So, How Was Your Day?

Breakfast:
Almond butter on some crackers (before run). English muffin with almond butter (after run). About six glasses of Lipton Iced Tea.
Lunch:
Mac and Cheese. A hefty portion of Comte cheese on crackers. Cherries.
Dinner:
Chips and salsa. Black bean nachos. House margarita with ice and salt.


Morning ➛
I woke up at 6am and read for about a half hour from Daring Greatly and a business book. Then, I spent some time reflecting on my day. The intention is to do this for about 15 minutes, but lately - like today - it’s more like five minutes. After the reading my husband and I walked our puppy, (Ben) Franklin, to doggie daycare and attempt a run. We get to the lake and again, I attempt some time to reflect and set my mind for the day. This time, I do better with the focusing. Once my shower and breakfast are complete, I start working at my computer. I pull up my blog, write a post and then dive into my inboxes. I’m also fussing a bit with my new blog design, and jumping in and out of Facebook and Twitter (it’s a bad habit).
Noon ➛
Hungry, I eat my lunch while diving through my favorite blogs. I then jump on three business consulting client calls. I help a photographer transition to her new business full-time, I help a jewelry designer edit her collection, and I help a graphic designer decide whether it is time to take on a full-time employee. The sessions take up most of the afternoon, but I still get some time to pop back into my inbox and check email and wrap things up for the day.
Night ➛
When my husband comes home from work, we discuss the meal plan. As usual, I’m more interested in eating nachos at my favorite local Mexican restaurant than I am in eating the healthy salmon we had planned to eat that night. After a little convincing on the way to pick up the puppy from daycare, I win the dinner debate. I change my outfit (twice) due to the unusually cool temperatures and we head over to the restaurant. After we get leave the restaurant we head over to the Home Depot nearby to grab a saw blade for a patio garden table project. I may or may not have asked a Home Depot employee to help my husband find the right blade without mentioning that he was sent to help. We went back to the apartment with saw blade acquired and watched two episodes of our “newest” favorite, The Dick Van Dyke Show on Hulu. We then head to bed and Mr. Lively reads The Alchemist aloud for a little bit before I fall asleep around 10:30.


Three Last Things…
1. What’s up with your ability to smile that big in every photo, but never look cheesy? Seriously, a true skill.
Hah! The truth is, I’ve found that I have about one to two looks max that I can do - that smile at the camera being one of them. In my high school graduation pictures I tried to look ‘serious’ and ended up looking constipated in most of the photos. At that point I learned it’s best that I look at the camera and smile.
2. You coach and consult entrepreneurs for a living. But what happens when the coach needs coaching? Who helps you? Or do you feel like you have to figure it all out by yourself? Is that a challenge?
For sure! I have a mentor who I meet with monthly who is somewhat of a Grandfather/Vice Chairman of the Board. He and I meet for an hour and I tell him what I’m doing, he gives me suggestions, and we debate my next moves with a ‘lively’ conversation. It has been invaluable to have him in my corner. Recently, I also added another member to my support “team.” She is part massage therapist, spiritual guide, and confidant. Not exactly a life coach, but she helps me keep my actions based on my intuition. So no, though it can feel isolating to be working solo for my whole career, the help of these two people above and a (constant) dialogue with my husband about the ins and outs of the business, I feel like I’ve been able to manage the process pretty well.
3. Meditation, reflecting, resetting your mind for the day…some days it feels impossible. What are three tips you use to use to do this successfully and not feel frustrated? 
It totally can feel hard to do! I have found the following things helpful: (1) Get a partner. I’m lucky that my husband is also spending time in the morning setting his mind in his own ways as well. Before, I used to try to do some of these things alone and it felt so much harder to do so while he was sleeping next to me. If a significant other isn’t an option, a friend might be helpful to check in with on a regular basis. (2) Switch it up. I don’t have a strict mandate that I have to do ‘x, y, or z’ each day. Often, I get into a ritual about it, but the ritual is mostly centered on spending the time doing reflective things in my physical, mental, and spiritual life. (3) Don’t think “forever.” I started this process with the commitment to do it for just one week. That helped me shift my schedule without begrudging the heaviness of changing my old habits. Once I had a chance to get accustomed to the routine I found that I really enjoyed it and found it brought a lot more peace and balance into my life.


