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Happy Wednesday, guys! Caitlin here, back with yet another Design Your Life interview. Today we’re going to be hearing from one of my newest blog friends, Jen, blogger behind Lemon Drop Love. Jen reached out to me a while back for design help with her living room, and soon after I knew we would be fast friends. I mean, when I realized that her blog tagline is “when life gives you lemons, make a lemon drop” it’s kind of hard to think otherwise. Lucky for me, she was delighted at the prospect of sharing her intentions on MML.

DESIGN YOUR LIFE: jen of lemon drop love

I have a strong desire to do what I love and what I’m passionate about. However, the pressures of everyday life can often suck the energy right out me. After a long day at work, it is easy for me to put on my comfy clothes and curl up on the couch. But checking out day after day just doesn’t cut it; all it does is hold me back.  In order to stay focused I have to prioritize daily. I carry a notepad where I jot down blog ideas and random thoughts throughout the day. I also recently hung an inspiration board over my desk (I plan to fill it up) to remind me every day that it’s not a dream if you make it happen.

I admit it; I’m my own worst critic. Unfortunately for me, I’m also not perfect. One thing in life I really struggle with is self-guilt.  I feel guilty when I go for seconds, when I skip a workout, or sometimes even when I indulge and buy a new outfit. I’ve recently come to realize that feeling guilty is a choice and I’m focused on staying kind to myself and everyone I care about the most.  Like my Grandmother always says, be the person you want to meet and lead by example.

Life is full of surprises and opportunities and it is better to have tried something rather than regret you never gave it a shot. Sometimes it works out for the better and other times you realize it just isn’t your bag. I try to live my life with no regrets and I plan to continue down this path. Yes, I have made plenty of mistakes, more than I can count on all my fingers and toes, but I have learned from each one. Living a life without regret is about embracing yourself and who you are, but also ceasing the moments you are given and staying true to yourself.

I believe your healthy habits evolve based on where you are currently in life. Being able to listen to your body and give it what it needs is half the battle. Up until about five years ago I had the metabolism of a cheetah and I was very active and athletic; I didn’t have to worry much about what I ate. Today, my metabolism has drastically slowed and I don’t have the time to be as active; so I watch what I eat and make exercising a priority. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my cocktails and comfort foods; I just focus on moderation and balance.  I am sure these habits will change as I go into different chapters of my life, but in order to stay happy and proud in my own skin, I will always try and embrace healthy habits.

I love the process of taking an idea and making it something everyone can see, feel or taste. I get a feeling of overwhelming accomplishment and joy. The best is when I think to myself, “wow, that really worked and it turned out better than I thought it would.” Being creative doesn’t have to be complicated; a lot of it is about finding the joy in the little things around you. I like to fill my creative time with painting/drawing, cooking/mixing drinks, entertaining or redesigning my apartment. This is why I love my blog so much, it pushes me to do all the things I love and the best part is I get to share my experiences with other people.

Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.

This week on Wish I Knew Wednesday I’ll be sharing what I just discovered this summer: how to sell on Facebook. After a few months of doing so for Jess LC, I think it’s a great option for established brands and newbie businesses alike. I’ll explain why tomorrow!

If you’d like to get the email, simply sign up by clicking on the image below. This email list is also where I announce upcoming Workshops and other BWI updates.

(If you have signed up for the BWI newsletter, you will automatically get this series.)

[sponsor] the maven circle
August 7th, 2012     |    Life

This post is brought to you by The Maven Circle.

 

The guilt, fear, “never enough time”, feelings of stuckness, loneliness, stress and overwhelm- we ladies at The Maven Circle know those feelings all too well. They’re the things that hold us back, that keep us in a cycle and getting nowhere closer to the life we envision for ourselves. They’re the things that keep us from making the changes we know deep down that we need to make in order to feel fully whole and happy in our lives.

Too often, our energy is just spread so thin between all the to-dos, responsibilities, “have-tos” and “shoulds” that we don’t find the time to take care of ourselves, our needs and our own happiness. We place ourselves at the end of an impossibly long to do list and wind up stressed out, feeling depleted and wondering why we have so much good stuff in our lives yet we still feel a bit unhappy underneath it all.

It’s time to feel awesome again.

Time to ditch the stress-fest, and unleash your deep down inner-awesome! Because happiness starts inside yourself– in taking better care of your own mental, emotional and physical wellness- in battling the mind gremlins that tell you “you can’t” (they’re liars)– in facing your fears and pushing beyond your comfort zone- and taking it all one step-by-step at a time.

Those are exactly the things we help you with in our e-course called The Catalyst Course! We share the advice, exercises, everyday tools and new ways of thinking that helped us break through our barriers to unleash our own inner awesome, to help you do the same! And we do it within an amazing and open community of supportive women, who are facing the same struggles and understand exactly how you feel.

