life with intention

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To be honest, it’s 11:30pm and I just had an epiphany after watching Sarah’s House. So I’m writing while Mr. Lively falls fast asleep in bed and my mind races with inspiration at my desk.

For those who might not watch HGTV, Sarah’s House is a show about Sarah Richardson designing homes new and old with great intention, room by room. The beauty of her shows is that she shares the intentions of her designs as well as the challenges that she overcomes.

There was many a day that I sat in front of her show watching her work through setbacks with building, production, and manufacturing while I was designing bags for Jess LC for the first time. The nitty-gritty and not-so-pretty of business is not often divulged on TV or in business in general. So I devoured her honest depiction of her obstacles. And at the end of each show there is a beautiful room to show for all her hard work, hustle, and quick thinking which kept me pressing on in my own design process.

It’s incredibly satisfying for me as a designer and business woman. It makes my own challenges less scary and more handle-able.

And every so often I dream of being like Sarah as a person. So when Mr. Lively has an offhand comment that my hair or outfit seems to look “Sarah-like,” my heart soars.

True story.

But the point of this post is not about Sarah Richardson, no matter how much I admire her.

The point is about why I admire her and how that relates to this very blog. I have just realized that while I’m juggling a huge year in my life, I’ve been in many ways “hiding” it here. Sure you can see a quick summary of my week on Fridays during my This Week I’m Thankful For posts, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

And honest posts about handling anxiety like this week’s Worry Chain don’t really get the point home either. Not really.

Though I’ve been quick to offer up solutions and tips that help me handle stress in my life which might be helpful, I have not really been sharing the process of designing this year with intention. Or at least not far beyond our recent elopement and wedding planning.

And as my worry chain depicts, there are many, many changes in our future which have been stressing me out. Moving, decorating a beautiful home, raising a puppy, hosting two major parties, adjusting to marriage, and juggling three businesses during the holiday season are among my “worry links” for the next four months. But those same events are also those I am approaching with much care and intention – which is really causing all the stress I’m feeling in the first place.

I really want to do these next parts of my life with intention and that is what occupies my mind. It’s a blessing when done without anxiety and a curse when over-thinking.

But rather than share that here with you in hopes that my intentions might help others in similar life phases, or at least illustrate that we all have the chance to design these life changes with personal intention, I have kept them relegated to short pithy phrases on Fridays.

I’m not sharing the journey like Sarah does on her show which I admire (and appreciate) so greatly.

And it’s all because I’ve chosen to approach those aspects of my life without sharing them here, thinking they would not be of any interest to you.

But really, what I’ve just realized is that “designing a life and business with intention” is really about this life that I’m leading and juggling right now!  Those things that occupy my mind every moment only make up a fraction of a post at the end of the week. This is unbalanced.

Instead of keeping those things away from my content, I could be sharing them here, just like I did with the elopement. My decisions and intentions are not meant to be “mandates on how others should live their lives” but rather indications of how customized personal intentions can really be.

I need to celebrate those silly worry chain items here on the blog and embrace the fact that they will not work out perfectly, but with intention, they can help me get to where I want to be in my life.

So these next four months I will be sharing my move, decorating, marriage (with Mr. Lively’s permission), puppy, and businesses. I will let you in on the decisions I’m making now which will impact the outcome of each and every one of these things in my life.

I hope you join me for this crazy ride.

It won’t be perfect, but it will be intentional.


This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. Kristen

    Jess… I think we love you all the more for being real, intentional, and perfectly-Jess imperfect. <3

  2. This is exactly why I read your blog — because you’re real! I’m looking forward hearing about everything!

  3. Jenn

    So happy for you with everything that’s happening in your life, and I can’t wait to hear about it!

  4. Linda

    Jess! I’m thrilled. Thrilled! Can’t wait to hear more of your thoughts behind the scenes…

  5. kelsey

    This is so exciting! I’m thrilled you’ll be sharing more of your daily life with us here. I totally have to agree with your statement, “It’s a blessing when done without anxiety and a curse when over-thinking.”

    Since becoming a parent, being intentional with every decision has been absolutely OVERWHELMING. I don’t want to fall into “accidental parenting,” but juggling a marriage and career along with raising a baby, being intentional and thinking through things over and over has been quite exhausting. I’m hoping the things you share here in the next few months will help me design my own intentional life as well.

  6. I’m looking forward to you getting a little more personal. I’m afraid to get a little more personal on my blog. I’m afraid of speaking my mind on personal matters. Go you!

  7. I love this post and am so excited to hear all about your life, crazyness and all. I’m always trying to find the perfect balance on my blog between fashion and decorating inspiration and all of the real stuff, too. The nitty gritty. I never want to sound too perfect because I am far from it, but I also don’t want to put all of my worries, stresses and complaints out there and bore people to death.

    Blogging is a constant process of growth and discovery, and that’s one of my favorite things about it. One thing I do know for sure is that when you get those epiphanies at 11:30 at night, you should probably follow them and see what happens.

  8. First of all, I love that show too. Love it! But really, I’m so glad you are willing to share more about your life as you try to live it with intention. With everything going on this summer, I did feel like the content of the blog had “pulled back” a bit but couldn’t put my finger on it. I knew you had a lot on your plate and a lot of plans, but it did feel like the details were held at a distance. So thank you – for being willing to share your life at all, and for being willing to share it so deeply. You’re awesome.

  9. Susan

    “It won’t be perfect, but it will be intentional.”

