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please don’t fix yourself
December 30th, 2013     |    Think About It

I have a favor to ask of you in 2014:



{A gentle reminder from January 3rd, 2012}


do you have budget or debt reduction questions?
December 27th, 2013     |    Life

doyouhavebudgetordebtreductionquestionsSorry for the silence this week and a belated Merry Christmas to you! I have been spending time at my parent’s suburban Philly house with Mr. Lively and my brothers for the past few days.

Now that I’m back, I have a podcast taping in just a few hours (1p CST to be exact) with Eric Williams, author of It’s Your Money.

A few years back, Eric and his wife, Kelsey, eliminated almost $40,000 in debt in just under two years(!). Now, they share their hard-learned financial lessons and advice along with other thoughts on intentional living on their blog, Words of Williams.

If you have any questions for Eric about finance or budgeting (debt reduction or otherwise), please leave it in the comments below!


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gold shoe giveaway
December 20th, 2013     |    LifeWardrobeWineday Friday


To show my gratitude for your support throughout 2013, I have five gifts planned for you over the next five days!  There are no outside sponsors or companies associated with these gifts. They are simply from me, to you.


Guys, this week has been so much fun! I’ve kinda felt like an intentional Santa Claus giving out gifts everyday. It’s also a bit staggering to see all the mentorship applications, and workbook/PV Starter Kit downloads.

In honor of Wineday Friday, I am wrapping up the Week of Giving with a pair of gold flats! I cannot thank you guys enough for all of the comments and emails filled with gold shoe suggestions over the past few months.

After looking at what seemed like hundreds of gold flat options, I finally settled on the original pair from J.Crew factory that I thought would be a half size too small.

I took the plunge and purchased them despite the size and they ended up fitting perfectly!

While I was doing this shoe size dance, Carrie of Dream Green DIY, snagged some 8.5 gold ballet flats at her super special local J.Crew outlet for me, too.


I paid her back for the extra pair of gold shoes, but the 8.5’s are too loose for me.

Which means I now have a pair of gold J.Crew ballet flats for you!

(You’ll notice there is a black line through the J.Crew logo because these puppies are actually regular J.Crew flats sold at the outlet for much less than normal.)

If you want to snag these flats, check out the details below.



A Week of Giving Wrap Up


And a huge thanks to you all for being a part of the 2013 Week of Giving! I have been so blessed by your support over the past year and I hope that the things I shared this week can help you take 2014 to the next level.

And as always, thank you for reading and have a great holiday week/weekend!



How to Win the Gold Shoes


Please leave a comment on this post to win the gold shoes!

Entries will close December 27th, and the winner will be selected on December 30th.

(US shipping addresses only, please.)

Remember, these are a size 8.5.




Monday: One-on-One Mentorship for a Year

Tuesday: Free Private Victory Starter Kit 

Wednesday: Free Business with Intention Workbook

ThursdayTwo Free “That One Thing” Intention Sessions Scholarships

“that one thing” intention sessions
December 19th, 2013     |    Think About It


To show my gratitude for your support throughout 2013, I have five gifts planned for you over the next five days!  There are no outside sponsors or companies associated with these gifts. They are simply from me, to you.


After working with Intention Session clients over the past few months, I have realized that a lot of the times there is one thing that really causes the most havoc in our lives.

That one thing tends to block our joy and stops us from moving forward. It creates the majority of our stress and anxiety and if we can find a way to live intentionally in that one area, our lives would significantly change.

With this in mind, I have created a new Intention Session offering. It’s called (as you might guess) the “That One Thing Intention Sessions.”

In these sessions, we will replace “shoulds,” stress, and guilt with custom intentions and inherently fulfilling goals, actions, and outcomes.

No pain, shame, or “one day” thinking required.

The Intention Sessions focus on one of the following four areas:

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

I believe these sessions are a powerful way to start 2014. It’s time to move forward in these areas intentionally.

