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linda’s pumpkin dip & fall decor
September 30th, 2013     |    Style

LindasPumpkinDipAndFallDecorFunny story… this morning I wrote about how I had a crazy packed day and that I came to a peaceful acceptance of this fact. Well, it seems like the moment that I welcomed the busy-ness… it all faded away. A few appointments and consulting sessions got rescheduled, and suddenly my day is far more open than expected.

The second part of the passage I shared mentions that if you surrender to what you have, “more will rush your way.” Perhaps my acceptance of being busy actually allowed things to open up?

Or maybe I’m looking into it too deeply? Either way, I’ll take it.

Anyways, back to the topic at hand. I’ve been tweaking things a bit in our living room to honor my favorite season: fall.

(Sidenote: Over the years, I have noticed people usually love their birthday season the most. So considering that my birthday coming up in October, I feel like it is inevitable that I should love autumn.)

Anyways, here’s what I’ve changed:

The pillows. Since I went neutral in the living room, it is pretty easy to adjust the room for the seasons. I swapped out the coral pillow for an old orange pillow cover along with a grey textured one that I use in the winter, too.


If you can ignore the dozens of cords snaking down the wall, you’ll see that the plaid blankets, pumpkin, and owl add a little fall to the bookshelf.


I kept things simple on the fireplace mantle by pairing an old grapevine pumpkin with a mini pumpkin.


And of course, the fall wouldn’t be complete with out my mom’s trusty pumpkin dips.

Healthy or unhealthy, you have a pumpkin dip to suit your needs.


  • One 8 oz cool whip
  • 1 box instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (nutmeg will work in a pinch)
  • 15 oz canned pumpkin
  • Gingerbread men or graham crackers
  1. Thaw cool whip. Mix pumpkin, dry vanilla pudding mix, and pumpkin pie spice.
  2. Fold in thawed cool whip and serve.


  • 4 C confectioners sugar
  • 16 oz canned pumpkin
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • Gingerbread men or graham crackers
  1. Beat cream cheese and sugar.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients.



wanting what we have
September 30th, 2013     |    LifeThink About It

SurrenderToWhatYouHaveToday I found myself kinda irked by my packed schedule. I have a lot of projects that I want to work on, and not enough time to make a much forward motion on any of them.

But this morning’s passage in Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts was just the thought-changing perspective I needed. Rather than think about how my day as “too busy,” I can choose to see it as something that I want.

Looking at the bigger picture of my week, after today I have two completely open days to work on my projects before heading to Boston and New Hampshire for a quick little vacation with Mr. Lively (his belated birthday present). And that is a pretty nice way to wrap up a short work-week.

Do you have something in your life at the moment which you are resisting, too?

Is there a way that you can look at it as exactly what you want right now?


should i keep or return this rug?
September 27th, 2013     |    Life

ShouldIKeepOrReturnThisRugToday on Wineday Friday, I need your advice on whether I should keep or return this new gray clover patterned rug.

I got it on RugsUSA for the dining table, but it was way too overpowering when paired with the striped living room rug and entryway patterned rug. So instead, I have been testing it out in the bedroom.

GrayWhiteRugOn its own, it’s not too bad. I like the pattern and the quality is great.

However, I am not so sure about whether it takes away from the specialness of the wallpaper and makes things a bit too “crazy.”

RugInBedroomBy the way, I am also replacing the gray blanket and striped sheets which, after three years of constant use, have seen better days. I’ll be going much more neutral – maybe all white or something soothing and simple (and easily bleached/cleaned).

Meanwhile, I put the old bedroom rug, a lovely light gray one from my previous apartment, in the writing room.


I not sure if my eyes are simply adjusting to the new dark gray rug in the bedroom, or if it really is a good fit, once I have new bedding.

What do you think? Should I keep or return the dark gray bedroom rug?


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

creating an essentials bag
September 26th, 2013     |    StyleWardrobe

CreatingAnEssentailsBagThough I don’t have many purses, I do like to match my purse to my outfit. Due to this daily bag rotation, I have tried over the years to create an essentials bag that could corral the smaller items I use in one place.

In theory, my essentials bags were always helpful. But I either stopped swapping them from bag to bag after about a week, or I would never even open the essentials bag to begin with, which rendered the whole concept useless.

However, this past month I’ve finally successfully created an essentials bag that I actually use and continue to grab before I head out the door.

For me, I found the following guidelines helpful:

EssentialBagGuidelinesBack in the day, I used to include everything under the sun – Tide sticks, sewing kits, bug spray, the kitchen sink, you name it. But really, I don’t ever use those things, and they just made the bag bulkier and less likely to fit in all of my purses.

