Category: Life

ask me anything

August 26th, 2014   |   Life


As I pondered what to share with you today that could add value to your life today, I decided it was time for another Ask Me Anything day!

Rather than write a post that I think might be helpful for you, I would like you to email me directly and ask me a question you have!

TheLivelyShow-TaylorSterling Today on The Lively Show we are talking with Taylor Sterling, founder of The Glitter Guide.

The Glitter Guide is well-known for its popular daily lifestyle content, and Taylor’s own life and career often seems just as fascinating as the site itself.

In the show, we are talking with Taylor about her journey with GG and how motherhood has changed things for her personally and professionally now that her little eight-month-old lady, Miss Elodie, has entered her world.

This show is perfect for those looking for a real peek into the life of a busy work-at-home mom who is still learning how to juggle everything on her plate.  


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.


Today I’ve got a fresh new Lively Show for you full of actionable life and business ideas!

I’m talking with Kathryn Jackson, the founder of Protect Your Pumps, a product that protects the soles of your high heels, and the co-founder of Essentially Mint, an all natural beauty product line out of Milwaukee.

In this episode, we tackle the topic of online overwhelm, or “e-brain,” as I like to call it. We’ll be talking about what to do when it happens, and how to avoid it in the first place.

We’ll also be talking about how Kathryn’s career has evolved over the years, how natural products have become a big part of her life, and her recommendations for those looking to get more PR for their business or partner with a family member or friend.

This episode is perfect for anyone who struggles at times with online overwhelm, wants to switch to natural products, or runs a business.


the guesthouse hotel lobby project tour

August 5th, 2014   |   DecorLife


Almost two years ago, I moved into my most recent Chicago apartment with Mr. Lively.

We had just gotten married, and I was furiously decorating our entire apartment top to bottom so that it would be ready in time for our families to celebrate our marriage over Thanksgiving weekend.

While I was decorating, the builder for our (gut rehab) apartment building was walking through with city inspectors completing final inspections.

As he walked through my apartment, he asked if I was a designer.

At the time, I had only been hired by one woman in the city to help decorate her studio apartment. So I told him yes, I had done a studio, but never had the time to do it more seriously while I was juggling my old accessory company (Jess LC), the blog, traveling workshops, and business consulting.

However, since I had recently decided to close Jess LC to do the consulting and workshops full-time, I suddenly did have more time to devote to design projects.

Long story short: he hired me to design the interior of The Guesthouse Hotel lobby, decorate it, re-brand it, and re-design the website.

As an huge fan of Sarah’s House on HGTV, this was a (surreal) dream come true.

For the past 21 months, I’ve worked with them to complete all of these projects.

I’ve already shared the hotel branding before and after and a mid-build lobby update, but today I’d like to show how the lobby design came together!

We decided to go with a collected and classy “old” Chicago feel.

As you’ll see below, we started with an empty lot… which over the course of 10 months became a completed hotel expansion.


As Mr. Lively, Franklin, and I gear up for our next adventure in Austin, Texas (two weeks!), I feel compelled to share all the places that I’ll dearly miss about the wonderful city of Chicago.

Though I spent the first seven years of my life in Ohio, and the following 15 in Michigan, Chicago is the place I call home.

It’s where I moved after graduation. No hesitation.

Into a tiny studio apartment, with a tiny jewelry business that I was determined to take full-time… so I could also write a book and eventually get a TV show one day.

You know, like Oprah and Maratha – “because that’s how you help people,” my 22-year-old self would assure you.

Since August 16th, 2007 I’ve had many triumphs, dark times, defining moments, and nachos.

Lots and lots of nachos.




So while I’m eager to make Austin our new home  (and perhaps even our permanent residence), I fully expect that Chicago will always be my favorite city.

… For at least six months of the year.

So rather than make a list of only the ‘must see’ and ‘must eat’ places that you have to visit if you come to Chicago, I’m going to share the places and spaces I’ll personally miss the most.

The places that mean something to me, even if they aren’t all the most dazzling hot spots (though a few of them are).

Hopefully this list will serve as a reference for those who come to visit and who live here already. 


Today on The Lively Show we are getting proactive with our money!

I’m talking with Mary Beth Storjohann, of Workable Wealth, about how we can best use our money in our 20′s, 30′s, and 40′s.

Mary Beth is a financial coach providing accountability to her clients, and has been featured in many major news outlets including The Wall Street JournalForbes, NBC, and MSN Money.

In the show, we discuss how to prepare financially for big life transitions like planning a wedding, buying a home, having a baby, or being self-employed full-time.

Plus, Mary Beth shares her advice for couples who have merged (or not merged) their finances.

This episode is perfect for anyone who is looking to become proactive about their money, wants to merge finances with a partner, or is self-employed.



This week on The Lively Show we are going global!

To Australia, to be specific.

I’m talking with Rachel MacDonald of In Spaces Between, a life and blog coach that loves intention, living wholly, and is pretty much my kindred spirit.

In today’s episode, I ask Rachel to share how she has come to embody such a high level of love and joy in her life… Because if you’ve ever seen her work, you can sense that there is a tangibly high level of joy and love seeping through in everything she does.

This show is perfect for anyone looking to increase their experiences of joy and love in their lives!


Lately, I’ve felt the urge to do another habit experiment.

