DESIGN YOUR LIFE: kaileen elise


Before I get into today’s DYL let me do a few quick announcements. (Wow, kind of sounds like I’m a teacher…)

  • Thank you, Holly, at Decor8 for announcing the first Spring Video Blog about Gratitude! It was incredible of her to feature our brand new project. And I’m also blown away by the number of people who are already supporting our new baby. And in case you are interested, we are also doing a giveaway for five adorable Gratitude journals – so hop on over to win one.
  • Thank you to Magchunk for doing an awesome interview with me yesterday. Her questions were a joy to answer. And is it just me, or does Erwin kind of look like a rap moghul?
  • And once again, I am doing a trunk show at Macy’s on State St. today and tomorrow from 11-5. Come say hi, grab some holiday gifts, and use your Macy’s coupons for discounts on Jess LC jewelry.

Okay, back to the DESIGN YOUR LIFE at hand. Today’s interview is with Kaileen Elise. I first found Kaileen through her awesome blog, which is almost a cousin to MakeunderMyLife. In fact, I feel like Kaileen and I might even somehow be cousins on some weird “life purpose” level. Reading her intentions, topics, and perspectives was like hearing an echo of my own thoughts. She has some great features that I’ve enjoyed reading including the Joy Diet. I definitely recommend reading her blog if you are a fan of designing a life with intention.

After reading her DYL, I think I might put her favorite quote (mentioned in her “Believe in the Extraordinary” intention) on my 2010 Intention Board. Enjoy!


Wake up with a smile.

For months I’ve tried to renovate my morning routine. My attempts have ranged from waking up super early to picking my outfit the night before, but nothing was achieving my desired outcome. I was searching for peaceful mornings, a way to begin my day with calmness and joy. I finally settled on beginning my day with a smile.

Every night before I fall asleep, I think about how I want the next day to play out—an easy morning commute, positive feedback at work, a refreshing yoga practice and a fun night at home with my mister. I tell myself that I’m going to sleep well and wake up rested.

I’ve realized that I cannot control every aspect of my day-to-day, but starting it off with a smile puts me in the best possible position. These days I find myself waking before my alarm goes off with a sleepy smile on my face.

Find inspiration everywhere.


Unlike the elusive peanut butter jar in the pantry, inspiration can be found easily when you are searching for it.

Being inspired everyday is one step towards the life of my dreams. The blogging and twitter community has helped immensely in my pursuit of this intention. The amount of creative talent in the world is completely encouraging.

Part of this intention is creating environments where I feel inspired. I keep my desk organized, but full of tiny details that make my life special—family photos, quotes to live by, trinkets and pictures that make me smile.

Enjoy simple moments.


When it comes to leading a purposeful life, enjoying simple moments is at the top of my list.. Like most people, I have a busy schedule with a to-do list longer than my arm. I stay connected to my goals and dreams throughout the day with several simple exercises: meditating while my tea brews, having meaningful conversations with friends, reading an interesting blog, connecting with new Twitter friends, writing in my journal, breathing on purpose and listening to motivating podcasts.

Live and love with heart.


Buddha said, “Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” Deep in the center of our soul there is a voice that guides us—it shines light on confusing circumstances and helps us see things as they really are, rather than as they seem to be. Living and loving with heart is my path towards being authentic, sharing myself, and opening up to the guidance of my intuition.

Put myself on the list.


I think every person has the “list” – the one that dictates the many priorities for a given day.  It’s a common practice for busy people (especially women) to leave personal care off the list. One of my intentions is to take care of my needs—emotionally, physically, spiritually, creatively, nutritionally, and otherwise—so I can be in a better place to help others. I am much happier when I drink plenty of water, eat fresh foods, practice yoga and smile often.

Believe in the extraordinary.

Believe in the extraordinary sums up one of my favorite quotes:

Belief in yourself and in the possibility of success is the most important requirement for living an extraordinary life. Believe in belief.  Believe in yourself and the best of the world will come to you-and…you will be prepared to receive it. Don’t sell yourself short. You do not require permission to be extraordinary.

-Richard Quick, 6-time coach the US Olympic Swim Team

If there is one thing that gives me the motivation to pursue my dreams, it’s my belief in the possibility of extraordinary events becoming commonplace in my life.

Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.

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  1. Jill

    I LOVE that quote at the end SO much… I just put it in my “work” notebook. Where I write all the nuts details of my life, interspersed with inspiration! Great DYL… can’t wait to check out her blog!

  2. Dad

    Although I am her father and some may say I am biased, I offer this comment after reading Design Your Life: Kaileen Elise… I think Kaileen is beautiful – inside and out…

  3. jess, thank you so much for giving me the chance to share my intentions with your readers.

    jill & analiese marie, your kind words have warmed my heart. i hope my musings provided bits of noteworthy inspiration.

    dad, thanks 🙂 it’s a little embarrassing that you’ve commented, but i secretly love it.

    racheljo, i’ve been meaning to write a post about what podcasts inspire me. right now i’m subscribed to:
    creative living with jamie ridler
    the daily boost with scott smith
    the moth podcast
    this american life
    tranquility du jour with kimberly wilson

  4. GJim

    K you have always been a source of pride and a loving GDaughter stay safe and see you in NOLA . . . Love, GJim and GLee.

  5. what a great series and Kaileen is the BEST person to have featured. i love how she finds inspiration in the little things that people would overlook. her outlook on life is just contagious. I am so glad to have met her through this wonderful blogging world.

    how pretty is she? both inside and out!

    love this interview. xo

  6. Jess

    @ All: Thank you so much for your kind comments about Kaileen. I agree, her DYL is awesome and very inpsiring.

    @ Kaileen: Thank you so much for participating, my dear!

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