To help kick off this new offering, I am giving away two scholarships for the Week of Giving!



How to Apply


If you would like to win one of the two That One Thing Intention Sessions scholarships, please leave a comment on this post letting me know which area of your life you would like to focus on during our sessions.

The scholarship giveaway will close next Thursday, December 26th and the winners will be announced on December 30th.


And of course, if you don’t win the giveaway and would still like to work together early in the New Year, please reach out here!




Monday: One-on-One Mentorship for a Year

Tuesday: Free Private Victory Starter Kit 

Wednesday: Free Business with Intention Workbook 



To show my gratitude for your support throughout 2013, I have five gifts planned for you over the next five days!  There are no outside sponsors or companies associated with these gifts. They are simply from me, to you.


As you may know, my purpose for everything that I do is to help you to uncover your potential and live the life that you want on your own terms. This is why I write, work with clients, host workshops, and create products.

One of the most recent ways that I’ve fulfilled this mission is through the Workshop At Home. It is so awesome to help new and budding business owners reveal their business’ potential and grow with intention – anywhere in the world at a more affordable price point than the live workshops.

Over the last few months, I’ve had a few people reach out about purchasing the Business with Intention workbooks. I’ve never offered the workbooks on their own before simply because the workbooks are designed specifically for the live workshops and Workshop At Home. There are no instructions or advice in the workbooks and the answers to many of the workbook prompts are found in the three hours of workshop videos.

However, I do think portions of the workbooks may be helpful, even without the video advice and suggestions. With that in mind, I have decided to give you the workbook for free during the Week of Giving!

 We have removed the bonuses found in the custom printed workbooks (intentional calendar, lined paper for notes, and contact list) for this PDF so you are able to print it out without using hundreds of sheets of paper. And we’ve included a few highlights from each workshop video in the chapters so you know what is covered in the full Workshop at Home that is not found in the workbook itself.

And for those who want to get the full Workshop At Home – with three hours of advice, custom bound workbook, and tote – we have even included a Week of Giving discount in the back of the workbook!

If you are looking to start a business or take the business you have to the next level in 2014, I hope you use the workbook to help clarify your intentions for your business. And if you are looking for specific, actionable advice from myself and many other talented online business owners, I recommend getting the Workshop At Home.


Add to Cart

This free workbook is only available during the Week of Giving and expires on 12/21/2013

The deadline has passed and the workbook is now available exclusively through the Workshop At Home


May something wonderful happen to you today,



Thinking of doing The Workshop At Home

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 Wesley, Lindsay Wesley



Reader Spotlight

Inspired by the confetti used to celebrate life’s most special moments, Confetti by Annette’s line of handmade jewelry is designed with the spirit of celebrating yourself and your life every single day.  Combining timeless designs with vivid colors, fresh twists, a dash of sparkle, and a pinch of playfulness, our pieces are handcrafted to bring whimsy and sophistication everywhere you go and in everything you do.

Annette Stepanian, Confetti by Annette




Monday: One-on-One Mentorship for a Year

Tuesday: Free Private Victory Starter Kit 


PS – Special thanks goes out to Jackie for designing the workbook and Jen for helping me make this possible!
free private victory starter kit
December 17th, 2013     |    SpiritThink About It


To show my gratitude for your support throughout 2013, I have five gifts planned for you over the next five days!  There are no outside sponsors or companies associated with these gifts. They are simply from me, to you.


Today I’m exciting to share a gift that everyone can enjoy!

As you know, I have been practicing the seventh habit of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (my favorite book of all time) since June and have seen it make a huge difference in my life.

I’m now such a huge proponent of the Private Victory (spending one hour a day on your mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing) that I started a Facebook group and mastermind group devoted to this oh-so-valuable habit.

Since there may be some people planning on trying this habit in 2014, I thought it would be a good idea to create a Private Victory Starter Kit.


