DESIGN YOUR LIFE: kendi of kendi everyday

The DESIGN YOUR LIFE series is back! After it’s vacation this summer, the DYL series is refreshed, slightly tan, and ready to start inspiring all over again. For those of you who are new, this series is where different people each Thursday share their intentions for their life and how they then “design their life” around those intentions.

In keeping with the theme of the week, I’ve asked Kendi our Diversey lookbook model and blogger behind Kendi Everyday to kick off the series this fall. If you haven’t seen her blog yet, go check it out. Her writing is as funny as her husband Bryan’s photography is great.


DESIGN YOUR LIFE: Kendi of Kendi Everyday

Are you guys tired of me yet? As I’ve been masquarading all over Jess LC and Makeunder My life, Jess thought it would be appropriate to have me write the Design Your Life post for this week. I was a little surprised when she asked me to write for this post, as I’ve admired each and every author of Design Your Life but I’ve never actually considered my life designed, unless you count a sink full of dishes as abstract art. But I have been trying to realign and redesign my life with intention over the past two years. During that time, I started a style blog called Kendi Everyday, a venture I never would have dreamed of in a million years. And now at 25 years old, I’ve feel like I’ve hit the stop sign to where my life was going and now I get to decide where I want it to go. This is what I’ve learned.

Three years ago if you would have asked me who I was I would have answered with this: someone’s daughter, someone’s fiance, someone’s employee. I had no idea who I was. I listed off titles of what I was to someone else, and although they were true and perhaps a part of my identity, they were simply parts to a whole.

A few months after getting married, my husband moved me to the smallest town I’ve ever lived in. Ever. It was his hometown so he was a local name, people knew him, his family, his history. I was just an extension of him. After introducing myself as his wife (and hiding behind that title) far too many times, it finally hit me that I didn’t know anything about who I was or what I wanted in my life.

After this revelation, I started listening to myself more, asking myself what I wanted and how I would do things. After about a year, I decided to take a risk and start a style blog. Let me re-phrase that I started a style blog in a town that could care less about fashion and even less about blogs. But even so, I knew I wanted to write and I wanted to be heard. I’ve since found a path that I’m excited to take on the journey of self-discovery all due to a risk I took a few months ago while trying to find who I am. And while I am still all of those things — a daughter, a wife, an employee, I now know that I am so much more.

The other part is understanding that who you are as a person is not yet finished. But to know who you are at this exact moment is priceless.

That’s right, I said unrealistic. Realistic goals are boring, do-able, expected. Unrealistic goals are bold, risky, and unpredictable. Why would you ever give yourself realistic goals? Where is the fun in that?

As a pessimist by nature and probably by nurture as well (hey Dad), that small voice is always at the back of my head giggling at my unrealistic goals. So paired with my lists of goals are normally my reasons as to why they could not happen, what deems them truly unrealistic. This is when my husband stops me and says “Why not?” to each goal I read aloud. I give him a laundry list of reasons why I would I fail to which he looks at me blankly and says “It seems like you’re the only person that’s holding you back.” And as much as it pains me to say this — he’s right. Dream big, no one is stopping you but yourself.

In the book Through the Looking Glass, this sentence sticks out the most to me: “Sometimes I believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” (Well said, Lewis Carroll.) Make this your goal, think of 6 impossible things for your life each morning. We have imaginations for a reason, for which I like to think is to dream. Dream up the most amazing story of your life, who says that it can’t come true?

Let’s stop for a second and be honest. On your path of life one thing is for certain: You will fail. It’s true, no one that has ever succeeded has failed to fail. (That was a tongue-twister.) As a perfectionist, this statement make my stomach turn. I hate to fail at anything. If I burn dinner you would think that I had just burned our house. I cry over spilled milk, can you imagine how I react to failure? Let me tell you, it’s not pretty.

Kendi Everyday is my third attempt to a style blog. I can’t say why the other two failed, or even if Kendi Everyday has succeeded but I do know that I stuck with it. And that in and of itself is a success. I was afraid to fail but I kept going because I knew that it was what I wanted to do. It’s never an easy route but as I’ve learned if you are afraid of failing you will never try. Try to fail, at least you’ll be trying.

If laughter is the best medicine, then pour yourself two tablespoons and call me in the morning. Some days are just bad days, there is no way around. Some days are downright horrible. On the days when it is hardest to smile, just go ahead and make yourself laugh. Finding a positive light in a situation is tough, but find it. Positive thinking can change your outlook and way of life. If there is nothing else left to do, then laugh. You might just laugh yourself happy again.

(Also, laugh lines are much prettier than frown lines.)

This is not a plug for the Jess LC Franklin Collection necklace. But it’s found here.