Like the #gratefulfor30 experiment (which was awesome!), I’d like to see if a new work habit will help improve my ability to execute Values-driven priorities, rather than checking my inbox (or social media) unnecessarily.

However, I’m not putting any restrictions on my email or social checking.

free july wallpaper

July 1st, 2014   |   LifeQuotableSpirit


Happy July to you!

I don’t know about you, but I was feeling kinda felt like I was swimming in honey while working on projects over the last few weeks. Things were moving, but oh so slowly.

But now that July is here (and Mercury Retrograde is wrapping up), I feel like things are picking up and moving along again!

To celebrate this new month, I’ve got a new summery wallpaper to share.

be gentle with yourself

June 17th, 2014   |   IntentionLifeSpirit


A month ago, Mr. Lively asked his company if he can work remotely so that we can move to Austin, Texas.

Our Chicago apartment lease ends in August, and we want to start renting in the city where we’d like to buy a home. At the same time, Mr. Lively would like to stay at the company that he loves.

After considering all the usual “tech cities,” like San Fran, New York, and Seattle (remember that whole thing last year?), we have settled on Austin. Austin is a great possible place for us to settle down – its a tech hub with warmer winters, a slower pace, and more affordable homes compared to my beloved Lakeview neighborhood.

Ever since last year’s Seattle experience, I have struggled to stay put here in Chicago. Obviously I’ve “stayed here,” but this year’s hellish winter served as a brutal reminder that I would still like to experience something new – and warmer!

However, we knew that finding out if Mr. Lively could get remote worker status would take a while. We figured it would take about two, maaaaybe three weeks.

But we’re now inching closer to 30 days of waiting.

And last week, the patience I set aside to cheerfully move through this process… ran out.

I got really upset that after all that waiting, we still didn’t know whether we were moving across town or the across the country.

I started to feel like there was no other way in the world I could be happy, joyful, and fulfilled if we were told that we had to sign another Chicago lease.

Meanwhile, I was busy working on outlining the new curriculum for Life with Intention Online. I was spending afternoons with a curriculum expert, Megan, to make the program on par with the quality, depth, and value of the content itself.

Basically, I was spending my time working on building the very thing that could have helped me deal with my own frustrations.

I felt like a fraud.

There I was, getting emails all week from clients sharing the wonderful breakthroughs they experienced thanks to the concepts they learned in the class — yet I myself was an egoic mess, future-tripping and “expectation letching” like crazy.

Which sent me into another whole tailspin of suffering.

Rule #1: Practice what you preach. Right?

Eventually, the pressure culminated last Friday with a mini breakdown and a major sinus headache that landed me in bed.

After a lot of reflection (and some tears), I finally came to grips with the fact I need to live from my Values, not my expectation of leaving Chicago.

Though I still don’t know if we can move to Austin yet, I do know that if we are told we must stay, I can still embody our home intention here in Chicago.

We can find a quieter place in a calmer, more affordable neighborhood. Staying here longer could set our home buying timeline back a year or two, but it is possible to embody our Values in many ways right where we are.

And though I’d have to experience another Chicago winter, we could perhaps work remotely from a warmer climate for part of that season.

When I no longer demanded something completely outside my control, I realized I am still able to live from my intention — no matter what happens. Even when it comes to choosing where I live.

Since this realization, a huge weight has been lifted.

I feel calm, peaceful. And though I’d still like to know where we will live, I’ve experienced an intense amount of presence, joy, and fulfillment.

Meanwhile, I also had to address my ego’s doubt:

Who would want to learn from someone who still struggles with this stuff sometimes, too?

Well, I’ve come to realize, the answer is simple.

Rule #1 is “practice what you preach,” right?

Well, when I work with clients I never expect that they’ll do things “perfectly forever.”

I simply ask them to recognize when things go off track, to return to the present moment, and go back to living from their Value-based intentions.

No shame or guilt required.

But I wasn’t giving myself the same grace.

The same patience.

The same understanding.

Even though I have transformed many, many parts of my life with this powerful approach and I am lightyears from where I was…

I still struggle sometimes.

I still get caught up in something like an exciting move to a new city.

And that’s okay.

I’m a student, too.

Together we can continue to return to the present moment, live from our Values, and support each other whenever we struggle.

Continuing to grow in this work doesn’t make us bad.

It makes us human.

We must be gentle when we fall.

Otherwise we won’t be able to get back up.


PS - Last night Mr. Lively and I launched the first part of the new site for Life with Intention Online! You can check it out here.


TheLivelyShowEsmeWangHappy Lively Show Day!

In today’s episode we’re chatting with Esmé Weijun Wang of Esmé Esmé is a talented writer, novelist, copywriter, blogger, and mental health advocate.

In this episode, we’ll be exploring how Esmé juggles her challenging career while dealing with schizoaffective disorder. She’ll share what she recommends for those who also have a mental illness diagnosis, as well as what we can do if we have friends or loved ones who face something similar.

In addition, we discuss how to overcome the urge to say “fine” whenever someone asks how we’re doing, and how we can become more radically sincere.

This show is perfect for anyone who wants to be more compassionate (with themselves and others), wants to connect to people in deeper ways, or who have been affected by mental illness in their own lives, or those they care about.


Reach Out


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