess LC. Or, if they did come my way, I would turn them down because I could not handle that many large projects, consulting, and launching eight product collections a year.

My career – and life – was too full to allow my future to enter. 

By making space and doing what my gut told me to do, I let go of one trapeze bar and grasped the next.

In taking the leap of faith, I had no idea what was in store. I just simply knew I needed to let go of Jess LC. Like an acrobat, I needed to hang in the air, suspended for a short moment, before the next bar was within my reach.

Was it a little scary? Surprisingly, no.

I had taken so many leaps of faith in my career by that point that I simply trusted my gut. I also knew my income from consulting and workshops was matching my Jess LC income. So worst case, I’d be in the same financial position.

However, the wonderful opportunities that have occurred in the past year have shocked me. Though I had faith, I had no idea things would play out so wonderfully.

Don’t get me wrong, things are far from perfect and I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the scope of my current projects. But I cannot imagine my life as an accessories designer any longer.

Jess LC was a wonderful experience that taught me a lot about business, life, and faith.

But in closing the company, I understand the importance of letting go when prompted. I now deeply know that the moment in mid-air will pass, and unforeseen potential will come my way.


Now that I’m sharing wine night topics on Fridays, I thought it would be appropriate to share what wine I’d actually be drinking while we chatted.

You know, just in case we ever do meet and you need to order me a drink. (Not that I can think of a reason for you needing to order me a drink. But hey, just in case…)

My new favorite go-to drink is any Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.

My friend Lindsay first introduced me to the well-known Kim Crawford SB, and at first, I wasn’t impressed. Then, after trying it a second time, I was obsessed. 

Thanks to that wine tasting station at Trader Joe’s (my favorite part of the store), I have been introduced to less expensive options that have that distinctive grassy  flavor (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it – twice).

Currently, I’ve been stocking the mini wine fridge with Kono and Picton Bay. But the orange label Trader Joe’s version comes in at $7.99 and is my favorite since it is a slightly stronger grass flavor. If you want other recommendations and professional tasting notes that say more than “grassy,” you can check this article out.

I will say, if you’ve tried other SB’s from other regions around the world they are not the same. Especially in California, those are much milder and don’t have that distinctive grass flavor. According to the Very Wise Wine Man at TJ’s, it’s only a characteristic of the New Zealand SB’s.

In other news, I’m sure I’ll be drinking a glass or two of this tonight to celebrate Mr. Lively’s birthday. Happy birthday, hun! It’s about time you got around to being as old as me.


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

living paycheck to paycheck
August 22nd, 2013     |    Business Advice

LivingPaychecktoPaycheckA few weeks ago, someone in the Morning Club (I searched the feed but couldn’t find the author again), shared a fascinating article about living paycheck to paycheck. The site design leaves much to be desired, but the article is well written and has some interesting points.

If you have some time tonight, you might want to check it out.

In other news, I decided to fight my addition to social checking and email in a new way today. To help get more self-control, I downloaded Self Control. However, the blocking timeframe is over and I still can’t see my email and other sites I hid on Chrome (even after deleting the cache). Now, I have too much self-control! 

BeingPurposeVsDoingPurposeAs I have mentioned before, there are three levels to success, having, doing, and being. According to Power Vs. Force, these three levels look like this:


The ladder of success seems to have three main steps: 

(1) Initially, it’s what one “has” that counts – that is, status depends upon visible signs of material wealth.

(2) As one progresses, status is afforded by what one “does,” rather than what one has – at this level on the ladder, one’s position and activities bring significant social status, but the attraction of social roles loses glamour as one achieves mastery and matures, for it’s what one has accomplished that is important.

(3) And finally, one is concerned only with what one has “become” as a result of life’s experiences – such people have a charismatic “presence” that is the outer manifestation of the grace of their inner power.


Lately,  I have noticed a general shift from the Having to Doing level of success. People are willing to forego the trappings of cushy paychecks or stable careers in order to Do something that is meaningful that might involve risk or humble beginnings.

However, there is a negative ego trap within this Doing level that is tripping a lot of people up. Sure, Doing is more enlightened than the sole pursuit of fame, money, power that comes with the Having level. But the quicksand of the Doing level is the fact that we almost inevitably end up placing our worthiness as a person on the things we Do.