So if you consider making an essentials bag and use a Tide stick religiously, be sure to include one! But I don’t suggest adding a mini flashlight unless you find yourself stuck in the dark on a regular basis.

By literally paring back to these five essentials, I have exactly what I need and use daily.

TheEssentialsAs far as the essentials bag itself, I am now using this little J.Crew pouch. In its past life it was a super-duper sized business card holder for Alt Summit. But really, I don’t need a huge business card caddy day-to-day. Instead, a smaller one from college works better and fits within the pouch.

Now, when I need to head out the door, I just toss my sunglasses, keys, wallet, and essentials pouch into a purse and leave.



ClutchEssentialsBagDoes anyone else have an essentials pouch? If so, did you have trouble finding the right mix of products and bag selection, too?


we already have what we want
September 25th, 2013     |    Quotable


Simple, but profound.

I think it flows pretty well back to the water sparkle metaphor.

There’s no need for us to punch the air. We already have everything we need within.



One day while sitting by the lake I had a spiritual a-ha moment.

Though it might sound a little strange, I connected a lot of what I’ve read from spiritual sources to the light-reflected sparkles on Lake Michigan.

Weird? Maybe, but stick with me.

While staring at the water on the horizon, I connected the idea of universality (the idea that we are all separate and yet connected to one another) to the billions of water droplets in the lake.

Technically, there are tons of individual units of water within an otherwise indivisible lake. This is like us as people, too, but we have a hard time recognizing our connection is truly thatclose because our egos want to believe in separateness and specialness.

I’m special. I’m unique. I’m different. These are the echos of our ego and much of modern society.

Though there may be some truth to the uniqueness that our egos desperately cling to, we all are inextricably linked beyond what we comprehend – at least most of the time.

The differences we have are miniscule compared to what we have in common. It’s like a water droplet saying it’s “so different” because it’s in the harbor, instead of outside the harbor. In reality, water droplets in both parts of the lake are only a few dozen feet apart. They look the same, they have most of the same chemistry, etc.

I also noticed that some parts of the water sparkled, some remained neutral, and some reflected shadows. Just like the photo you see above.

What fascinated me most were the sparkles along the horizon that seemed to glisten like LED lights on a Christmas tree. It was spectacular to watch all of the little bursts of light bounce around the lake.

To me, the sparkling water symbolized the essence of what spiritual teachings mean when they say we need to “be still.”

The glistening patches of water didn’t do anything very different than the darker water patches. They didn’t “force” themselves to sparkle, they simply reflected the light above.

The shining water showed me it was up to us as humans to simply reflect the light, connectedness, and power that is within our intuition or spirit at all times.

We don’t need to go out into the world forcing things to happen. We simply need to share our light, and in doing so we naturally harness the power within ourselves to live to our fullest potential.

No striving. No ego. Just reflecting the peace and presence that is within ourselves at all times.

For a while, I thought this was the entire lesson the water had to teach me. But yesterday I gleaned a new understanding from this water metaphor and how it relates to controlling others.

While Mr. Lively and I took Franklin on a morning walk, we saw a man standing in front of the water sparkles. At first, I thought he was practicing Tai Chi, but I soon realized he was actually practicing his boxing skills.

Seeing this man punching the air in the direction of the water sparkles immediately reminded me of what our egos look like when it they force things to happen without consulting our deeper intuition for advice.

It looked difficult and ultimately pointless. The man by the water, in my water sparkle metaphor, was completely unproductive. He was simply wasting time trying to “make something happen.”

At first, I thought this was the end of the metaphor. But then I got another lesson about that boxer that directly related to my own life.

Though I am well-meaning, I can have the tendency to try to help people in my personal life (okay, let’s be real, I’m talking about Mr. Lively here) so strongly that it can sometimes border on controlling.

If I have a suggestion that might help him “sparkle” in some area of his life, I can get really pushy and/or frustrated when he doesn’t follow my suggestions.

Do I come from a good place? Yes, at least in the beginning. I truly do want to help him in any possible way that I can, but that doesn’t mean that I can force him to do anything that might help him in some area of his life just because I think that it could help.

In reality, that boxer punching at the water is actually me when I’m putting too much emphasis on what I think he should or shouldn’t do in some part of his life.

I keep thinking that if I tell him what I think he should do long enough, that he’ll realize I’m right and just do it. But really, I’ve just separated myself from the water by going on land and air punching.

A completely useless action when it comes to making water sparkle in this scenario.

