Category: Life

a new direction

January 28th, 2014   |   Business AdviceLife

NewContentDirectionGood afternoon! I’m back from Alt Summit and jumping right into the fold.

While I was in Salt Lake, I thought a lot about the impact I want to make this year. Particularly when it comes to this blog, client work, and my career as a whole.

My vision is to spend the majority of my online time directly helping people live lives with intention.

I want to spend more time helping you to improve your life, rather than just writing about my own.

After careful introspection and conversations with several readers at Alt (thank you, ladies!), I am excited to announce the following changes to help bring this vision to life on the blog:

  • Twice weekly posting schedule.
  • Intention in your inbox.
  • Daily mini updates (hint: Instagram!).
  • A note about business content.

Here’s a bit more detail about each change,


Twice weekly posting schedule


Going forward, I’m switching to a twice weekly posting schedule.

On Tuesdays, I’ll share a helpful and actionable post about living life with intention.

On Thursdays, new podcast episodes will air (starting next week!).

Limiting my posting to one written post and one podcast is awesome because it helps you consume less content.

Lately, it seems like people are busier than ever before. This slower posting schedule will help me to go deeper into topics (aka: be more helpful) without overwhelming your reading list.


Intention In Your Inbox


Now that I’m sharing less weekly content, I’m also adding an option to follow by email. This way you the blog can come to you.

Sign up is located on the blog sidebar >


Daily Mini Updates


Even though I’ll be updating the blog less, I’m going to be sharing daily on Facebook and Instagram!

This is a pretty big development as many of you know – because I’ve always stayed away from using Instagram publicly. That’s all changed now thanks to Helena, my Alt roomie. She patiently answered a million questions and taught me how to use the social aspects of the app (I may or may not have the nickname #InstaGrandma now).

Please connect with me - @JessCLively! I’ll be sharing all the funny, fashion, flowers, and Franklin pics here from now on.


A Note About Business Content


With these changes, upcoming posts will touch on career and small business in the context of intention, vision, goals, fulfillment, and meaning.

Purpose will trump packaging design.

Significance will outshine social media strategy.

I want help you optimize your approach to life so that all aspects of your life – including your business – can thrive.


So there you have it!

Higher quality / less frequent posts, daily Insta updates, intention inbox... the best is yet to come! : )


PS – There are just a few Life with Intention Online spots left! RSVP now >


five years of blogging

January 20th, 2014   |   Life


{ got a new look for its 5th birthday! }

Yesterday marked the fifth year of this blog. Back on January 19th, 2009, when I started the blog, it was a Blogspot site called Makeunder My Life.

A lot has changed since then. I’m now married, have a puppy, no longer run Jess LC, live in a nicer apartment three blocks down the street, and am helping people design lives with intention full-time.

Oh, and I’m now closer to my 30′s than my early 20′s. 

However, looking back at my very first blog post, my mission has remained relatively consistent despite the somewhat continual state of transition in my life and career.

Here’s what I shared back on January 19th.

… With this blog I plan to share my intentions, design inspiration, entrepreneurial stories, and cool stuff that crosses my path. As a designer I am drawn to all sorts of images, ideas, and ideals I wish I could automatically incorporate into my life. Some I can, others take longer. On the flip side, my “business” side enjoys planning, executing, and tracking my progress. …

I hope the posts and ideas to come are fun to read, continue to keep me inspired, and help others become more excited about growing in their own lives.

Not particularly well written, but surprisingly accurate to what has transpired over the past five years.

To see how this simple mission statement has shaped my career and life experiences is almost overwhelming.

It hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been quick. It has taken tons of time, money, and faith.

But more than any of that, it also has taken your support. Whether you’ve been reading since the beginning or if you found the blog recently, I have one thing to say:

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


What’s Coming Up

Looking to the year ahead, I’d like to:

  • Pare back the number of weekly written posts (to 1-3 posts per week)
  • Add weekly podcast episodes
  • Increase the number of chances to help people make progress in their own lives

I’m also in the process of launching the new podcast. I’ll be honest, this project has taken me much longer than I expected.