Click here to download the PV starter kit

This kit includes a pledge, a log to track your progress, inspirational quotes you can cut out and hang in your home, and a resource guide with suggested books, podcasts, and other resources you can use during your private victory time.

Remember, it is not important to do the same thing everyday, it is important that you devote the time to these three areas of your life daily.

On a personal note, a few people have asked me how I’m able to read so many books lately – I can honestly say that before this habit I always thought that I “didn’t have the time” to read. Now, by simply reading about 15-20 minutes from a spiritual book and 15-20 minutes from a non-fiction book, I am blowing through books pretty quickly. ((If you are curious about what I’m reading during my Private Victory, you can now check the blog sidebar.))

I can also sincerely say that I am a happier, kinder, more positive person when I have done my private victory in the morning. I’m more prepared and capable to take on the challenges of the day.

On the other hand, doing it in the morning is not required. Spend the time in chunks or all at once at some point during your day. That’s it.

As you know, I write this blog to help those looking to design their lives with intention. This single habit has proven to be the cheapest and most powerful habit I can offer.

But don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself!


Click here to download the PV starter kit



2013 Week of Giving

Monday: One-on-One Mentorship for a Year


PS – Special thanks goes out to Jen for designing the starter kit!
week of giving: one-on-one mentorship for a year
December 16th, 2013     |    Life

To show my gratitude for your support throughout 2013, I have five gifts planned for you over the next five days!  There are no outside sponsors or companies associated with these gifts. They are simply from me, to you.


To kick off the first annual Week of Giving I am giving away one year-long mentorship!

I believe that mentorships are powerful and can really help people take their lives to the next level.

In 2014, I would like to mentor a reader to help her design her life with intention. I will have hour-long, monthly calls with this mentee and help her to uncover her true intentions for her life and overcome the resistance she faces when making her dreams come true.

My hope is that by providing my insight, encouragement, and support, this mentee will breakthrough in many ways she never thought possible.

(This will not be a business mentorship, it will focus on all aspects of life. Career situation is irrelevant to this mentorship.)

I am looking for a mentee who is serious about taking her habits (and life) to the next level. Proactivity and willingness to do the work are key.


How to Apply


If you would like to apply for this mentorship, please send an email to jess@with-intention.com about why you would like this mentorship opportunity with me by Saturday, December, 21st.

Please note: 500 words or less, subject line: 2014 MENTORSHIP.

I will select the 2014 mentee and email all mentorship applicants about my decision on January 2nd, 2014.


If you think this mentorship would help you take things to the next level, I hope you reach out!


photo by
gratitude and asking
December 13th, 2013     |    Wineday Friday

GtatitudeAndAskingEarlier this month I shared two habits I was looking to develop: gratitude and asking. Today, I thought I’d share a little update on each.


The Gratitude Habit

Right after Thanksgiving I felt weak the gratitude department, so I decided to build up my gratitude muscles by setting two phone alerts to go off everyday (one at noon and one at 3:00p).

immediately felt more grateful the first day or two. I really loved it.

By days three through six… I kinda found the alerts annoying. I briefly considered turning them off, but realized that the times when I felt frustrated by the alerts were the exact times when I was not feeling very present.

So rather than delete the alerts, I made a more concentrated effort to stop whatever I was doing in the moment (as long as I wasn’t in the middle of a call or conversation), and really tried to give the next 60 seconds to finding five things to be grateful about. This one switch really made a big difference!

Now this habit helps me strengthen my gratitude as well as my present moment awareness.

I highly recommend trying it (or something similar) if you want to help boost your gratitude.


The Power of Asking


This second habit comes from the wallpaper quote for this month. I have seen the fruits of this habit in large and small ways.

The small way that this came true involves a pair of grey stretchy workout pants that came in the mail. I wanted a pair just like them, so I was quite pleasantly puzzled by the fact that they appeared on my doorstep.

