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Living in Austin has been wonderful so far.

In a lot of ways, making a big move like this is truly allowing us to set the proverbial “reset button.” As quickly or slowly as we feel like it, we can reincorporate aspects of our old life here and start new habits as well.

One of the new habits I’ve wanted to cultivate in Austin is yoga.

I’ve done it on and off since high school, but wasn’t really digging the workout-focused classes that I went to with friends in Chicago.

Coming here, I knew I wanted to find a class that not only was physically beneficial, but mentally as well.

Thankfully, I happen to live just over a mile away from a fantastic yoga studio with this more spiritually minded slant.

In my first class last week, the teacher discussed the concept of santosha, which means contentment, or harmony.

As he went deeper into the term, he explained that santosha involves using the word “and” rather than “but” to describe our circumstances.

this week i’m thankful for… a break
November 30th, 2012     |    Life


This week I’m thankful for… giving myself a break.

I had quite a few intentions and deadlines fall short in November and I’m actively allowing myself to not feel bad about them.

You know how I wanted to thank people every day in November?* I did it for two days. The two days before we got Franklin, on November 3rd. Since then, I’ve been lucky if my hair is washed and I make it to a meeting on time.

I also planned to launch a few new exciting things next Tuesday. But based on the load of work I have on my plate right now, it’s getting delayed.

Oh, and I also still have my Thanksgiving decor up. At this point I’m debating if I’ll do any holiday decor at all.

And you know what? That’s okay.

Have a great weekend and thank you for reading!


* Did anyone complete the challenge? If so, how did it go?!


this week i’m thankful for… Jess LC support
November 2nd, 2012     |    Life


This week there is a lot to be thankful for. Primarily in the Jess LC arena. I would like to dedicate today’s Thankful For post to everyone who has supported Jess LC over the past fourteen years.

The “stylish” ankle bracelet design that started it all…

I would like to thank the fateful women that purchased my (ugly) ankle bracelets from me at the marina pool in 1999. Little did they know what they started…

I’d like to thank my mom and dad. After my first sale, Dad immediately encouraged me to turn my fateful ankle bracelets into a business at the age of 15. He encouraged me to grow, try selling online at 16 years-old, and even unknowingly gave me the insight needed to launch full-time after graduation.

Meanwhile my mom has more Jess LC items than any other person on the planet. She has dozens of my earliest pieces stored in a tray that I would have personally pitched a long, long time ago. Also, my mom really was my business role model. She made and sold crafts at fairs and to neighbors my entire childhood. So when my ankle bracelets accidentally sold, it was natural to grow a business modeled after her own crafting career while in high school.

Mr. Lively also deserves a hug and a kiss for listening to me go on, and on, and on about this new product or that new business opportunity. He was the number one supporter of my bag designs early on and he believed in my talent to go beyond jewelry design.

I’d also like to thank the ladies of Jess LC. Over the years I’ve worked with almost two dozen wonderful women of all ages. I  would like to thank my first assistant, Gertie, for training her then-roommate, Susie, how to make jewelry. For the past many years Susie has been making each piece of jewelry by hand for each customer. She has stood by me during thick and the thin. She also has listened to countless posts and emails and helped me become a better writer each day.

Then there are the assistants and interns of Jess LC. These wonderful ladies are beyond talented, dedicated, and will go on to do great things. I’m so thankful for their help and support along the way. They have helped make Jess LC truly special for our customers. Melissa deserves an extra thanks for going above and beyond the call of duty for so many, many years.

I would also like to write a special thank you to my business mentor, Mitch. I meet with him monthly for guidance, wisdom, and a good discussion on the growth and progress of the company. He has been behind me all the way and I cannot thank him enough for listening to me talk for the past four years. (I also hope he continues to assist in the future of my career as well.)

Of course I also need to thank the many, many store owners who have purchased our products. They have helped us grow and thrive across the US and Canada. They believed in my products and the buyers were a joy to work with.

And of course, I cannot leave out my early sales reps, they helped Jess LC distribution climb dramatically just before the recession, which made all the difference during that tough time.

