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future letter check-in
November 26th, 2013     |    Think About It


Around Thanksgiving every year, I like to re-read my Future Letter and give thanks for all of the items that have come true.

This reflection also gives me a chance to refocus and move forward on any Future Letter activities that can still be completed this year.

So if you wrote a Future Letter earlier this year, feel free to pull it out and see how things are going! And if you haven’t written a Future Letter before, feel free to spend some time thinking about what you might like to include in a Future Letter this coming January (or even write one now!).


Over the next few days our parents and my youngest brother, Mike, will be in town for Thanksgiving. Since we live across the country (Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Chicago), this is a rare treat.

While I’m spending time with them and taking the remainder of the week off, I’ll still be posting little updates on Facebook for the remainder of the week.

Thank you so much for reading and Happy Thanksgiving!


super easy holiday wreath
November 22nd, 2013     |    DecorWineday Friday


This weekend Mr. Lively and I are getting a Christmas tree and pulling out the holiday decor! Picking a Christmas tree is one of the top five most exciting moments for me every year, so to say I am excited is an understatement.

And though there is much to do before our families arrive for Thanksgiving next week, one item is already checked off the decor list: the wreath.

This year’s wreath was so quick and easy to make that I have to share it in case anyone else is looking for a simple look that takes about two minutes to assemble.

HolidayEasyWreathLast weekend Mr. Lively and I spotted this boxwood wreath, complete with a fuzzy red bow, at Home Depot for about $15-$20.

I simply removed the bow that came with the wreath and added a glitter “L” ornament from Pottery Barn Kids.


After doing a quick search on their online shop, I couldn’t find these exact letters. However, they were sitting by the cash wrap last week… so I’d suggest calling a local Pottery Barn Kids store to see if they have them in stock.

Or, you could choose a glitter peace sign, skis, or sled, instead.

Or, you could pick a favorite (sturdy) ornament from your collection at home!

The options are endless. I would just make sure whatever ornament you choose is weather appropriate. Since our wreath is inside a hallway, I don’t have to worry about the L getting beat up by the elements.

After Christmas, I’ll simply remove the ornament and leave it up through the winter.

Now, it’s time to get a tree!


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

this very moment we can change our lives
November 21st, 2013     |    Quotable


As you know, I’m on a huge Steven Pressfield kick this week, as I ran through The War of Art and Turning Pro in quick succession to help me overcome six months of Resistance.

So I thought it was fitting to share a little truth-bomb from The War of Art today.



Biz in the City Update: Tonight’s Business in the City is the last one that I will be leading personally. Going forward, the meet-up will continue at Next Door once a month under the leadership of Helena Swyter (Sweeter CPA) and Chris Broadhead (Suit Social Media). I am so proud of this little meet-up group and I am so thankful for all of the fun and animated conversations we’ve had over the years. The group is in good hands with Helena and Chris.

In the future, you can check Next Door’s programming page for upcoming meet-up dates.

Okay, now it’s time to share this week’s What I’m Learning Wednesday topic: when to do something that is important, but not urgent.

This new lesson is actually the outcome of my earlier post this week that discussed my struggle to make progress on an important project over the last six months. As I detailed in the post, I came up with all sorts of valid (and not-so-valid) rationalizations excuses for not making progress.

Thankfully, reading The War of Art and Turning Pro helped me do a lot of honest self-reflection about the Resistance I felt towards the project.

But even after I examined my Resistance, I still needed to figure out when to work on this project within an already hectic schedule.

The first thing I did was eliminate my one-on-one business consulting services so that I can direct more of my energy in this new direction. While I will still be doing one-on-one sessions via The Intention Sessions, the hotel lobby design project, podcast, and blog, I am doing my best to eliminate projects that do not directly relate to where I am headed long-term.

As you can imagine, this was a difficult decision to execute, but one that was necessary in order to follow my gut.

Even after making those bold changes, however, I still found myself with another challenge: when to actually do the work on this project day-to-day?

For me, I now know the best time to do an important (but not urgent) project like this is first thing in the morning.  

By simply devoting my first hour of work to this project every day this week, I have already found myself more productive in the afternoons, too.

Why? I don’t quite know.

But I can say that getting that work done early is not only making me more effective elsewhere in my business, but it also make me feel successful that day – no matter what else happens.

To make this shift in my schedule wasn’t very hard. It simply took a focused effort to avoid checking my email or writing on the blog until after I worked on the project.