Happiness, fulfillment, feeling whole- those are not pipe dreams or something selfish to strive for. They’re the key ingredients for creating a more positive and amazing world for us all to live in. Your happiness doesn’t just benefit you- it directly effects those around you, and makes you a greater force of awesome energy to spread out to the world!

Feeling like you’re ready to make a change? Ready to shift into a life with more fulfillment? Ready to feel more awesome everyday?

The Catalyst Course is 4 weeks dedicated to re-energizing, re-engaging, and re-discovering the possibility within you! We begin August 13th- lots more details and info here. We hope you’ll join us in learning to live our most awesome lives!

 

DESIGN YOUR LOOK 2012
August 6th, 2012     |    Life

Hi, everyone! Caitlin and Kiley here, announcing a new Design Your Look contest for Jess LC! You may remember our Design Your Look contest from last year, but this year we’re doing things a little differently. Here’s the plan: We’re inviting all of you to style an outfit incorporating any two Jess LC items that you’d like to win, plus $200 in cash to put towards purchasing the rest of the items in your look. I know, right? We’re jealous.

To better understand what your submission could look like, Carly of Chicago Prepster put together a look earlier this month that we loved and used in the graphic above.

Here’s how we’re mixing things up: Instead of posting all of the looks to MML and voting via comments like we did before, we will pin each submission to a Design Your Look board on Jess’ Pinterest on Monday, August 13 to make them easily viewable. The look that gets the most repins by noon on Monday, August 20 will win!

To enter:

  • Design your look! Be sure to include the two Jess LC pieces you would like to receive if you win.
  • Email your submission (in a 530 pixel wide jpeg) to Caitlin and Kiley at theshop@jesslc.com by Monday, August 13.
  • On Monday, August 13, there will be a post on MML that provides the link to the Design Your Look pinboard. Find your submission and tell your friends to vote by repinning your look (please note that multiple repins by the same Pinterest user of a single submission will not be counted and can result in disqualification from the contest).
  • The contest will officially end at 12:00pm on Monday, August 20.

Good luck, guys! We can’t wait to see how you style your favorite Jess LC items!

fear of rejection
August 6th, 2012     |    LifeThink About It

 

Today I’d like to be honest with you about something I’ve been struggling with the last week or two.

Lately I’ve found that as good things happen in my life, I’ve started to sense a shadow of doubt and fear creep into my thoughts.

Rather than be completely happy, excited, and peaceful, I’ve noticed a lingering worry about how people might criticize my choices.

In real life I’m not very worried nor am I worried about anyone who has been following my journey for some time here on MML. But online where people can find you and make snap judgements, I’ve sensed a hesitation in my step as I blaze a new trail for myself.

I’ve become more concerned with escaping judgment than I have about doing what’s right for me.

You see I’m a very sensitive person and the idea of making people unhappy makes me extremely uncomfortable. So much so that it makes me forget why I’m here in the first place: to help others.

And while I share my life, decisions, and intentions here on MML I hope that my story encourages people to take from it what they will and design their own life with their own intentions.

So far from many emails and stories I’ve heard, this has been the case. And for that I am deeply grateful.

But lately my fear of people hating my decisions or shaming me has clouded my mind.

Avoiding the negative aspects of blogging has been more prevalent recently than increasing the positive aspects of helping people.

While it would be wonderful if no one ever criticized online, it’s not a current reality.

We can only adjust our perspective.

So this weekend I’ve spent a lot of time praying and thinking about how I can choose to see these fears differently.

And I’ve come to some realizations that will help me immensely if  I truly embrace them.

My first realization while praying about my fears was that what people say is a reflection of themselves and where they are coming from – it is not a reflection of us. Sure, gentle criticism with the hope of truly loving and helping one another will always be useful. “But if it is not coming from a place of love, it is not real” (a quote from A Course in Miracles) and ultimately not very effective in creating positive change.

Which means we are all responsible for making sure that our words online and offline reflect love and appreciation, especially if we want to help someone.

This idea also popped up in a recent Daily Love post, as Mastin Kip says, “if you feel that other people are only looking for what’s wrong in you – can you send them Love and Compassion because you know that this is nothing but a projection of how they feel about themselves and has NOTHING to do with you? This is how we are being called to see the world – with the eyes of Love. We see the innocence; we see the pain of others and we do not take it personally because we know it is just a part of their projection. And, we know that we also project onto others, so we do our best to stop that and to send only Love. Sometimes, you have to send Love from a distance, but send Love anyway!

Further, I think it’s important for myself and everyone in the blogosphere to remember we are all imperfect humans sharing our flaws and moments of divine brilliance as best as possible. We are not promising to be perfect as we come to our computers each day. We are not asking to be judged and found wanting. We are asking to feel love and connection with one another.

And while that fearful part of my brain screams “don’t publish this, you might just bring on more criticism, exactly what you are trying to avoid!” I know that by pressing publish I might also have the chance to help others out there like me. There may be sensitive people who need to find a positive way of looking at the ups and downs of sharing our lives online in order to share their gift.