Nothing could demonstrate this fact more than that all-too-common introduction, “Hi, it’s nice to meet you. So, what do you do?”

For those who might not know what they want to Do yet, it creates a huge sense of unease, fear, and unworthiness. 

“What if I never figure out what I’m supposed to Do?” is a paralyzing feeling that I sense from many graduating college students and uninspired corporate workers.

No longer are we just wanting to Have jobs that pay well and give us a nice lifestyle. Many people want to have a sense of fulfillment and purpose from their career, as well. They want to Do something meaningful. They want to Make a difference.

But I can tell you, I spun myself in circles trying to constantly increase my quantity of Do. My little service tracker was a fascinating example of Doing that completely failed.

We cannot get our sense of fulfillment from Doing because we will inevitably feel good for a little while… only to realize that we can never Do “enough” to keep our worthiness forever.

Trust me. I have spent the past eight months wrestling with this level and it doesn’t work. Over time, your ego will inevitably tell you that what you are doing is not enough. It will never be enough.

To break free from this level I had a mini-breakdown. I didn’t really graduate to Being… I simply surrendered from Doing.

And there is a reason that Doing never feels like enough – it is not what “purpose” truly means.

Our purpose is to love one another, serve each other, and share our gifts. 

That is it. End of story.

You might be a concert pianist. Or you might help people plan their weddings. Or, you might help work for a non-profit that brings water to third world countries. Or, you might clean houses.

There are no levels to Being. Big, flashy careers are just as meaningful as the unsexy ones. In fact, careers are completely irrelevant in Being. You never define yourself and your success in the Being realm by the thing that you Do. You define your success by how well you are Being of loving service.

No matter where you are in your career, that is all life ever asks you to Do. We invent any other purpose or desire that we think we “need” to Do in order for our egos to feel successful.

On the bright side, experiencing the level of Doing has some great advantages. First, it might be incredibly difficult to leap from Having to Being, without first going through Doing. Second, Doing allows you to overcome your ego’s resistance to hard work and risk. It helps build habits that will serve you in the Being stage. But Doing is simply a stop along the way to Being.

We are not meant to spend our lives validating our worth based on our output.

The most convincing argument you will hear from your ego, as you contemplate this shift in perception, is the thought that if you really moved on to Being, you would stop Doing anything of value. Without the drive to find meaning and worthiness in Doing, we might become lazy slobs who are friendly and loving, but ineffective.

I promise you, that will not happen. When we live from Being there is a lightness about life. There is an effortlessness that exists in the world when we follow our intuition and simply aim to serve wherever we may be needed in the present moment. Life gets simpler. New opportunities come our way.

Gandhi, Jesus, Buddha, Mother Theresa, and Martin Luther King Jr. did not stick around the level of Doing. They transcended to Being and literally made a world of difference.

You will still take action if you follow your gut and live in Being. I promise.

It is simply up to us to go through these stages and wrestle with our egos long enough that we eventually put down the Having and Doing and simply try, day by day, to Be.


photo shot by LLB Creative for JessLively.com
when to spend more money on clothes
August 21st, 2013     |    StyleWardrobe

Today, I want to share a branding concept that I have applied to clothing purchases, in order to know when to spend more money.

Also, please don’t be frightened by the really intense straight hair. I got a keratin treatment for my frizzy hair and I have to wear it stick-straight for three days. (During these three days every season Mr. Lively likes to joke that he gets to see his ‘other’ wife, Jessica.)

Thanks, Rachel, for the inspiration!

fall business in the city dates
August 21st, 2013     |    Business Advice


Tonight is the last summer Business in the City! If you are in Chicago and want to come hang out, meet other business owners, and ask questions, please join us. It is free to attend (and even if you RSVP and find that it’s full already, you can still attend).

Oh, and did I mention that there are free snacks? 

As usual, the meet-up is from 6:30-8:00 at Next Door.

We have also our dates set for the fall, as well. So if you want to come to any – or all – of these dates, mark them on your calendar!

August 21st, 6:30-8:00 @ Next Door (please RSVP to attend)

September 18th, 6:30-8:00 @ Next Door (please RSVP to attend)

October 16th, 6:30-8:00 @ Next Door (please RSVP to attend)

November 20th, 6:30-8:00 @ Next Door (please RSVP to attend)













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