I must also send out a salute to the Jess LC collaborators, models, and photographers who have helped bring new and exciting products and lookbooks to the Jess LC shop. It was a pleasure to work with such talented people. I’m also honored to now call these women (and men) my friends.

On top of all the support I’ve listed I cannot help but share the magnitude of my gratitude for the Jess LC customers who have supported us over the years. Without these wonderful men and (mostly) women purchasing our designs each day I would not have been able to grow this little company into something so special. We are fortunate to have some of the sweetest, most generous, and caring customers in the world. Literally the world! We have huge followings in the UK, Australia, Canada, and Singapore to name just a few. It has been a pleasure to ship our products to Paris, the Netherlands, Alaska, and Japan. Knowing that our goods produced in our little studio are being worn by people worldwide is beyond humbling.

And of course last but not least, I’d like to thank you, dear readers, for following me on this journey. Each launch, announcement, and sale was posted here on the blog and I thank you for listening, supporting, and even purchasing our products. When people ask how I was able to grow such a successful online business it is largely due to your support and I cannot thank you enough.

I know many are saddened by my decision to close the shop. I completely understand this and dedicate the second half of my career to helping others design lives, homes, and businesses with intention. No longer will I be focusing on products, I will now simply be of service. I now will focus my time on contribution, meaning, and intention.

After all, it’s what I’m meant to do.


Thank you for reading and have a great weekend.


this week i’m thankful for… progress
October 26th, 2012     |    Life

This week was a very interesting one. I worked with new clients on entirely new projects which will be shared in the months to come. We caught up on the orders as we go into the last week of Jess LC. And the apartment is really coming into it’s final stages (cough… excluding the guest room).

We are also preparing for our new puppy this weekend (we get him next weekend!). We’ll be puppy supply shopping tomorrow and doing a few things around the apartment that we would like to have under our belt before we have our little puppy under our feet.

All in all I feel like Mr. Lively and I have been in a perpetual state of transition for most of this year. Yet now that we are almost a month into living in our new home, my career transition is a week away, and our puppy comes home soon, I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We are going to get to dwell in the life we’ve spent the last several months building.

Things are coming along.

Have a great weekend and thank you so much for reading!


PS – Does anyone using Firefox have an issue seeing the first photo on posts in their browser? We’ve heard this has happened for a few people but we aren’t sure which edition of Firefox is having the issue. If you can’t see the photo above, please let me know what browser and edition of that browser you are using. Thanks so much!

this week i’m thankful for… relaxing
October 19th, 2012     |    Life

This weekend is the first weekend that Mr. Lively and I will have both be in the apartment having a “normal” weekend. That is, if you count plans tonight, tomorrow night, and a half marathon on Sunday, as “normal.”

In order to finally have a chance to unwind and step away from the constant work on my businesses and the home, Mr. Lively has decided to take me on a date day tomorrow. I don’t know what we are doing exactly, but I know it won’t involve work, the internet, or home goods.

And that is exactly what I need right now.

Too much of a good thing is too much of a good thing. I gotta learn how to relax again. It’s okay with projects laying around the house waiting to be finished. It’s okay that I’m still stuck in transition in my career for the next few weeks. It’s okay that we don’t have any puppy supplies yet.

Those things can happen in the future so I can unwind in the present moment. I gotta live with open hands again.

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you have a fantastic – and relaxing – weekend!


this week i’m thankful for… familiarity
October 5th, 2012     |    DecorLife

I am happy to report that after my post on feeling scared earlier this week, I am feeling much better!

I really started to feel less scared once I went back to work. Being dropped back into a normal routine, as many of you suggested in the comments in the scared post, was really what I needed all along.

The home itself has also started to feel much more comfortable as it has taken shape. Getting some art on the walls and little accessories on display does a world of difference for me. I am very affected by my environment (especially since I live and work in the same space all day). So seeing things look more organized and finished has also calmed me down mentally.

Right now my favorite art project that is bringing me the most joy is the photo collage I created from our elopement and honeymoon Instax Mini photos.