    This. This this this. I seriously need to remember this. Like, write-it-down-on-post-its-and-stick-it-all-over-my-life remember it.

    I really like this post. I also really enjoyed all of the posts about the wedding – getting to see the reasoning behind your intentions for the wedding and how you put those intentions into action – so I am so excited that we’ll get to see more posts like that!

    I really hope you’re having an awesome day!

  10. Like the women above, I am so excited to read your upcoming posts. I love to hear the intention behind your decisions, it’s so real and fascinating. And I think it helps us realize the reasons a person may make a decision that we wouldn’t think we’d make ourselves. And then you’re like “oh, that makes sense.”

    I also love the line “It won’t be perfect, but it will be intentional.”

  11. Linda

    Hi Jess,

    Awhile ago, I read a quotation that I think was attributed to Joan Rivers (the comedian). Paraphrasing Joan, she said, “the most important thing is to recognize the best times of your life, while you’re still living them”. Whenever I think of this, it helps me to slow down and remember my intention of living in the moment. Because right now, I’m actually living one of the best times of my life. Sounds like you are too. 🙂


  12. Marguerite

    I very much appreciate your honesty through what is a huge year for you.

    There’s something that’s I’ve wondered about…in your list of stresses, you mention the puppy (several times). I get that a puppy is stressful, but at the same time this is a choice, and hopefully a really happy choice. (I want to be clear…this isn’t “you made this choice, why are you stressing?” it’s “getting a puppy is fun, I’m not sure why it’s on the stressful side?”) A puppy is a lot of work, yet if it’s a big stress and (based on it appearing on your stress list a lot) if you’re approaching it as a stressful thing, I’m not sure why one would choose to do it if you’re not enjoying it.

    I guess what I’m suggesting is to reframe some of the things you’re stressed about: thinking of the puppy as a fun thing (that involves work) instead of a worky stressy thing that might be fun. I had a rough summer, but it really helped me to focus on the positive, happy stuff (fun with my kids, the pretty green of trees, realizing how much wonderful stuff in my life there is) to change that rough summer into happiness. Remind yourself of the good stuff (parties mean seeing friends!) instead of worrying about the stressful stuff. Worrying is just thinking about the worst (or bad) possible outcomes.

    Completely appreciate your honesty about being stressed. I just hate to see you so stressed!

  13. Kate

    Yay! I’m so excited, Jess! I think as bloggers it’s easy for us to overlook some of the daily things that we’re going through and feel like readers would be bored by them, when typically it’s the exact opposite! Can’t wait to read more about your journey this fall 🙂

  14. Cathy

    Thank you for always sharing 🙂 I always look forward to your inspiring posts, no matter how mundane or profound it is.

  15. Jess

    Thank you all SO MUCH for your encouragement for me to go in this new direction here on the blog! I’m excited to start dishing out the details. : )

    Marguerite, thank you so much for your sweet and totally correct comment! As I mentioned a bit in the post, I too understand that my decisions are made because I want these things in my life and the stress I’m feeling is self-elected. I have even learned the same lesson before ( I think the thing for me is that I can over-think things so easily and that is what lands me in stress-ville. Plus, I just have too much on my plate period. And I’m working on fixing that.

    As for the puppy, you are totally right that he will be awesome and so much fun in many ways! The reason I think I keep finding it a stressful event is because working from home, I will be around him 24/7 and I’m not sure how much attention, especially when he’s really young, that he will take from my businesses during the workday. I really don’t want to get so far behind with everything that I want to accomplish with Jess LC,, and BWI because I don’t work long hours, I just hustle (hard) when I am working. So that’s I think where the unknown of the puppy seems to affect me more than say, Mr. Lively, who will be working away from the puppy during the day and will not need to be juggling both at once.

  16. Marguerite

    Hi Jess,

    Yes, I remember the want-to/have-to post 🙂 I think your response really answers my concerns, especially about the puppy (I completely get your stress now!)

    Thanks for answering, and hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead.

    Marguerite <3

  17. Dana

    Regarding the puppy… Have you thought of rescuing a one or two year old dog? They are so wonderful!! My last two have been young rescues, and one is now 13 and a joy to be around. So many people get puppies and can’t devote the time or energy to them and that’s how they end up in the rescues in the first place. Most don’t have bad habits and are already potty trained, so it ends up being an easier burden.
    Or, if you want to go all out, you can get a dog from this amazing organization that rescues dogs from the meat trade and trains them and sends them all over the world. There are links on the site to some that have come to the US, and I am sure they will warm your heart. The Facebook page has really great videos of happy endings, if you look at it.

  18. Marissa

    Jess, I think I definitely chose the right time to stumble across your blog! I have thoroughly enjoyed the past month or so that I have been reading your posts, and I’m so looking forward to sharing your crazy ride. I am a queen of self-elected stress, and it’s comforting to read about someone who has some of the same thoughts/habits – and also to learn how you have found to work through things. I am also a graphic designer looking to discover my purpose and define my business intentions, so you’re hitting all my nails on the head. 🙂 Love it, love it, love it. Thank you for sharing!

  19. Julie

    Just started reading your blog this week (love all the older posts!) and looking forward to the new approach as well. Best wishes!


  20. Having been through the best part of a year that has been full of dramatic change, I’m so excited to read these posts!

  21. Amanda

    Jess-thank you for sharing your life. It has been a joy and inspiration getting to know you through your blog, and especially in this new approach. Congratulations on your marriage and best wishes for a beautiful future!

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