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what makes a great podcast?
October 31st, 2013     |    Life


As I prepare for the new podcast, I want to take the time to hear what you think makes a great podcast.

Any helpful suggestions or fun ideas you have to share would be greatly appreciated!



Thank you so much for your help!

when to listen and when to act
October 30th, 2013     |    Business Advice

WhenToListenAndWhenToActOver the past week and a half, I had what could be considered a “really bad week.” And at the same time the “really bad week” led to a dozen or so a-ha moments that will massively impact my career over the next year.

Starting on Monday and Tuesday of last week, I noticed that I felt exhausted and lacked enthusiasm for a lot of things in my business – which was very unusual. I mentioned this slump on Facebook to see if other people were also feeling this way, and Regina P. pointed out that it could be due to Mercury Retrograde.

Not knowing what Mercury Retrograde was, I looked it up.  It turns out that astrologers believe that Mercury Retrograde wreaks havoc in all sorts of different ways. Though I wasn’t completely convinced that my energy was being zapped by a planet’s orbit, I did think it could have had to do with PMS and the gloomy weather we’ve been having at the very least.

But once other difficult situations popped up on Wednesday and Thursday… I was starting to get suspicious of this Mercury in Retrograde thing.

Then Friday happened. First thing in the morning I lightly bumped my head which would normally not be a big deal at all. But because my neck was bending as it happened, the pressure on my forehead shot down to a disc in my lower neck and knocked it out of alignment. Just an innocent little bump caused immense pain and landed me on the couch for the majority of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (thank God for Tiger Balm).

After such a dismal week, finding myself immobile on the couch was disheartening to say the least.

However, two positives did come out of this couch-bound situation. The first was that I watched hours of You Tube interviews with thought leaders that I admire. I watched Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, Ramit Sethi, Jonathan Fields, Chase Jarvis, and more.

Because I wasn’t able to act on anything in my business, literally, I was forced to listen

And it turned out to ten times more productive than if I had taken action without listening first.

Rather than operate and make business decisions based on my “in the trenches” perspective, I was able to elevate myself to a higher vantage point by listening to successful people speak from their experience about what is most important, what is essential, what is next.

By simply clicking an interesting link from the recommended videos on the You Tube sidebar again and again, I was able to create my own personalized MBA on the topics I care about with the “professors” and “lectures” that I crave. 

I highly recommend trying this on YouTube. Simply search YouTube for someone you admire and would like to learn from. Then, watch the videos that appear and then let the recommended video sidebar on the right guide you from there. Overall, I found the longer interviews were more powerful than the quick 3-5 minute clips. So if you have a chance to devote a few hours, I would go for the deeper content first.

The other blessing that this whole “Mercury in Retrograde week” presented was the idea that I can be consciously choosing weeks in the year that involve deep listening.

It turns out that MR lasts about three weeks and occurs three times a year. Rather than look at this time as a negative, I would actually like to devote these seasons to listening, learning, and absorbing. I would like to let them be a time for reflection, tying up loose strings, and carefully contemplating the actions I’d like to take going forward – all of which happen to be the positive side of the MR coin.

Historically, I tend to get an idea and try to implement the very next day. But after my experience this week, I now feel a sense of calmness and peace from creating three-week seasons to clarify. In the future, I plan to clear my schedule of regular business activities – as much as possible – during these seasons to make sure I can have that time to read, listen, and think deeply.

At this point, whether Mercury Retrograde is really a “thing” or not is irrelevant to me personally. Either way, I am now convinced that businesses improve when business owners include seasons for deep listening.


May something wonderful happen to you today,



Thinking of doing a Grow with Intention session with me?

I’m so glad I took the leap and invested in a business coaching session with Jess. I walked away with a strong purpose statement, a much better understanding of myself and the direction I want my business to go.

Alexandra Evjen, AVE Style



Reader Spotlight 

Jess Creatives wants to engage the community through outstanding and creative graphic design and photography with a Christ-like perspective. I love being able to help my clients improve their brand with print and digital promotional materials, as well as websites and social media.

Jessica Freeman, Jess Creatives

October 29th, 2013     |    Food


Since we all know that I’m not the cook in the Lively household, I don’t often offer up many recipes here on the blog. But Jen on the other hand totally knows how to whip up quick and easy recipes (along with some amazing styling). So I’ve asked her to share a quick and easy adult treat for this Halloween. Enjoy!