I am a dreamer. My brain is always in constant motion of impossible. I think of at least 6 impossible things before lunch and by the time lunch is over I’ve tossed those aside and I’m on to 6 more. There is an upside to this but there is a downside as well. Sometimes I’m so busy with my future plans that have not yet happened that I forget to be where I am, that which is happening. I forget who I’m with, I forget to enjoy what is happening right in front of me. (See? Being a dreamer is a blessing and a curse.) Too many times I’ve looked back at a situation in our lives and I don’t remember it. I let my mind go elsewhere instead of dealing with the present, which as I’ve learned is important if you want to deal happily with your future.  I’ve had to learn to slow down. To be present to what is happening around me and not just in my dreamy little head. Be present to your life now and be hopeful for what’s to come.

This won’t be the last of me, just the last of me on someone else’s blog. Find me at Kendi Everyday.

Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.

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  1. shannon

    beautifully written Kendi! You are so right–we are always evolving but we have to stop and appreciate who are and what we are doing right now. Thanks for being so candid!

  2. Kendi you’re so “real”. Everything you said in this post resonates with me. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m bookmarking this post for when I need a pick-me-up and I’m following you now too 😉


  3. Annie

    So glad to see the DYL series back on the blog, and Kendi was the perfect person to kick it all off. I especially needed the reminder to be present… Life can become so full of future goals and to-do lists that I miss the moment. Loved all the “life lessons,” but that one resonated the most.

  4. Jill

    yay for the return of DYL! I loved Kendi before and now I love her even more! I have had some of the same realizations – she’s lucky to be able to do it at 25! Her intentions are so simple but powerful… I love that!

  5. Great interview, and great points! At 28, I feel like I’ve designed a pretty awesome life for myself, and I’m ready for the next big step. Your advice will come in handy as I take the plunge!

  6. Mandy Ford

    There are so many words here that I needed to hear today. I love the idea of setting unrealistic expectations. That is something I’ve been thinking about a lot the past few weeks regarding my life and where I want to go next. And defining yourself aside from all of the things you are to other people – that is a tough one but very important! I’m new to your blog and as someone who grew up in a small town that sounds a lot like where you live now, I applaud you for doing your own thing!

    Mandy @ This Girl’s Life

  7. Lindsay Jean

    I loved this post! Jess, your site is so inspiring, and it was great to hear Kendi’s story. I’m giving it a shout out on my blog.

  8. Bevin

    So great. I stand by what I’ve said that Kendi is an amazing writer. So inspiring. I always hold myself back as well. Perhaps I’ll start setting unrealistic goals for myself as well. Perhaps that apartment and job in NYC will be my first.

  9. Kendi

    Thank you everyone! And thank you Jess for letting me post on Design Your Life. You guys are so nice, I was a bit nervous writing for this psot (see: sink full of dishes) but your response is incredible. I appreciate the love and am sending it back 100%.


  10. Brigitte

    This is one of my favorite interviews yet! It’s just so real — and inspiring!

  11. Cathy

    I love this one! Thanks Kendi! I’m also a perfectionist so I love her intentions “set unrealistic expectations” and “don’t be afraid to fail.”

  12. Corinna Marcia

    Well put, Kendi. This was a really good interview–I’m glad Kendi did it, because I never would’ve known about this blog otherwise!

  13. Lauren

    Great post Kendi – it’s fun to see a little bit of the serious side of you! I really like your thoughts on being ok with failure – I oftentimes find myself NOT doing things because of that reason – being afraid to fail. I also like your encouragement to dream big. Again, great post!

  14. Monique

    Awesome post! I follow Kendi and def will follow this blog now with the new series. Everything Kendi wrote resonates with me also. I definitely need to be more unrealistic. The only person stopping me is me!

  15. Niki

    Love her intentions! I’m fighting with myself about a lot of the things she spoke about right now. I’m confident in my ability, and I’ve let myself dream big, but for some reason, I keep blocking myself from making decisions I know are right for me in the long run. Good to hear somebody else say ‘it’s ok to fail!’ because I honestly believe that!