I asked my mother-in-law, who sent the pants, how she knew I wanted them. She simply replied, “you said that you liked my pair when I was at your home for Thanksgiving, so I thought I’d get you a pair.”

Duh. I had totally forgotten about my compliment. I was so surprised that mentioning a desire in the form of a compliment could bring it into my life.

As for the big ask, I recently renegotiated a contract and I needed to decide what to quote for the project. I had a number in mind, but part of me was scared to ask for it.

It was a large sum, and independent of my own feelings about the value I would provide, I was a still intimidated by the number itself.

However, when I thought about how I picked this wallpaper quote and hoped that you would take it to heart – I knew that I needed to do the same.

I ended up quoting the scary, but well deserved, rate and got it! It was a huge relief – and I am so, so thankful I didn’t cut myself short just because I was scared by a number.

The job was well worth the value and now I get to move forward feeling properly compensated for my work.


So how about you? Have you tried either of these habits and seen any results?

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


PS – I have some surprises for you next week… stay tuned!!

armchair before & after
December 12th, 2013     |    Decor


It’s finished! After months of finding the right armchair, finding the right fabric, saving for the reupholstery, and actually getting it recovered and painted, the coral armchair is now finally in the living room.

It all started last year, when I went super neutral in the living room.


photo by 

Very, very neutral.

As you can see from the text on that image, I figured out that there was enough room in the back corner to fit an armchair.

After scouring Craigslist, I bought this guy for $75.


The wood was in decent shape, but not great. And the upholstery was pretty worn, though not in such bad shape that we couldn’t live with the chair in its original condition for a few months while we saved for the makeover.

Then, I asked you what color you thought it should be (neutral, navy, or coral). The resounding majority confirmed the idea to go coral.

Here was the coral inspiration.



And here’s how it turned out.


Finding the right shade of coral fabric was a little tricky. After doing a lot of searching online and at Fishman’s in Chicago, I found that there aren’t that many shades of coral upholstery fabric in the perfect shade. Many were too rusty, red, pink, orange, or expensive.

Eventually, I spotted a Sunbrella fabric that was the Goldilocks of corals – not too pink, not too orange, not too pricey. Juuust right.

The fact that the fabric is designed for outdoor use is kind of a nice surprise. The quality is great (it doesn’t feel too stiff or outdoorsy) and I don’t have to be super stressed out about wear and tear.

For the painting and upholstery, I called on my friend Meg of Meg Made (her boutique just opened, by the way).

I’m also loving the new cream and grey striped throw from Nine Space. The neutral pattern ties in really well with the rest of the living room.

NineSpaceStripedBlanketMeg loved the blanket so much that she practically stole it from me when she dropped off the chair.

(Joe, if you are looking for any Christmas present ideas… hint, hint.)

CoralArmchair2Overall, I’m super happy with how it turned out. It was totally worth the 5-6 month process.

I’m also quite thankful that I am married to a Mister who doesn’t mind the color coral.


This post is sponsored by Nine Space (c/o the super comfy striped throw). 

getting back on track
December 12th, 2013     |    Quotable


Today I decided to mix things up – I am working from a coffee shop this morning (I’ve been feeling a little cabin fever lately) and I whipped up a new look for this week’s truth bomb. I hope you like it!

This quote comes from The Law of Divine Compensation and I think it is a great perspective to keep in mind as we ring in the new year intentionally.

It can be difficult to avoid getting down on ourselves for the things we might not have accomplished this year – which now become 2014 intentions, goals, or resolutions (hopefully not the latter).

We must realize that our year may not have gone completely “according to plan,” but our lives are still on track.

A new route has been created.


how to be successful in 2014
December 11th, 2013     |    Business AdviceThink About It


Though 2014 is still a few weeks away, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’d like to approach the new year in terms of success.

There are the four things I believe effectively cultivate success. For the next four weeks, I’ll be sharing one element at a time, starting with (you guessed it) intention.