This Halloween drink is based on of an old classic, the Dark and Stormy. To make this drink feel a little bit more festive, I changed the name and I upped the spooky factor by not mixing it right away and garnishing with candy. I mean you gotta have candy on Halloween, right?

The best part about this drink is it’s super easy to make and has a ton of flavor right off the bat. So if you are having a few friends over this Halloween it will be easy to keep this cocktail flowing without having to over-think it. Or if you’re like me and plan on playing some scary movies, dressing your dog up like Dracula, all while you hand out candy to the littles in the neighborhood…this drink will truly make the night complete.



Dark & Spooky

recipe makes 1 cocktail

What you need:
1/2 CUP Ginger Beer (I used Fentimans Traditional Ginger Beer)
Juice of 1 Lime, plus one wedge
1 (OZ) shot of dark rum (I used Myers’s Dark Rum)

Fill your favorite glass with ice. Then use the juice of one lime into the glass, pour ginger beer and then pour shot of rum on top (don’t stir until ready to drink). Garnish with lime wedge, fun candy and a stir stick. Bottoms up!

Dark-and-Spooky Recipe // Lemon Drop Love via Jess Lively


This post is contributed by Jen of Lemon Drop Love.

WhateverIsExposedToTheLightBecomesLightRecently, I’ve been struggling with a difficult friendship situation. And while part of me wanted to just separate without any real resolution for a while, I knew that wasn’t the most True or powerful way to handle the situation.

Though it can feel scary, it is far better to take the advice of St. Paul, which I discovered in The Power of Now.

Instead of deciding to remove myself without full explanation, it was better to unveil the my fears and egoic motivations plainly.

Now that they are shared, I no longer have anything to hide, protect, or project.

The shadows have disappeared. 

And you know what? I also feel a whole lot lighter mentally and spiritually.


WhatWouldYouBuyFromOprahsAuctionYears ago, I remember watching an Oprah Show episode where a woman bought a pair of Oprah’s shoes at auction so that she could “stand in her shoes” whenever she wanted. It was a touching story that has stuck with me for a long time.

Now, we all have the chance to do something similar. On November 2nd, Oprah is having a mega auction of pieces from several of her homes.

Though the collection of pieces will go for mega bucks, it’s kinda fun to browse the eclectic group of items. Artwork, antiques, portraits, and even the occasional scooter grace the 16 pages of luxe items.

Bob Green, Oprah’s famous trainer, also has a varied mix of items including a jungle gym, an antique Chinese wedding bed, and fossils.

The items above are the ones that I would purchase if I was a millionaire. The chairs would definitely be getting a new look, of course. Perhaps new stain and some coral fabric. And who wouldn’t want a pink Oprah scooter?

So now, I have to ask, what would you buy from Ms. Winfrey’s auction?


Thank you for reading and have a great weekend! 

photos via
the way you think about adulthood
October 24th, 2013     |    SpiritThink About It


finally! a campaign dresser
October 24th, 2013     |    Decor

FinallyACampaignDresserThe writing room (now known as the never-quite-finished-writing-room) got a new update.

For the first time ever, I have a legitimate campaign dresser (okay, chest)! I’ve been wanting one for years, but never found the right one. So instead, I have just collected campaign-like pieces.

SemiLikeCampaignFurnitureThe nightstand on the other side of the bed was originally a burgundy stain with bad hardware sitting on the street corner with a “free” sign taped to the front. After few coats of white glossy paint and some gold spray paint, he had a whole new look. But this piece lacks the traditional campaign metal hardware on the corners and the recessed drawer pulls.

Just to the right of the nightstand you can see a bit of the writing room desk. This desk was a Craigslist find and got a similar makeover with coats of white paint and again, gold painted drawer pulls. Though similar to the campaign chest, it was not quite there either.

Meanwhile the nightstand below, discovered in the dumpster, was found exactly as you see it here. It had a rubbed gold finish and a cream marble top.

OriginalNightstandThough it was nice, I was delighted to swap it for this new pretty chest.


Hello, lovely.

This is a piece from Meg Made (now my second piece from Meg’s shop).

Since buying my first dresser from Meg and Joe, Mr. Lively and I have become friends with them. Which is wonderful. But it also makes it hard to not want to buy every single piece that they sell. Which means their new store in Chicago is both thrilling and dangerous for me personally.