Instead, I would be better off staying in the water and sparkling myself. Sure, I can make suggestions. But more importantly, I need to simply model what I suggest and let him figure out – at his own pace – what is best.

Punching the air to make the water sparkle is as ridiculous as trying to force someone we love to do what we think they should do.


photo via


Tomorrow I have a new tip/clip from the Connect with People chapter of the Business with Intention Workshop At Home.

In this advice-packed video chapter (which totals 40 minutes), I talk with Alaina Kaczmarski and Danielle Moss, founders of TheEverygirl.com about marketing and social media.

These ladies were marketing pros when it came to launching their popular Gen Y website, which has been consistently ranked in Forbes’ top sites for women since they launched, so I knew I wanted to pick their brains for this Workshop At Home chapter.

In tomorrow’s clip, we discuss an important question to consider when using social media: how are you going to help people with your social media strategy? Jump below to sign up to get the WILW email.


Feedback on the Workshop At Home

By the way, the feedback from the very first Workshop At Home participants is coming in!

I could not be more excited to see how this workshop is helping real-life business owners make the intentional decisions they need to grow or launch their businesses.

Here’s what people are saying:


“Business With Intention Workshop at Home was like a trip through Candy Land but sweeter!

Jess and her panel of expertly chosen entrepreneurs guided me through the forest of ambiguity into clarity with the purpose equation. I learned step by step how to articulate my vision into words and think practically about expectations not just for myself but also for my intended audience.  As a result, I have a lot of work to do!

Each video and workbook exercise was a step down a magical path toward business sensibility. The breadth of topics covered is thorough; the questions are thought-provoking, and the entire series is simply brilliant!

I now have tactical tools to help me reach my goals. Jess has created a roadmap I can use for my blog, a business or any future adventure.”

– Lizzy, Kitchen Nomad

“I attended a live Business with Intention Workshop in the first month of taking my business full-time, and it was instrumental in building the foundation for my business. It’s difficult to translate a live workshop experience into something you can work through at home, but Jess has done just that!

The Business with Intention Workshop at Home covers everything you need to know to start or refine your business and build it with intention. Through a series of videos featuring guests and case studies from Jess’s work, you experience the different ideas and perspectives you would get from a live workshop, which is what I think makes this program truly unique.

I would recommend the Workshop at Home to any new business owner (or soon-to-be business owner!) who wants to create a business that is not only profitable, but also has a purpose and works for your lifestyle.”

– Lisa Butler, Elembee Creative  


“After following Jess on her blog and WILW newsletters for some time I was delighted to hear she is now offering an at home workshop! Not only was the flexibility of the go-at-your-own pace perfect for me, a woman who juggles many titles from  mom to boss on any given day, location wise this gave me the opportunity to see Jess in action as living Guatemala her face to face workshops are less accessible.

The best part about the workshop is that Jess sets relaxed and non-threatening vibe to business strategy. It’s as if you are sitting down with a bunch of like-minded girlfriends in your living room to share trade secrets and become mutually successful. 

Though the workshop is aimed at new business owners, I was thrilled to have Jess´ workshop to aid me as I take on a new chapter of my already established small business. 

The Workshop At Home proved to be a great refresher in some areas, and hugely insightful in new areas such as social media networking tips, time management advice, and help on how to continue to look towards the future. After dedicating a day of my time I felt like I was more prepared to prioritize my life as and am excited to enter this next phase of my business with intention!” 

– Lindsey H., El Cuartito Cafe (Guatemala)


“I am just starting to figure out how to start my business and was looking for direction. Watching these videos and going through the workbook not only made me feel inspired, but gave me real direction, and asked so many questions that I didn’t realize I needed to answer yet AND showed me how to answer them.

Jess gave examples from many situations that I can draw from to see how real people are using her advice. It also felt so authentic, like we were all just having a conversation over coffee and not at all like a scripted presentation you have to sit through at work. I now feel so much more prepared to start my journey.”

– Lindsay S., soon-to-be business owner 


If you’d like more info on the Workshop At Home or to order, please hop over here for all the details!



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.


giving an old coat new life
September 24th, 2013     |    StyleWardrobe

GivingAnOldCoatNewLifeFour years ago, I invested in a great fall coat. It was a wool-cashmere splurge that I got on sale at J.Crew.

Over the years I faithfully wore it into the ground. So much so, that by this fall the lining looked like spaghetti squash.


Rather than purchase a new coat of a similar quality that could have run close to $300+, I decided to buy some new lining and bring this guy back to life for $120.

I picked a bright fuchsia lining at the fabric store and brought it to my trusty dry cleaner/tailor extraordinaire for re-lining, dry cleaning, and pocket repair.