For the sake of WILW, I’ll be sharing these four aspects from a business or career perspective most of the time. But these concepts align perfectly with personal habits, relationships, and possessions – so feel free to use them in your personal life, too.


Create an Intention


Though I’ve talked about intentions before, it can be helpful to freshen up on the concept – particularly around the new year.

After seven years of studying the concept of intentions, I have found that a true intention is enduring, flexible, and communicates personal values – independent of outcomes or shiny pennies. 

Let’s look at each aspect in more detail to understand what this means.


An Intention is Enduring


Intentions are like the Constitution. They can be amended, but they are built to last. This characteristic is a quick way to test whether you are attempting to use the term “intention” in place of the word “goal.”

If your intention can be finished or completed, it’s not an intention, it’s a goal. (I made this mistake in my own life for about five years.)

A career intention, for example, should be specific and broad enough to convey what you most deeply want for yourself and your work over the long haul. For example, one of my client’s intentions is “to do work that is proportional and mutually beneficial.”

For her, this means that she desires her career to be proportional to the energy and time that she has at each stage of her life (she’s having her first child soon, so energy and time are changing quite a bit right now), and mutually beneficial. The last aspect of her intention speaks to the fact that she’d like to do work that brings high value for both herself and her clients (this addresses her desire to be well compensated in a non-stressful work environment).

With this new intention to guide her, she can select the appropriate course of action in her career now, once she has the baby, and as her child grows. Though her specific work may change and evolve, the intention is there to fulfill her highest value: to work in a way that supports her personal wellbeing and family.


An Intention is Flexible


An intention also continues despite changing circumstances.

Unlike a goal, that describes a specific course of action or external outcome, an intention can roll with the punches and include more than one course of action.

For example, a personal fitness intention would be flexible enough to still be honored despite a busy schedule or injury. Actions could be modified as needed, yet the overall intention would still be maintained. This means “workout five times a week” is not an intention (what if you get hurt or busy?).

On the other hand, “being adventurous with my physical activity” is a possible intention. It speaks to a value of novelty, challenge, and playfulness in physical fitness. What you choose to do given the present moment, based on the intention, is up to you to decide each and every day.

Also, if you happen to mess up or contradict your intention one day, one week, or one month, the intention can always be fulfilled the next day. There is no end game with intentions. Only a continued practice of honoring what is most important to you.


An Intention Communicates Personal Values


As I’ve hinted at in the last two sections, intention ultimately speaks to what is most important to you in each area of your life. Not on the level of shiny pennies, goals, and metrics – that’s all fleeting and ever-changing.

It’s a mindset you use to filter all of the actions and choices you make in the present moment.


An Intention is Independent of Outcomes or Shiny Pennies


Intentions are not fulfilled by any particular outcome beyond our circle of influence. The very act of doing something inspired by the intention fulfills the intention. This means our self-esteem and success is based on what we do, not what we get.

But be careful, our minds can easily play tricks on us and try disguise a desired outcome as an action. For example, if we decide, based on a career intention, to make 50 sales calls, we cannot let the number of sales (or lack thereof) determine our feeling of “success.” The customer’s choice to buy or not buy our product is beyond our control. We can do our best to convey our product’s value, but we cannot force a customer to buy the product.

So rather than stress out about lackluster sales (a not-so-great outcome), we can continue to fulfill our intention by trying to improve our product to better serve our market. Or, we can make more sales calls.

Both of these actions fulfill the intention without tying our success or worthiness to anything beyond our hustle and control.


If you have a moment today or even this weekend, you might want to take some time to use these four elements to craft your own intentions for your career and personal life. They can serve as the foundation of your success in 2014 and beyond.



May something wonderful happen to you today,



Thinking about doing The Intention Sessions with me? 

Thinking about intentions without mixing them up with goals and shiny pennies can be difficult. But the peace of mind and inspired actions that come as a result of crafting intentions is invaluable.