While Mr. Lively and I were exploring Paris and London, I planned to modify Kim and Scott’s photo booth bathroom art with Instax images. I also found out about the camera and instant film from Kim, too.

So we made sure to snap photos of some of our favorite sights and moments with the Instax.

Then on a recent Ikea trip, I spotted this frame which was beyond perfect for the project.

I loved that it was the right size for two rows of photos and already had a black background.

With the black background ready, I just needed a bit of my new bestie, yellow Frog Tape.

The tape was easy to reposition and attach the photos to the black background.

And voila!

The perfect addition to our Parisian themed mater bathroom. Though I’m not normally a “theme” girl, I think I struck a subtle and sophisticated tone in the space overall… but more on that later.

The collage is the first thing I see when getting ready in the morning and the last thing I see before getting ready for bed. Which is exactly the right place to be reminded of such a special – and relaxed – time in our lives.

Thanks for reading this week, have a great weekend!


this week i’m thankful for… change
September 21st, 2012     |    Life

This week and year, really, has been one of the most dramatic, growth-filled periods of my life. And though there are countless things that I am thankful for, it has come with it’s share of stress, problems, and challenges.

In yoga this week the instructor read a quote about change and pain, somewhat similar to this quote:

There is no growth without pain. Change for the better always requires letting loose of a certain degree of status quo. You realize then that the pain of moving ahead … the trials, the frustrations, the disappointments, and the failures … are always better than the situation you once found yourself in and accepted. Change won’t begin until you seize the courage and mental discipline to immerse yourself in a certain amount of pain and disillusionment concerning where you are in the present.

I definitely can relate to this pain. And over the past week I’ve received many amazing comments of support, and a few mentions that it has seemed that I have handled it so beautifully or gracefully.

But the truth is that this has not been the easiest thing for me at all. I have felt pushed to my edge, overwhelmed, and stressed to the max. Though there are moments or days of exhilaration, I am usually worn out.

Yesterday while walking to Bed Bath & Beyond with Mr. Lively I broke down on the side of the road and this morning I did the same.

Apparently massive changes do not mix well with PMS.

Anyways, I just want to say that despite all the fatigue and overwhelm I am thankful for these changes in my life. It is the hardest time and the best time.

To imagine these changes not happening in my life is definitely worse than experiencing the pain of getting to the other side.


Thank you for reading and I’ll see you next week!

this week i’m thankful for… perspective
September 14th, 2012     |    Life


This week I’m changing up the normal Things I’m Thankful For series and talking more in-depth about one thankful item in my life at the moment: perspective.

As I’ve mentioned, we are two weeks away from moving to our new apartment. And for the past few months the boxes of inventory and items for the new home are crowding this small one bedroom apartment.

Above is a photo of just some of our box madness sitting in front of my desk and behind the living area.

The makeunder/exfoliator/decorator/clean freak in me has been freaking out.

But last night as I was drifting off to sleep I had the most random analogy pop into my head… from Instagram.

In life we have the ability to add ‘filters’ to our experience. And the clutter and craziness in my home right now is a great place for me to work on changing my perspective when I cannot change the actual reality.

Though the image above was taken without a filter, the image below shows how I could choose to look at this transition phase.

I could look at the mess and get even more upset about it. I could stay frustrated and stare at those boxes and think, “I can’t stand this mess anymore! Something needs to change!” But since there isn’t much I can do, I’ll just stay upset whenever I look at my home.

Not really an intentional way to live life, huh?

Or, I could add a brighter filter on the situation.

Same situation with a lighter, more nostalgic filter. I could look at the mounds of boxes and think, “Though there is definitely a lot of clutter around here, these things are all going to be so beautiful in my new home. And though this apartment isn’t looking so hot, I can still enjoy our last few nights in this phase of our lives. This is where Mr. Lively and I met, and lived as a married couple for the first time. It will always have a special place in my heart.” 

Way more productive, right?