I love you. Thank you for reading. I hope this helped.

this week i’m thankful for
August 3rd, 2012     |    Life

Happy Friday!

Rather than doing a typical Thankful For post this week I’d like to share my thanks for the ladies that help make Jess LC happen.

It has been an incredible summer getting to work with Kylie and Caitlin and I am so thankful and impressed by their ability to learn quickly and think of creative new ventures for Jess LC. Sadly, their internships will be ending at the end of this month.

So that means… Jess LC is looking for one to two new interns for fall 2012.

We are looking for people who are friendly, enthusiastic, and smart. And more than ever, I’m hoping to find someone who loves Jess LC and what we do here. Though many people want to work in fashion as an industry, we’re looking for someone who wants to work at Jess LC specifically.

Writing skills, knowledge about the blogging industry (via reading or blogging), and attention to detail are all important. Graphic design skills like Photoshop are also a huge bonus, but not required.

Order fulfillment, customer service, and consulting on new: product launches, social media efforts, trunk shows, and lookbooks are all daily tasks.

Right now we are looking for one to two people to work with us in our Chicago studio two to ideally three days a week from September through December. The internship is unpaid. (But I am hoping to hire part-time in 2013.)

Caitlin also offered to share a bit about her experience here in her own words from an intern perspective:

Working for Jess LC over the last couple of months has proved to be an incredibly valuable experience. This is not one of those internships where you will be grasping to find the meaning in making copies and fetching coffee. I’ve loved being actively involved in the running and managing of Jess LC on a daily basis- whether it’s by filling orders, helping Jess to make decisions on collection launches, setting up for a trunk show, or handling customer service.

While I came in to the internship with plenty of enthusiasm, I didn’t know what the day-to-day job would bring, aside from hoping to get an idea of what a small, successful business looks like on a daily basis. As I reflect back, I know that I not only learned about business, but also about handling challenges with grace and gusto, time management, and trusting in myself to make decisions quickly and effectively. I highly recommend the internship with Jess LC if you are a driven individual who is ready to learn, enjoys Pandora, and wants to become part of a great team. 

If you are interested in applying for the internship, please email Caitlin at theshop@jesslc.com. 

Have a great weekend and thanks for reading MML!


single-tasking
August 2nd, 2012     |    Business AdviceLife

 

Yesterday I created a new intention: single-tasking.

For the next week I’m putting an intense focus on focus.

Juggling everything with MML, Jess LC, and BWI is a lot. Thankfully I have Kiley and Caitlin to help with Jess LC which allows me to focus mostly on the high-level CEO/designer tasks there. But I handle MML and BWI mostly on my own.

In order to guard my personal life and keep work from creeping into my nights and weekends as much as possible, I have set pretty strict boundaries for work. I do my best to regularly stick to a 10a to 5p weekday schedule. I’m not perfect at it, but I do a pretty good job most of the time.

In order to be as effective as possible during those workday hours I have tried to set boundaries on my email. More than anything else in my work/life balance, email has proven to be the single greatest area where I’ve noticed remarkable results.

The less I check email the less I have a problem responding promptly and staying on top of things.

I honestly have no real idea why this phenomenon is happening. But every time I’ve curtailed email, I feel dramatically calmer and more in control of email and work.

This summer my new breakthrough is realizing that my ideal email checking frequency is just three times a day. Or 15 times a week total.

Though I’ve never checked email as infrequently as 15 times in a week yet, I do think that if I can get to that point I would be 10 times more productive in my businesses.

You see very few of my emails, perhaps just 7% of them, actually have something to do with working on my businesses. 93% of my emails are about working in my business.

And though I do need to work in my business to make it function and run smoothly, the growth and  productivity in my workday come from stepping away from my inbox.

So my new intention is to single-task throughout this week and next to reach my 15 inbox checks a week goal.

To be honest, I’m a bit scared to really attempt this… but I’m gonna go for it anyways. (Thankfully I have you here to help me stay motivated and accountable.)

Writing emails to grow the businesses or answering important time sensitive emails do not count in the 15 inbox checks. But any regular check is now going to be part of my 15 a week count.

Here’s what my new intention will look like on an average day: after I write my post here on MML I’m going to check my inbox in order to delete junk emails and answer emails that require a response. My goal is to answer each email right after I read it (I used to read emails all the time and then let them sit there for hours/days before responding). Then, once emails are answered and my inbox is as close to to zero as possible, I’m going to close my inbox and get to work on other aspects of my business. I’ll repeat this same process after lunch and right before ending the workday as well.

In order to track my progress this week in particular I’m going to make a note on my Teux-Deux list every time I check my inbox. So at the end of next Thursday I can see how close I come to my 15 a week goal.

Will I do this perfectly? Probably not. But I think this will be an interesting life experiment and personal challenge that will help me in my business immensely.

I’ll report back next Thursday on how it went!


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