Though I’d like to say that the writing room is “complete,” there is another project I have up my sleeve which will really finish it off… at least until I think of something new to do.


For today’s What I’m Learning Wednesday, I want to share a peek behind the Business with Intention Workshop At Home. Taking the live workshops and turning them into an online and physical hybrid workshop experience that you see above was a big undertaking.

In fact, it took a whole team to make it happen.

So here’s what went on behind the scenes – and the talented people who made it all possible.

First, I want to thank the guys at Polymyth that made the three hours of video content possible.


Franklin and I had many meetings with these guys, particularly Dan and Derek.

Dan (holding Olive, Franklin’s girlfriend) has watched these videos so many times in post-production that I think he might have them memorized. And Derek (in the gray shirt) was incredible at directing on set and getting the voice overs and sound just right in post-production.

I seriously can’t thank these guys enough. I’m still in awe at how professional the videos are (you can see some sample content here).

Next, it’s time to thank the ladies that made the videos so pretty!

BehindTheScenesPrettyErin did our makeup, Liz of Sequins and Stripes styled my wardrobe (a dream come true!).

Meanwhile, Caitlin of Caitlin Creative ran the show – she took these behind the scenes photos, made sure I was wearing the right outfit at the right time, and everyone was where they needed to be.

Though the video makes it look clean and streamlined, the set was filled with lights, cameras, and boom mics.


The intros to each video were taped in my apartment. But you would never suspect that this is what was going on over at the dining table.


And last but not least, we can’t forget the ladies who helped beautify the workbook and workshop tote bag.


Jackie of Sincerely, Jackie designed the beautiful workbook and Jen Serafini illustrated this amazing Just Keep Going tote.

When it comes to what I’ve learned from this experience, here are my top five takeaways:

1. It will take longer than you expect. So double (or triple) your expected turnaround time.
2. Your team is everything. Pick the people you love working with.

3. Get people to help you cull through the raw video, it can take a long time to find all the items that need editing. So the more eyes, the better!

4. Find a way to make your offering unique.

5. Appreciate your hard work. It is not easy to launch something like this, so don’t take it for granted once it is all finished!


May something wonderful happen to you today,



Thinking about ordering the Workshop At Home

As a brand new business owner, I’m currently working to gather all of the resources I can to make this leap of faith a smart one. Having been a follower of Jess’s for quite some time now, I’ve come to really value her voice. 

So when I caught wind of her Workshop at Home series, it was a no-brainer. Now that I’m knee-deep in the videos and working my way steadily through the workbook, I can safely say that I feel on track, like I’m exactly where I need to be – and that’s saying something compared to where I was three months ago!

Her presentation is flawless and the additional insights offered by her guests brought the workshop full circle. I’m learning from the best of the best, and the tips and tricks that I now have in my back pocket are truly invaluable as I continue down the entrepreneurial path. Jess has given me the confidence to never look back.

Carrie Waller, Dream Green DIY  (You can see Carrie’s full review here.)



It’s time for a new round Reader Spotlights entries!

If you love reading What I’m Learning Wednesday and have a small business, please email hello(at)with-intention.com with the subject line “READER SPOTLIGHT.” In your email please include: two sentences about your business, your full name, and your business name/web url. 

Photo one and ten taken by Jen of Lemon Drop Love

10HabitsToHelpYouBeMorePresentPart2Today I’d like to share the second set of habits I have found that can help us be more present.


Habit 6: Listen for silence.


In The Power of Now, Mr. Tolle suggests listening for moments of silence in-between sounds we hear or in-between words in conversations. By listening for the gaps in the sounds we hear day-to-day we need to be vigilant and focused… in other words, we need to be present.

Last week, I was curious to try this idea in New York, a place known to be loud.

I was shocked at how easy it was to find those moments of silence – even when there were many people around!

In particular, I found the quietness of the subway in the morning most interesting. Had I not paid attention to the silence, I never would have noticed how quiet the subway is in the morning in-between trains. Instead, my mind’s internal chatter would have covered up the silent pauses and I would never have believed that so much silence could exist in such a crowded place.


Habit 7: Exercise mindfully.


This habit is a powerful one. Much like mediation, mindful exercise like yoga, running, or walking can help us calm our internal dialogue and divert our attention to our body in the present moment.

By turning our attention our movements, we are more likely to experience presence.



Habit 8: Use the Calm.com app.