So here’s to the filters that we have the ability to create to frame our experiences and look on the bright side.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week!

this week i’m thankful for
September 7th, 2012     |    Life


This week I am incredibly thankful for my light bulb moment about sharing my life here more on the blog. From your supportive comments I can tell I really did hit the nail on the head.

I’m also thankful for tomorrow’s Wedding Bash Mr. Lively and I are throwing for our friends. It will be a chic Chicago-style rooftop party. There will be a build-your-own mini slider bar, snacks, my favorite dessert, and lots of craft beer. These were all the foods we wanted at our wedding, had we not eloped, so they are making their way into our rooftop menu.

Since I’ve got a lot on my plate, I’ve approached the party intentionally to keep things beautiful, but pretty low-key. I’ll share more on my party plan next week.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you on Monday!

this week i’m thankful for
August 31st, 2012     |    Life

What a week!

I can definitely say that things are back in full swing – perhaps a fuller swing than ever. It’s been a challenge to juggle everything. We shot a new lookbook for Jess LC, I trained Stacia (the newest member of Jess LC), Mr. Lively and I sold our couch and ordered a few of the pieces for the new apartment, I consulted with some awesome business owners, and I continued to share here on the blog.

But despite all the challenges and lack of sleep, I’m thankful.

I’m also so very excited for a camping trip starting this evening. It will be nice to relax and step away from the madness.

We are one month out from the big move to the new apartment. As the boxes of items for the new place and Jess LC inventory continue to grow at a seemingly exponential pace, I am yearning for that extra square footage and storage. Until then our apartment looks way more like crazy town than past apartment tours. That’s for sure.

Thanks so much for reading!


Have a great Labor Day weekend,

this week i’m thankful for
July 20th, 2012     |    Life

This week I’m thankful for… all the wonderful support we’ve had.

I will fully admit that I bit off more than I could chew this week. I worked from Sunday afternoon straight until Wednesday evening stopping only for food, sleep, and a serendipitous engagement photo shoot (more on that later). Other than those three things you could find me working at my computer, selling at our Pop Up Shop downtown, or consulting.

Though every fiber of my being would love to complain about it, it was my doing. I decided to launch Jackson the same day as the Pop Up Shop and that meant doing an incredible amount of work all at once. So as my beloved Mr. Covey would say, I chose it and cannot whine.

But regardless of my drained body, mind, and purple eye bags, there is much to celebrate. The launch was a huge success and we are filling orders as fast as we can. And the Pop Up Shop had an unprecedented number of MML readers stop by to say hello. It was amazing to see the tweets, blog posts, and social media blasts customers shared about our little shop.

And perhaps more than all, I appreciate Mr. Lively’s unprompted phone call Thursday morning letting me know that I did a great job this week. All along a little part of my ego has been clamoring for sympathy and kudos for attempting so much this week. But I’ve been cramming that thought deep inside, not letting it escape my lips.

Yet his sweet comments and appreciation brought me to tears. I so needed to hear that and I’m glad I didn’t have a pity party to get it.

And of course, I am so thankful for you. Thank you for reading MML and have a great weekend!

this week i’m thankful for
July 13th, 2012     |    Life

There are lots of things to be thankful for this week. The first one being that MML is back! The site was randomly down yesterday. But thankfully, it’s all straightened out now.

In addition, Mr. Livley’s parents gifted us their Prius as they upgraded to a newer model(!). Since we don’t have a car (I haven’t had one since high school), we are feeling very thankful.

And at Jess LC we’ve been shooting our newest collection’s lookbook to debut next week and preparing for our Pop Up Shop next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Also, despite the never-ending juggle between business consulting, Jess LC, and MML during my workdays, I even landed myself on that patio to do nothing one evening as well. Major victory.

Though the nothingness has been extremely helpful, I’ve also noticed the power that checking my email only three times each workday can have. I feel calmer, more productive, and happier when I stick to this plan. However, I’ll be honest and say that I’ve slid out of the strictness that I held to this intention in the beginning of this summer and I’m paying the price. I really want to recommit to this intention, so I’m sharing it here with you. Next week I’ll report back on how I’m doing.

Have a great weekend and thank you for reading MML!














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