Based on the results of this new approach so far, I now realize that I enjoy working on my project in the morning and working in my business in the afternoon.

This shift has already been such a dramatic improvement in my effectiveness that I’m surprised I never realized this sooner.

I already understood the power of having a morning victory, but I never thought to apply it to my work-life as well until now.

Though this idea may not be ideal for everyone, particularly those with a full-time job or children, this concept could be adapted within a variety of schedules.

Anything that is easy to do and also easy not to do, is easiest to do first.


May something wonderful happen to you today,



Reader Spotlight 

My name is Monique Brown. I’m an Intimacy Coach and founder of the Feminine Allure Academy™, an online charm school where I teach women the intimacy skills to create awesome and peaceful relationships.

Monique Brown, Motor City Moxie

a simpler look for the bedroom
November 19th, 2013     |    Decor


A few months ago, I shared a new gray rug for the bedroom that I considered returning. As many of you wisely suggested, it was a bit much for the room when paired with the bright blue curtains and metallic wallpaper.


RugInBedroomAnd though did I plan to return it, I got so busy that I never took the time to send the rug back and find a suitable replacement.

One day I may sell it or move it to another space, but thanks to some simple bedding updates the rug doesn’t look quite as overbearing anymore.



Removing the faded striped sheets and discolored gold trimmed throw pillows means that the rug and wallpaper are the only patterns now — which makes the room feel much calmer overall.

To maintain interest with the solid bedding, I added texture via the throw pillows.


Enter: Emily and Meritt gold sequin pillows (tip: The covers are pretty reasonably priced and you can get inexpensive pillow inserts for these pillow covers at Jo-Ann).

Don’t they look eerily similar to my beloved gold shoes?


As for the duvet cover, I simply swapped the duvet in the guest room with the master duvet to add more texture at the foot of the bed. WhiteTuftedDuvetThen there are the sheets. I would qualify these bamboo viscose sheets from Nine Space as my first ‘fancy sheet set’ that I’ve ever owned.


And I’m hooked.

They are so soft that they make getting into bed a pleasure… and getting out of it just a little more difficult.


So what do you think? Is the room looking more balanced now that the bedding is simplified?


This post is sponsored by Nine Space (c/o the incredibly soft white sheets) – and they are giving 20% off their entire store to JessLively readers until 11/26! Use the code LIVELY20 to get the discount on their (beautiful) home goods. 

overcoming resistance
November 18th, 2013     |    Business With IntentionThink About It

OvercomingResistanceAbout six months ago I asked my gut – for the first time ever – what I should do next with my career as an open-ended question.

I expected to hear something like “more workshops,” “new consulting packages,” or something along those lines. But the answer I received was clear, concise and completely unexpected.

Though I am unable to share the answer right now, I do want to share what happened since that fateful day:


Well, not nothing. Actually, a lot of things happened.

At first, I dove headfirst into this project. But after failing twelve times to get the very first step of this journey right, I started to get distracted with other projects.

I focused on the Workshop At Home launch. I did a lot of client design work and I worked on the hotel branding project. I did dozens of business consults. I prepped for the podcast launch.

I got so busy with everything else that stalling on the gut-led project became “understandable.” And in turn, this created Resistance to the project as a whole.

Of course, I didn’t see it that way at the time. While I was working on all of these different aspects of my career I told myself that I “didn’t have time” for the project my gut called me to do.

Meanwhile, as the prospect of moving cross-country became a possibility, I became obsessed with the idea of shifting gears there.

New city + new home = new career, right?

But as you know, Seattle didn’t happen.

Instead, I stayed in Chicago and implemented my “Seattle changes” here. I started eating healthier (no more TJ’s Mac and Cheese everyday for lunch), simplified my friendships, exfoliated unnecessary clutter, and lived like I wanted to in Seattle.

But I still didn’t make the project my number one career priority.

As I delayed my progress on the project last week, however, things started to unravel. It finally got to the point where I felt miserable.

Not exactly depressed… just very down. I could see myself making all of the superficial changes that I wanted to make with the Seattle move, but deep down they were meaningless if I continued to stall on the real issue: not doing what I am called to do.

So finally, I picked the project back up. Just a little each day. As long as I worked on it to some degree, I felt better.

But as I read Turning Pro this morning, Mr. Pressfield hit a nerve.


Rather than make sure I spend a few hours a day on what I am meant to do, I center my days around business consulting sessions.

