TLS #51: confidence, humor, & mental health with kelley lilien (mrs. lilien)


Today I’m chatting with the vivacious, witty, and talented graphic designer and author, Kelley Lilien, the creator of the Mrs. Lilien brand and books.

Kelley is sharing about how she discovered her strengths, what it’s like to work with Jonathan Adler, and her successful experience with getting professional help and medication for severe anxiety and depression.

This show is perfect for anyone who is looking to learn more about the freelance graphic design world, or wants to hear a positive experience with treating clinical anxiety and depression.









  • How rhyming became a part of the Mrs. Lilien brand.
  • The touching and spontaneous romance that sparked between Kelley and her husband at a Taco Shop in San Francisco.
  • How graphic design became a part of Kelley’s life. 
  • (~16:00) The challenges with anxiety and depression that Kelley has struggled with throughout the second half of her life.
  • The actions Kelley initially took to help get a handle on her anxiety and depression.
  • How Kelley knew it was time to get medication to help manage the anxiety and depression.
  • What the experience of getting on medication was like, the steps she took, and the immediate reactions she had to the medication.
  • Kelley’s emotions now and how they differ from before.
  • What Kelley would recommend for anyone else thinking they may need help with anxiety and depression and are considering medication.
  • Kelley’s experience with possibly creating a reality TV show and what she learned about herself.
  • Kelley’s branding advice.
  • What Kelley would tell someone just starting out on this journey.




Life With Intention Online – special holiday rate expires December 12.

The Mrs. Lilien blog

Clara Artschwager Lively Show episode

Esmé Wang’s Lively Show episode 

Kate Arend’s Lively Show episode

Mrs. Lilien’s Cocktail Swatchbook

Erin Gates’ Lively Show episode 

Courtney Carver’s Lively Show episode 

Simon Doonan’s books 

Jasmine Star 






Want more? Check out more Lively Show episodes here.


PS – Life With Intention Online special Holiday registration + pricing is now open for our 2015 class (offer expires 12/12)! Register here.


PPS – If you liked this show, you may also like:




This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. Shana

    I cannot thank the two of you enough for this frank discussion of mental health. I tried so hard to treat my depression and anxiety with health food and sometimes, medicine can be a life saver.

  2. Anna Lindsey

    Loved this episode! Such a bright, interesting perspective on some tough issues. And just fun to listen to!

  3. JillGG

    I absolutely LOVED this episode! I have been a long, long time admirer of Mrs. Lilien and since she seems very private it was awesome to hear her chat so frankly about her work and her issues with mental health. She is such an inspiration to me on a business level.

    I also loved hearing her talk about how she gets the goosebumps… I have that same thing! Can be really embarrassing sometimes… but it is a good reminder, as she said, that we are alive and feeling the feelings. 🙂

    Thanks for such a great episode ladies!

  4. Kelly Jo

    Really enjoyed this episode. I found so many similarities in Kelley’s story and my own. I was really apprehensive about trying medication to help with my issues but I realized that what I could potentially gain from it far outweighed the negatives (for me at least). I cannot thank you enough for having these conversations, this podcast has been a huge inspiration and motivator for me while I am beginning my journey to a happier and healthier life.

    1. That is so amazing to hear, Kelly Jo! I’m glad you tried new things, and found what works best for you.

      I hope that your journey continues to grow and that the show can come alongside that growth as well. : )

  5. Amanda O'Bryan

    Let me start by saying that I just love your show and listen to it every week, it’s been very inspirational to me.

    However, as a mental health professional I just felt the need to weigh in on this particular episode, because I was concerned with the content. The information presented here really gave me pause because there was no mention of therapy. The impression I was left with, was that if you have tried altering your diet and lifestyle, and still feel bad, that the only alternative is medication. This is not an uncommon thought process unfortunately, but it is a very dangerous one. The efficacy of therapy, (especially Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy), has been shown in hundreds of clinical trials, and has been shown to have long-lasting effects. The cognitive science community has not seen such strong empirical evidence of the lasting effects of psychotropic medication, and in fact, many studies have shown that there are dangers to long-term usage.

    I am not in any way saying that no one should take medication, there are cases where it can really benefit a patient. It’s important though, that the patient first have a full psychiatric evaluation, ie, NOT receiving prescriptions from a general practitioner! This is an absolutely frightening, but all too common practice.

    Ultimately, I just thought that it was important to note that there are certainly other alternatives to mental health besides diet and exercise. I just hope that your listeners that are struggling with mental health issues will take the time to explore these other options too.

    Thanks for listening. And thanks for your lovely show!

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughts, Amanda! Though Kelley didn’t dwell on it a lot, she definitely did mention that she had a therapist that she loves and still works with time to time who lives in Hawaii. It wasn’t a central part of her story, but it was mentioned as something that she used before medication and still uses after. : )

      Definitely a good thing to point out as well, however, since she did focus on the eating as well.

  6. An incredible interview. I’ve delightfully followed Mrs. Lilien for years and it’s wonderful to find out that the person behind the blog is just as fabulous as the blog. Her honesty and advice are inspiring.

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