NewlyLinedCoatGoodbye boring, whisper-thin beige lining. Hello, sturdier (and warmer) bright pink.

It’s kinda like a mullet coat – in a good way. Business on the outside, margarita night on the inside.


After completing this project, I highly recommend re-lining an old, high-quality coat. But be sure to give the project to someone you trust to do a good job with the repairs.

And remember, you can always have a little fun with the color!

new home tour on pretty fluffy
September 23rd, 2013     |    DecorLifeStyle

NewHomeTouronPrettyFluffyLast week Franklin (and the apartment) got a feature over on the go-to site for stylish pet owners, Pretty Fluffy.

The home tour was shot by Kim – which really just meant it was a fun day of photography, home-working, and trying to get Franklin to stay still.


I always love Kim’s work, and it was awesome to see her home tour photos compared to images from the Design*Sponge home tour a while back.

There are new views of the apartment that weren’t shown before, and there are design updates around the apartment, like the guest room, which look so much better now.


Click to see the home tour.

Enjoy the new shots of the home – and the tricks I use to stash all of Franklin’s stuff around the house while keeping things clean and cute at the same time.

Click to see the home tour.


PS – There is “Kim photo inception” going on in the first picture. The photo on the nightstand is from our wedding, which Kim also shot. I wonder if that happens a lot and I just never noticed it… 

photos by, via
beating “the mondays”
September 23rd, 2013     |    Life

BeatingTheMondaysToday I woke up with a case of “the Mondays.”

I had a hard time waking up early for the private victory, checked email and found not-so-great news, realized I have way more work to do than I thought, and couldn’t get any good lighting for a post I wanted to share today.

Though none of these things was terrible by any stretch of the imagination, I kinda wished I could just go back to bed and call it a day.

Of course, I didn’t go back to bed. Instead, I thought about skipping today on the blog.

“No one will notice if I don’t write today,” my ego rationalized.

But that wasn’t true. I would notice. I would know that I threw in the towel, rather than showed up today just because I wasn’t in a “great mood.”

So instead, I took a page from The Slight Edge.

The book’s entire premise can be summed up like this: The difference between successful people (in whatever context you define success) and unsuccessful people is the ability to follow through on simple actions, which over time lead to exponentially positive results.

Here’s what it looks like visually.


Simple premise, simple actions, powerful results.

Because the positive actions are easy to do, they are also easy not to do. And today, those “easy” actions, like doing the PV and writing on the blog, felt hard. That’s why my ego wanted me to skip blogging and do as little as possible today.

“It’s not a big deal… It doesn’t really matter… Just keep thinking about yourself and take it easy the rest of the day, you deserve it… It’s Monday.

Though it was tempting to just give into the easy day that my ego presented, I decided to dedicate my day to helping you instead. I decided that the least I could do is help anyone else out there who might be battling the same “Monday” feeling.

So even though I had “the Mondays,” I got up and did the private victory. I decided to face the not-so-great news with a more optimistic outlook, and I decided to write this post to help anyone else who might be feeling the urge to make any “easy not to do” choices.

Was it uncomfortable to choose to face the day in a positive way, even though I didn’t feel like it? For sure.

But you know what? Just writing this post, to hopefully help you, has helped me feel better already.

If you happen to a case of “the Mondays,” too, I hope you go out there and pay this slight edge action forward! 


wineday friday: hey girl
September 20th, 2013     |    Wineday Friday


Big news, guys. I finally came up with a shorter tagline for “what we’d talk about if we were having wine together Fridays.” From now on, I’ll refer to it as Wineday Friday.

Good? Good.

Today’s topic is about Mr. Ben Franklin. As you saw yesterday, he is a rather photogenic pup who likes to be in the thick of things.

So if you were over at my house drinking wine on the couch, you’d probably get the following pick-up lines from the little guy.








Thank you for reading and have a great weekend! 


bringing the patio into fall
September 19th, 2013     |    DecorStyle

BringingThePatioIntoTheFallNow that the weather is getting chillier, it’s time to do more than just break out the booties.

It’s time to “autumn-ize” the patio.

(It may not be not a real word, but it seems like something Mr. Autumn Man would say.)

To do this, we swapped the regular flowers which were slowly dying…

WideShotPatioFor very inexpensive yellow mums from Home Depot.

YellowMumsCute. Simple. And Mr. Lively’s favorite color.


We’re also using our plaid stadium blankets to stay warm. You can find great some deals on these vintage guys on Etsy.

Franklin also seems to prefer the fall, too.

FranklinFallPatioDoesn’t he look good with plaid?













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