If you’d like help with this process for your possessions (clutter, home, stuff), personal habits (wellbeing, health, fitness), relationships, or career (small biz, corporate, or a mix) I’d love to work with you


Reader Spotlight

Cristina works with individuals and small businesses to help them establish strong personal and professional brands, develop stellar online presences, and increase their productivity and efficiency. She also runs One Woman Shop, a resource hub and community for female solopreneurs and freelancers.

Cristina Roman, CMR Strategies

TheThreeBiggestTakeawaysFromGettingThingsDoneOver the past few weeks I’ve been reading Getting Things Done, a productivity and time management classic.

Though many may have already read this popular book, I thought I’d share the three biggest keys that I’ve taken away from the book for anyone who has not read the book yet, or wants to read the highlights.


Complete any task under 2 minutes immediately


This simple concept was powerful. If something on your to-do list in any area of your life takes less than two minutes to complete, do it right away.

I have started to use this line of thinking in my own life and business and found that it helps me knock out a bunch of things that may otherwise get pushed aside and overwhelm my mental capacity. (This tip also supports the idea of always having fresh ice.)

In fact, if you can come up with five things that take less than two minutes on your to-do list, you can knock out a substantial portion of “open loops” in under 10 minutes.

Mr. Allen also says that anything that takes more than 2 minutes should be delegated (given to someone else to complete), deleted (taken off your to-do list if it’s not that important), or deferred (put on a task list to do later).


Batch tasks by type


I’ll be honest, Mr. Allen’s suggestion to have to-do lists for every type of action you have (calls, projects, errands, research, computer time, etc.) seemed a bit overwhelming and unnecessary for my life and business.

However, I recently started batching my to-dos on my central task list by putting the action associated with the item at the beginning of the to-do – as you can see below.

(I use TeuxDeux on my phone and computer, but a lot of people love Evernote or paper lists, too)


Being able to see the actual action I will need to preform before the actual task helps me batch all my emails at once across multiple projects. By putting emails together for instance, I can hop between four different projects without having to switch my mindset each time.

Had I simply listed everything without the batched actions, this list would feel much more overwhelming.


Get everything down on paper


Last but not least, Mr. Allen is a huge proponent of putting everything that needs to get done down on paper. Here Mr. Allen summarizes the process:

“First of all, if it’s on your mind, your mind isn’t clear. Anything you consider unfinished in any way must be captured in a trusted system outside your mind, or what I call a collection bucket, that you know you’ll come back to regularly and sort through.

Second, you must clarify exactly what your commitment is and decide what you have to do, if anything, to make progress toward fulfilling it.

Third, once you’ve decided on all the actions you need to take, you must keep reminders of them organized in a system you review regularly.” – David Allen 

By tracking any things that need to be done on paper, we free up our minds to focus on the task at hand without worrying about whether we are forgetting something.

I wasn’t too impressed with this idea of being so strict to put things on the list, but I have to say – after trying it for the past week or two I have found that putting the big and little things that need to get done on paper has helped me feel less overwhelmed and does give me peace of mind that I’m not forgetting to do something.

With that said, I still have a ways to go. I now find myself thinking, “Oh, I should put that on the list,” even when I’m not near my phone. Thus, I’m left wondering what I still need to put on the list. My hope is that by getting better about tracking things the moment I think of them, I won’t have this extra layer of processing to do in the future.


Overall, I think the book is a great read (although it now feels a bit dated, given the technology changes since it was written in 2002).

For those who struggle with productivity, I believe this book could certainly help, but the process is rather time intensive and would need to be implemented well in order to truly pay off. Perhaps these three biggest takeaways I’ve listed here can help you get started, along with the third habit of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

Those who love organization and taking things to the next level may thrive on the step-by step process and thorough instructions. This book is definitely a must read for people who enjoy list making and want to improve their project planning abilities.


Getting Things Done

Must read





Did you like this review? Would you like to see more book takeaways and recommendations like this in the future? 













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