Launching Life with Intention Online and the new With Intention site (as well as revamping this blog over the weekend) has meant I’ve been working constantly with Mr. Lively on nights and weekends to create a cohesive brand between the both sites – and eventually with the podcast as well.

But you know what?

That’s the fun thing about blogs.

They ebb and flow with the lives of the bloggers themselves.


Cheers to another five years of intention,



are you going to alt?

January 17th, 2014   |   Wineday Friday


Happy Friday to you!

This weekend I’m going to be spending a bit more time on the new site redesign (if Mr. Lively feels up to it) and I’ll be getting prepared for Alt Summit next week (still need to find a green dress…)!

Are you going to Alt, too? If so, please say hello if you see me!

I’d love to meet you.


Have a great weekend and thank you for reading!  


photo via

HotelBrandingBeforeAndAfterAs many of you may have noticed after yesterday’s announcement, I launched a new With Intention site!

It’s pretty, easy to use, and very mobile friendly – which is important as things keep moving in that direction.

Anyways, I’ve also been working on another website redesign that I haven’t shared yet, the hotel!

As you may have seen over the course of last year, I have been the Creative Director for a local boutique hotel in Andersonville called The Guesthouse Hotel.

Last year I guided their brand redesign and website and this year I’ll be designing their new hotel lobby.

Here’s a quick look at the before and after at the logo and website (because there’s something so satisfying about a good before and after, right?).


Logo Before

GuesthouseLogoBeforeThough not bad, this logo was not quite hitting the right tone for the hotel.

It was clean and simple, but felt more “commercial real estate” than “boutique hotel.”


Website Before



The same goes for the website. Clean and simple… but not extremely inviting.


Logo After



To set the right tone, we selected Alex Yeske to design the logo and business cards.

Her eye for style was exactly the right tone for the new direction.

What I love about this logo is how relatively timeless it is. We considered some other more popular font styles, but stuck with this classic design that won’t look dated in a few years.


Website After



I personally designed the website and had Mr. Lively programmed it to life.

It’s easy to use and sets a much nicer tone.


New Photos


GuesthouseHotelPhotoI also encouraged the hotel to get new photos taken of the gorgeous units (they are actual condo-quality units with full gourmet kitchens, living rooms, etc.).

For this job, I recommended Daniel Peter, a Chicago-based photographer who I’ve worked with over the years for my own business.


Lobby Design


Because the lobby is actually still being built from the ground up (literally!), there is a lot to consider. But what was once an open hole last summer….




Will soon look like this!

photoAbove is a quick snapshot I took of the mood board I created for the lobby.

As things come together over the next six months I’ll be sure to check in with some updates — if that’s something you’d like to see!



PS – Thinking about signing up for a Life with Intention Online class? Each one is already almost 50% filled, so sign up soon to grab your spot.



Have you ever tried to improve areas of your life, only to find:

You get what you want. But it’s never enough. 

Every time you reach your goals and attain your desires, you are underwhelmed by the lasting impact they have. So then you create bigger goal lists and shinier vision boards. And on, and on, and on. 

Or, you don’t get what you want. So you never feel good enough.

No matter how hard you try (or don’t try) it can feel impossible to create the big (or sometimes even little) changes you would like to make in your life. You might even stop trying to change altogether in order to avoid getting disappointed.


Life doesn’t have to be like this.


There is a different way to approach all aspects of your life that results in the fulfillment, joy, wellbeing, and love that you seek.


Not in five years or once you’ve checked off your endless “must-do” lists.



Life with Intention Online is designed to help you rebalance your approach to life so that you can find the fulfillment and joy you seek without “shoulds,” stress, or someday thinking.

During this weeklong online class, I will teach you an entirely new way to approach your possessions, personal habits, relationships, and career by using one universally true and refreshingly peaceful intention-based process.