Calm.com is a great app that provides 2-20 minute meditations. You can use it on your phone or on your desktop, and the meditations can really help you connect back to the present moment when things feel stressful or you need to refocus.

And of course, other similar meditation tools or practices can be helpful, this one just happens to be my favorite.



Habit 9: Monitor your body.


This suggestion comes from The Power of Now. Mr. Tolle suggests checking in with how we feel internally in order to discover how present we are at any given moment.

When doing this practice, I’ve been surprised at how frequently I notice a slight sense of unease or discomfort. Mr. Tolle describes that uneasy feeling as the body’s reaction to non-present thinking.

By putting attention on the uneasy feeling inside, we are able to accept it and ultimately to breathe through it until it retreats.



Habit 10: Clean your home.


Last but not least, our external environments affect our internal environments. So if we want to feel calm, peaceful, and present in our lives, we can help increase that presence by decluttering our physical space.

Because I use the same space as an office, living room, dining room, and kitchen, I make sure to put away work supplies before dinner and I clean the kitchen before work (at least most of the time).

If you haven’t tried to declutter in order to gain presence in a multi-use workspace, I highly recommend it!


Though these habits have worked for me, they may not be ideal for everyone. On the other hand, we cannot assume that our current habits will maintain our focus forever.

As I mentioned in the first postno matter what we do, we cannot make one change and have presence forever. Over time, new interruptions or routines will pop up in our lives.

Distraction is a moving target. 

So our job, as presence-seeking beings, is not to find a “silver bullet” that dissolves our distractions forever, but to realize that we will need to remain aware of what interrupts our presence on a regular basis and make changes accordingly.

Part One – Habits 1-5 to Help You Be More Present


it’s time to quit waiting for…
October 22nd, 2013     |    Quotable


Lately I have been delaying two projects. But enough is enough. It is time to stop waiting for any of the reasons above to take place and just get on with it already!

Has anyone else been putting something off, too? We can overcome the resistance we feel and, as Steven Pressfield says, “put our ass where our heart wants to be.”

Let’s do this.

ask for what you wish for
October 21st, 2013     |    Think About ItVideo

Today I’d like to share two stories from the past 72 hours and have completely surprised me and demonstrated the power of conjuring (sharing your desires), which is an exercise from Mama Gena’s Guide to Womanly Arts.

I hope that my recent experiences inspire you to make a conjuring list or even fulfill a conjuring list for someone else!


PS – Does anyone know how to make my camera lens stop readjusting throughout the video? I got a new camera and can’t figure out how to make the zoom stay still during videos.

clearing out the clutter
October 21st, 2013     |    Exfoliating

ClearingOutTheClutterDuring transition times, I get the urge to purge my possessions along with the other changes taking place.

And with the recent shift in my content creation, I found myself itching to tackle the guest room closet – otherwise called “the attic.”

Little did you know that lurking behind the pretty gallery wall, there is a deep, dark cave we use for extra storage.


Because we don’t have a garage or storage unit, this closet holds many, many things.



I always allowed it to be crowded because I didn’t have an external storage unit.

Yet I used to get stressed just looking at it – let alone when actually trying to get something. I hated going in there to get special occasion dresses, With Intention workbooks, luggage, bedding, and my writing pillow.

So a few weeks ago, I decided that instead of living with this homemade “storage unit,” I could exfoliate to the point where the closet could simply be a closet. Filled with useful things, but without the added frustration inducing clutter.

I thought about doing a Throw Out 100 Things challenge (exfoliate/donate/sell/throw out a total of 100 items I don’t need/use/love), but I decided instead to simply go through the closet and just exfoliate what was necessary.

Here’s what got exfoliated (excluding the brass trunk).

ExfoliatedClutterThough I don’t have an exact total, I’m guessing this exfoliation batch included about 70-100 items. But more importantly, it included all the things we really didn’t need, use, or love as much as I previously thought we did.

Once I had this mega pile, I separated out the donations, recycling, and trash. I was also able to give a batch of these items to our friends, Meg and Joe (which is always the most fulfilling part of an exfoliation).

And most importantly, what is remaining in our closet is actually manageable!


It took a bit of organizing and included the upper shelves, too.


Now, I don’t feel that anxious feeling when I open the door. I actually look forward to going in there just to admire the progress.

If anyone else has a similar “attic” in their home or apartment that is causing similar stress, I hope this little before and after can help get you pumped to exfoliate and enjoy your storage space, too!














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