At first I told myself I needed to do this “for the income.” But really, that’s not the case. The Intention Sessions (which align with my project perfectly), hotel design work, and home design work provide ample income. And if necessary, we can tighten our budget for the time being.

I also feared that if I dropped the business consulting options I would be disappointing those who want to work with me. People I could help.

I wondered if people would think I was going off the deep end. I’ve learned over the last few months that people perceive me as a ‘business person who sometimes talks about life stuff’ — without the business advice, will they see what I do on the life side as valuable?

And the most insidious fear of all was that I might not be good enough at the thing my gut told me to do.

But today I’ve reached a breaking point. I know that if I delay on this project any further I will feel more miserable every day. I cannot keep caving to excuses and rationalizations any longer.

Going forward (but perhaps not forever), I will no longer offer business consulting sessions. Those who have reached out to me already or have sessions on the calendar are still welcome to work with me. For those who are new, the Workshop At Home serves as a powerful course with tons of information for new business owners, and Wish I Knew offers insights for small business owners on a variety of topics.

With the upcoming holidays, I am postponing the podcast launch until January, too.

In the meantime, I am shifting my focus to my project first and foremost. I have a self-selected deadline to have the first milestone of this project completed by January 1st.

Thank you so much for following me on this journey. Your continued support and encouragement on this winding road means a lot to me, and the minute I can share more details about this project, I will!


TheOfficialStartToChristmasMusicSeasonGrowing up, the official start of the holiday season was always the day after Thanksgiving. But lately, it seems like the retail world wants the holiday season to start sometime shortly after Halloween, with a “nice turkey dinner” at half time.

Am I right or am I right?

Anyways, while I shudder at the sight of Christmas candy lining the aisles of the local CVS in late October or early November, I have noticed my own habits shifting:

I’m starting to listen to Christmas music earlier and earlier each year.

Though I may not be decorating for the holidays just yet, I have been secretly playing my favorite Christmas music* more and more.

If I’m going to be completely honest, I even played some Christmas music a few times before Halloween.

[Hangs head in shame.]

Anyways, I would love to know if other people share the same double standard: I shun holiday items in the stores crazy early, but I’ve been secretly playing my own holiday tunes at the exact same time.

Is anyone else doing this, too?


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


* At this point, A Very Special Christmas and Mannheim Steamroller are on repeat.

must read: "the war of art"
November 14th, 2013     |    Business AdviceSpiritThink About It


Though I may be one of the last people to read The War of Art, I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone else who may not have read it yet.

If I was rating it on Amazon’s reviews, I would give it eight stars. But since that’s impossible, I’ve decided to write a post here telling you how great it is instead.

If you have been putting off a deeply meaningful project or change in your life, I implore you to read this book. Don’t let the word “art” in the title fool you. This book will resonate if you have something meaningful you yearn to do but have difficulty taking steps in that direction.

It is a quick read and filled with so many truth-bombs that it is one of the most highlighted books on my Kindle account – despite being the shortest book in the bunch.

It’s also now my third favorite book of all time (behind The Seven Habits and The Slight Edge).

It is wise, witty, and incredibly relatable.

Thank you, Steven Pressfield. I am so grateful you overcame your own personal Resistance in order to bring this into the world for us to benefit from.

the intention sessions
November 13th, 2013     |    Business With IntentionThink About It


As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I have been planning to roll out some new changes and this new offering marks a turning point in my career!


The Intention Sessions


Though many of us want to make positive changes and live with intention, what to do or how to do it is not always clear.

At the deepest level, what do we truly want?

What do we do next? 

How do we overcome the resistance we face on a daily basis? 

These three questions and their (sometimes surprising) answers contain the power to transform our lives in profoundly meaningful ways.

But we cannot simply address these questions in one area of our lives and expect to thrive overall.

When we are making forward progress in each area of our life – personal habits, possessions, relationships, and career – we are able to step out of our comfort zone and reach new levels of personally defined success.

Our quality of life rises.

Meanwhile, a barrier in one area may prevent our ability to move forward in another.

Our lack of personal care may erode our effectiveness in our careers.

Our struggle to maintain a healthy connection to our possessions may overshadow our desire to seek a fulfilling relationship. 

To truly live our best life, it is up to us to address each area.

We cannot expect to blossom without caring for all of the needs of the bud.