We will work together to:

uncover your deepest potential in each area of your life

remove old shame and guilt

craft clear intention-based action plans for your possessions, personal habits, relationships, and career


When you live from an intention-based perspective, your values inspire the best possible outcomes to unfold naturally. You no longer have a mountain to climb, yet you are more powerful than ever before.


No more striving.

It’s time to start thriving.

Sign up for class to get started.


As many of you know, I spent much of last year working on a “secret project.”

After six months of development and teaching this intention-based approach to my one-on-one clients, I am beyond excited to share this process with you in a live, online, small group setting.

My vision for 2014 is one where I spend more time working with you, rather than simply writing about my own journey here on the blog.

I believe it is possible for us to live without the stress that comes from traditional approaches to fulfillment and success. 

Let me show you how.


2014 seasonal intention calendar

January 13th, 2014   |   Life


download the full-size Jan-Mar calendar here

This year I did not do my typical future letter and seasonal calendar (I’ll share more about what I did instead on Wednesday). But thanks to Vanessa and Ashley’s requests, I have a new Seasonal Intention Calendar to share with you!

Rather than break it down by season like I’ve done in the past, I titled it by months in order to accommodate our Aussie friends, as Vanessa suggested.

For those who might be new to the Seasonal Intention Calendar, here’s a little background:


It is easy to let seasons come and go without taking the time to really think through what we’d like to havedo, and be during that season.

Though a weekly priority list does a good job keeping us on task in our careers and in other life roles, it lacks the larger scope that we would like to have for a season.

When it comes to things we’d like to intentionally purchase, fun day trips we’d like to take, or (most importantly) outlooks we’d like to have more frequently, a bigger picture vision for the season is ideal.


If you are looking to add a little focus to your winter, I hope you consider this little calendar as an easy way to plan 1-3 months ahead.



Top10BooksForNewYearsResolutionsAs you know, I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. And from what I’ve gathered from conversations with friends and other posts on the internet lately, it seems that resolutions, with a meager 8% success rate, aren’t quite as popular as they once were.

While this is great news, it doesn’t mean that we cannot still create real and lasting change (for the better) at the start of a new year – or any other time for that matter.

Though we may not be making any “grand proclamations,” I think it might still be helpful to share a few books that I find powerful to help address the most popular new year’s resolutions for 2014.

Because even if we might not be making “resolutions,” these areas are important and benefit our overall wellbeing.


Resolution #1: Lose Weight

Book: Women Food and God, Geneen Roth

As you may remember, I spent nine years of my life thinking about food and my body more than anything else. I ate too little. I ate too much. I was all over the place, letting my ego run the show… until I read this book.

Please don’t be turned off by the mention of God in the title, it’s not a religious book. But it will create a few secular “Come to Jesus” moments.

This book was my first step to weight and body image freedom and I cannot recommend it highly enough for anyone who struggles with this all consuming issue.


Resolution #2: Getting Organized

Book: Getting Things Done, David Allen

Though I have recently shared a complete review of this book, I will quickly share that this book is particularly helpful if you are looking to find a system of planning and organization for work and life.

It’s not geared specifically towards clutter, but it will give you some tools and processes to put in place regarding to-do lists, project planning, and keeping track of everything in your life.


Resolution #3: Spend Less, Save More

Book: It’s Your Money, Eric Williams

This book has been instrumental in my own life in the past year to get more inspired to spend less and save more. Hearing the Williams personal story of reducing their ~$40,000 in debt in 23 months – on average incomes – made me deeply consider what I really want to do with my finances.

This isn’t a hands-on “how-to” book for debt reduction and budgeting, I believe it’s the precursor: it’s the book that makes you want to get more serious about finance and saving.

Meanwhile, the Words of Williams blog is a great resource for the tactics and nitty gritty details of making a budget happen.


