Category: Life


Yesterday I got back from Nashville after speaking at the AH Inspired retreat. I had a fantastic time with some amazing women.

But, today I’m back in action with a new Lively Show episode for you!

This one is good, guys.

Really good.

I’m talking with designer Kate Arends, of the well known design blog, Wit & Delightand one of the newest Target collections!

Kate is smart, honest, vulnerable, and takes her craft seriously.

In this episode, we cover a gamut of topics including: how minimalism has evolved away from its original intent, her personal journey to learn to love and accept herself, and her relationship with mental health issues.

This episode is perfect for anyone who wants to learn more about minimalism, authenticity, thriving with mental health issues, or designing for Target.



This week I’m writing you from Nashville where I’m speaking at Amber Housely’s AH Inspired retreat. 

But even though I’m away most of this week, I still have a new Lively Show airing on Thursday with Kate Arends, designer and founder of the popular design blog, Wit and Delight.

In the episode, we talk about the urge to try to control the people closest to us.

Below is a personal story that I share in the podcast which taught me a powerful lesson about why controlling people is pointless (and usually results in the opposite of our desired outcome).


One day while sitting by the lake in Chicago, I had a spiritual a-ha moment.

life with intention online is now OPEN!

September 9th, 2014   |   InspireIntentionLife


Today is finallllyyyy here!

After working hard all summer with:

  • A curriculum specialist to make the course as easy to follow and learn from as possible.
  • Two graphic designers to make the custom workbooks/member site/front end site.
  • An illustrator to bring the videos and content to life.
  • A launch maven to help make enrollment as smooth as possible.
  • And working with Mr. Lively for months programming the member site, private forum, and main page…

Life With Intention Online is here!

To say that I am “excited” doesn’t quite do it justice.

In fact, I’m actually quite peaceful and mellow… probably an after effect from the past five days of work and all the late nights getting this course ready.

In fact, I “planned” to make a really awesome and heartfelt video for you this morning explaining how this course came to be over the past eight years.

It would have been great.

But the truth is: I’m still sitting in my bed in my PJ’s, working just like I did until very late last night.

So, though a video of me talking to you with dark circles under my eyes might be “interesting…” I think it’s better to share my journey with you via the written word. ; )

Here it goes,


The truth is, I searched for this course my whole life.

I grew up as a kid who wanted to do it all, a college student who tried to do it all, and a 20-something who realized “doing it all” wasn’t actually that great.

Mostly, it left me feeling empty inside.

No matter how many things I accumulated, or goals I reached, I never had enough. I had to keep inventing new dreams, goals, and visions in order to get “there.”

Wherever “there” is.

But the truth is, it didn’t work. I never got “there.”

I just stayed here.

With the same longing in my heart. The same feeling that I wasn’t enough. And the same desire to find a way out of the Rat Race I constantly fell back into.

One day, during a particularly difficult period of my life, I stumbled upon a quote about Michelangelo. People once asked him how he created the stunning statue of David with a single piece of stone.

Michelangelo replied that it was much simpler than they were making it out to be.

He simply saw the potential within the stone, and removed the layers that concealed the potential within. 

In that instant, everything clicked for me.

All the guys I dated, candy bars I (binge) ate, and lipsticks I bought, were never going to reveal my full potential. They were merely adding to the stone instead of subtracting the excess.

I decided in that moment to find a way to live from Michelangelo’s perspective. I wanted to approach my life from a place of revealing my potential, instead of obscuring it.

I wanted to understand why the way I had been taught to “succeed” in life led to so much heartache, struggle, dissatisfaction, and distraction from the present moment.

This class is the culmination of those eight years of study. It weaves together truths taught across several genres, including personal development, spirituality, Eastern/Western philosophy, psychology, and business (with a healthy dose of design, of course).

My hope with this class is not to teach you something “brand new” that has never existed before.

Universal truths have been here forever

I simply hope to present a powerful process that is easy to visualize, understand, and act upon.

I want to help you live from Values-based intentions.

Let me show you how.

With love,


PS – I sincerely hope you take some time to check out the course and do a gut check to determine if it is the right fit for you.

I know it has the power to transform a life (it certainly has for me) and it has helped alumni of the course:

  • Determine the next right actions in their careers.
  • Approach their wedding week stress free.
  • Transformed relationships with family members and friends.
  • Get clear on how to create an environment they love.


PPS – Today through Friday (9/12), I’m offering a $50 Early Bird Discount on both membership levels.

This is the very lowest I ever plan to offer this course, so if you want to join, register today!



Before I get to today’s Lively Show guest, I’d like to share two exciting announcements:

# 1. Life With Intention Online registration opens next week!

If you are interested in learning more about the class and getting access to special bonuses, please hop on the special email list here.

# 2. I’m going to be next week’s guest on The Lively Show.

If you have a question you’d like me to answer on the show, please comment below or send me a tweet with your question!


Today on The Lively Show I’m talking with Caitlin Wilson, of Caitlin Wilson Design and Caitlin Wilson Textiles.

Caitlin is a talented interior designer with a popular fabric, pillow, and rug line as well as a mom of three little ones living in Portland.

In this episode, we talk about how she manages her priorities with three little ones (one of which is just three weeks old!), a marriage, and her career.

In addition, we discuss how her relationship to social media has changed over the years, particularly now that she has children.

This episode is perfect for interior design buffs, moms juggling careers, or people looking to have a more balanced relationship with social media.


Top10AskMeAnythingAfter last week’s Ask Me Anything Day, several people asked me to share the questions and answers that other people were sending and receiving.

So today I’m sharing the “Top 10″ of the questions from this Ask Me Anything roundup.

Obviously, each exact question was only presented once, but they represent a host of other questions along the same lines.

And remember: the challenge was to ask and reply within three sentences or less (which I stuck to as much as possible).

Let’s take a look at the top 10, shall we?



Though every episode of The Lively Show is awesome, if I could only ask you to listen to one episode…


I’m talking with Kristoffer Carter, a father of three, intense meditator, full-time employee, multi-instrumentalist, coach, partner with Jonathan Fields, and force behind This Epic Life.

We talk about how he achieves full life integration with everything on his plate.

This show is about everything, applies to everyone, and is so good I hope you listen twice! 


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. 

Reach Out


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