The Intention Sessions are designed to provide intentions (why we want what we want), action steps (what we need to do next), and mindsets (the power to overcome the challenges that will come up along the way) aligned with what we want most deeply.

In The Intention Sessions, I will work with clients in each session on two of the following areas of their life:

–  Possessions/home/clutter/organization
–  Personal habits/me time/health/wellness/best living practices
–  Relationships
–  Career/small business

During our first 75-minute session together, we will do a deep dive into what you want, what your intentions for that area are, action steps to make them a reality, and methods to overcome the resistance you face when making those choices in your everyday life.

Later, in our 20-minute follow-up we discuss your progress, questions, and adjust any steps as needed.


What You Get



–  Pre-session reflection/homework covering the two areas you want to discuss.
–  One 75-minute session by phone (US) or Skype (internationally).
–  One 20-minute follow-up by phone (US) or Skype (internationally).
–  Audio recordings of our sessions.
–  A clear understanding of your intention for both areas, your next actions, and tools to overcome the resistance to making those changes in your life.
–  Holiday Bonus: Between now and December 25, I am also offering a free 5″x7″ Just Keep Going print as a special gift for those who might be purchasing this package for themselves or a loved one for the holidays.


To sign up, please email jess(at)with-intention.com or purchase as a gift!



Thinking about doing The Intention Sessions with me?

In the midst of big life changes (transition from a career job to full-time entrepreneurship), I treated myself to an Intention Session with Jess. I knew I needed a roadmap that would guide me in this new space in my life.  Wow it delivered! 
After our session I have a clear big picture vision on how I wanted my life to look like in this new chapter. In our session, we identified my values and priorities, as well as brainstorm actions that would continue to support living my life with intention. Most importantly, I was able to see and celebrate the progress I have been able to make thus far and how easy and attainable the next steps could be.

Laura Yamin, Laura Yamin


Reader Spotlight
Visit Sheic Journals to ditch the boring brown or basic black writing journals and choose from a yummy assortment of colors. Use your journal as your new best friend to jot down your thoughts, to-dos or your wildest dreams! 

Angee Robertson, Sheic Journals

QuestionsAboutPlantBasedDietToday I am taping one of the very first episodes for the upcoming podcast… and I’d love your help with the interview!

I’m interviewing Jessica Murnane of One Part Plant about her personal health scare and incredible recovery, tips on eating a plant-based diet, and about the movement she’s started in luxe restaurants to provide more plant-based dishes.

If you are curious about anything regarding these topics or a plant-based lifestyle, please leave a comment. I’ll be asking a handful of reader questions in the interview – and your’s may be one of them!


 photo via

WillingToBecomeNothingInOrderToBecomeSomethingNow that MR has ended, I am starting to bring a lot of what I’ve been thinking about to life.

As I start to implement my plans, this powerful question Mastin presented last week is helping me launch (and end) various aspects of my career when my mind whispers fearful thoughts about stepping into the unknown.

No matter what we are working on in life, I feel like this question can help us push past the resistance we face in order to make bold change.


the seattle trip
November 8th, 2013     |    Life


As promised, I wanted to share a bit about what we did in Seattle. Thanks to all of the awesome recommendations we received on the post last week, we  referred to all of the awesome recommendations in the comment section in order to choose where we ate and what we did.

Though we won’t be living in Seattle anytime soon, I am so grateful that we got to explore so many awesome places in the city.

Here are some highlights we enjoyed along with thanks to the readers who helped us get there.


 Things We Loved in Seattle


Ate at the 5 Spot. (Suggested by Ashley)

Visited Pike’s Place Market. (Suggested by Ashley, Nicole, Jillian, and Annie)

Ate at Serious Pie. (Suggested by Ashley)

Shopped at Watson Kennedy. (Suggested by Annie)

Ate at The Pink Door. (Suggested by Jen)

Experienced Snoqualmie Falls. (Suggested by Jen and Nicole)

Explored (and fell in love with) Ballard. (Suggested by Rita and Nicole)

Ate at Top Pot. (Suggested by almost everyone)

Attempted to eat at Delancey and Big Fat Hen, but they were closed when we went. (Suggested by Whitney)


Though I am still a bit sad that we aren’t going to be living in Seattle anytime soon, I am thankful that I get to keep enjoying my favorite foodie spots here in Chicago.

And regarding my favorite spots in Chicago, I have my own suggestion. Check out The Southport Grocer’s new menu, especially their Grape Float. It is amazing.

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













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