Resolution #4: Enjoy Life to the Fullest

Book: The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle

More than anything, I’ve come to believe that being present is the key to enjoying life to the fullest. And the book that has helped me in that area more than any other is The Power of Now. I found that it got particularly helpful towards the middle of the book.

Implementing Mr. Tolle’s suggestions in my life has created more moments of presence and awareness – which in turn lead to joy.


Resolution #5: Staying Fit and Healthy

Book: The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson

This isn’t a book about exercise. It is the book that will explain why it may have been difficult to maintain a healthy fitness schedule in the first place – and what you can do about it going forward.

If you want to make any change in your life, this book is the one to start with.

After reading The Slight Edge, you simply apply these straightforward and powerful principles to the details of the habit you wish to make.


Resolution #6: Learn Something Exciting

Book: The War of Art, Steven Pressfield

Chances are, there may be an exciting new habit or skill lurking in the back of your mind that you wish to attempt. But for some reason or another (time, fear, money, public opinion, Homeland) you haven’t done anything about it… yet.

This book reeks of soul-bearing truth and can be the wake up call that gets you going.


Resolution #7: Quit Smoking

Book: 10 Tips for Quitting Smoking, Leo Baubuta

This one isn’t actually a book, it’s a post by Leo Baubuta of Zen Habits sharing his own tips on quitting. Stopping his smoking habit once and for all actually kicked off his journey to living a zen life.

I recommend diving into Leo’s other books, interviews, and posts to get a fuller sense of what helped him kick the smoking — and kick start so many other positive changes along the way.


Resolution #8: Help Others in Their Dreams

Book: Start with Why, Simon Sinek

This book is a great way to understand the elements of purpose. Once these concepts are understood, it becomes easier to teach and share the principles with those who seek more meaning in their lives.


Resolution #9: Fall in Love

Book: Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts, Regena Thomashauer

I’m not particularly familiar with the genre of dating books out there, I found this one to be pretty helpful and fun to read.

Regardless of whether you are single, dating, or married, this book is a fun read that has a fresh take on a lot of universal principles.


Resolution #10: Spend More Time with Family

Book: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey

What can I say? You didn’t expect me to leave out my favorite book of all time, did you?

Yes, I’m proud to list The Seven Habits as a foundation for any of these resolutions, particularly this one about more family time. When it comes to finding balance in life in all areas, this book (particularly habits 2 and 3) will provide the road map.

Though the content can seem dense at times, it is worth its weight in gold when applied consistently.

Take some time with this one. A month per habit is a good way to approach this valuable material.


As you consider reading some (or all) of these books, I hope you take some time to apply the nugget of wisdom from The Slight Edge:


Reading books is useless unless the concepts are applied consistently.

So go forth and read and then do!


free january wallpaper + giveaway winners

January 2nd, 2014   |   LifeQuotable


download the full-size image here


Happy New Year! 

As we slip through the last few days of the holidays, I have a fresh new wallpaper to share!

Joy has changed up the wallpaper format for 2014 and included a new quote style and mini monthly calendar.


Week of Giving Winners

It’s also time to share the giveaway winners from the Week of Giving!


Mentorship Applications: I’ll be going through the mentorship applications today. I would like to read each with careful thought and answer them individually. My hope is to respond to everyone today, if possible.

But based on the large number of applicants, this may not be possible. So if you applied, please expect to hear back from me in the next few days!

I will not be announcing the year-long mentorship winner publicly due to the personal nature of these applications.


“That One Thing” Intention Session Winners: The two randomly selected “That One Thing” Intention Session winners are…. Spotrox (#36) and  Kimberly (#1)! I look forward to working with each of you in the next few weeks and will be reaching out shortly!


Gold Shoe Winner: Congrats, Erin Klegstad (#2) you were randomly selected to win the gold shoes! I’ll be emailing you soon!



Wallpaper designed by Joy Laforme for

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!


photo by

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

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 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!!

Reach Out


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