  16. Natasha

    What a great post…I saw a great deal of my life in the first part of this post…I also moved to my Hubbys hometown…and stood in his shadow…all the friends I have in this town are either the wives of his friends or his friends from highschool…now we are moving…and he’s been gone for 6 months (while I’m still here)…and I’ve started to realize that without him here most of these friends don’t exist anymore…it’s a very sad realization…but hearing (reading) you say “I was just an extension of him. After introducing myself as his wife (and hiding behind that title) far too many times, it finally hit me that I didn’t know anything about who I was or what I wanted in my life” has really made me look forward to our move (to now an even smaller community) because I know I can start fresh…and although I will still be in his shadow at times (he also happens to know half of the town there due to relatives, and working there 6 months already)…at least I will be given the chance to start fresh.
    I’m really glad you linked this post on your blog for me to find…because it’s definatly an eye opener…especially when the first part sounded exactly like my life…so now I just need to get on with things so I can “be present to my life now, and hopeful for what’s to come”

  17. Curls and Pearls

    What a great post Kendi! I’m a follower of Kendi Everyday and a huge fan! I really love how you encourage people to dream unrealistic goals! It’s hard to wrap your brain around that concept but it certainly makes so much sense. Keep up the great work 🙂

  18. Pilar

    i love this! kendi, i can relate to your statements on so many levels. thank you for sharing openly & honestly about your life…and with such humor! i love it!

  19. cailen

    love. love. love this post. i can totally relate to what kendi says about being so caught up and enthralled with future plans that sometimes i forget to “stop and smell the roses” and live in the here and now. i’m emailing this post to friends, family and fiance right now : )

  20. Piper

    Kendi, I so relate to what you said in this post!!! So many things we share in common – dreaming big, being pessmistic about it but having husbands that aren’t(!) and forgetting to stop and smell the roses. And that’s one of my fave quotes!! I love that you talk about embracing failure – you’re right, gotta be okay with it! 🙂

  21. Maggie Rose

    Now I want to be Kendi’s BFF too! This is one of my favorite Design Your Life posts. I can really relate to the “knowing yourself” and “don’t be afraid to fail” because I’ve struggled with both of those in the past as well. This was totally refreshing and sweet and I can see how the two of you hit it off!

  22. I’m so glad to see DYL back! Reading these posts is really inspiring and helpful to someone who feels stuck and hopeless, like me.

    I’m off to think up 6 impossible things!

  23. Jill

    LOVE Kendi Everyday! Great, down-to-earth writing and smart, attainable style. So very appropriate that she would be a guest on MML! Keep goin’, Kendi, you’re an inspiration to fellow dreamers and pessimists alike.

  24. Becky

    This is so great and so true for me. I’m a college student and am on “thinking of the future” overload. I do nothing but think of what test is coming up next, when do I have to plan this program or go to this event, and I really need to just slloooowwwwwww down. Like legit.
    I’ve recently become a follower of your blog Kendi, and I absolutely love it. And it’s inspiring me more and more to start my own style blog. I’m excited and I’m going to take your advice whole-heartedly!
    I need to start being in the present.
    Thanks for your this great post!

  25. Melanie

    I really like this entry. Kendi is a lovely girl and it’s great to see a more serious side to her. Though her self-deprecating humor never ceases to make me laugh out loud.


  26. So happy this series is back! I love a little dose of inspiration with my Thursday lattes. 🙂 My favorite Kendi intention? “Set unrealistic expectations” I feel like I’m living that with my Niner Project – but Kendi is right. If I don’t succeed, the only thing hold me back is me. 🙂

    Thanks Kendi!

  27. Carol

    Kendi – Terrific post, and so very timely for me. I am squarely at a crossroads in my life. I’ve jumped on that mid-life-travel-to-some-new-and-scary-places roller coaster, but it feels good, and am thinking that I’ll be:

    * Needing to know who I am right now, not who I was twenty years ago.
    * Giving myself permission to take risks again, however painful.
    * Standing in the shadows, in awe of who I am entitled to be.
    * Viewing failure as success.
    * Using unrealistic expectations as a launch for change.

    And I’ll breathe again, which will be good.

  28. D'Andra

    Kendi, you are so right about not being afraid to fail. I’m glad you did this interview. It helps put things in perspective for me. I’ve been needing a pick-me-up or a swift kick.

    I am right there with you, Carol.

  29. I wasn’t familiar with this post or this series until now but I love it almost as mucha s I love Kendi Everyday. I have “live with intention” from the Mary Anne Radmacher quote tatooed on my foot, so desiging your life with intention is totally up my alley.

    Great post Kendi! I especially love your advice to be present. That’s something I’m working at every day.

  30. Bethany

    Kendi- I freaking love you!! Your blog always makes me laugh, and I love your outlook. If you’re ever in the market for a BFF, let me know! 🙂

  31. Jaima Emmert

    True True True about being yourself and I am with you on having ideas all morning and then onto 6 more….It’s great to relate to someone with the same creative mind….Enjoy your day!

  32. Joanne

    This post was exactly what I needed. I’m am always the person standing in my own way. I need to reevaluate things and do something about the not so perfect areas of my life (i.e. I despise what I do). Great post Kendi and great serious Jess!

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