Jess lives in Chicago with her husband and dog (Ben) Franklin. She spends her days helping people design lives and businesses with intention through blogging, one-on-one consulting, and workshops. jesslivley.com with-intention.com

So, How Was Your Day?

Breakfast:

Almond butter on some crackers (before run). English muffin with almond butter (after run). About six glasses of Lipton Iced Tea.


Lunch:

Mac and Cheese. A hefty portion of Comte cheese on crackers. Cherries.


Dinner:

Chips and salsa. Black bean nachos. House margarita with ice and salt.

Morning ➛

I woke up at 6am and read for about a half hour from Daring Greatly and a business book. Then, I spent some time reflecting on my day. The intention is to do this for about 15 minutes, but lately - like today - it’s more like five minutes. After the reading my husband and I walked our puppy, (Ben) Franklin, to doggie daycare and attempt a run. We get to the lake and again, I attempt some time to reflect and set my mind for the day. This time, I do better with the focusing. Once my shower and breakfast are complete, I start working at my computer. I pull up my blog, write a post and then dive into my inboxes. I’m also fussing a bit with my new blog design, and jumping in and out of Facebook and Twitter (it’s a bad habit).



Noon ➛

Hungry, I eat my lunch while diving through my favorite blogs. I then jump on three business consulting client calls. I help a photographer transition to her new business full-time, I help a jewelry designer edit her collection, and I help a graphic designer decide whether it is time to take on a full-time employee. The sessions take up most of the afternoon, but I still get some time to pop back into my inbox and check email and wrap things up for the day.



Night ➛

When my husband comes home from work, we discuss the meal plan. As usual, I’m more interested in eating nachos at my favorite local Mexican restaurant than I am in eating the healthy salmon we had planned to eat that night. After a little convincing on the way to pick up the puppy from daycare, I win the dinner debate. I change my outfit (twice) due to the unusually cool temperatures and we head over to the restaurant. After we get leave the restaurant we head over to the Home Depot nearby to grab a saw blade for a patio garden table project. I may or may not have asked a Home Depot employee to help my husband find the right blade without mentioning that he was sent to help. We went back to the apartment with saw blade acquired and watched two episodes of our “newest” favorite, The Dick Van Dyke Show on Hulu. We then head to bed and Mr. Lively reads The Alchemist aloud for a little bit before I fall asleep around 10:30.

Three Last Things…

1. What’s up with your ability to smile that big in every photo, but never look cheesy? Seriously, a true skill.

Hah! The truth is, I’ve found that I have about one to two looks max that I can do - that smile at the camera being one of them. In my high school graduation pictures I tried to look ‘serious’ and ended up looking constipated in most of the photos. At that point I learned it’s best that I look at the camera and smile.

2. You coach and consult entrepreneurs for a living. But what happens when the coach needs coaching? Who helps you? Or do you feel like you have to figure it all out by yourself? Is that a challenge?

For sure! I have a mentor who I meet with monthly who is somewhat of a Grandfather/Vice Chairman of the Board. He and I meet for an hour and I tell him what I’m doing, he gives me suggestions, and we debate my next moves with a ‘lively’ conversation. It has been invaluable to have him in my corner. Recently, I also added another member to my support “team.” She is part massage therapist, spiritual guide, and confidant. Not exactly a life coach, but she helps me keep my actions based on my intuition. So no, though it can feel isolating to be working solo for my whole career, the help of these two people above and a (constant) dialogue with my husband about the ins and outs of the business, I feel like I’ve been able to manage the process pretty well.

3. Meditation, reflecting, resetting your mind for the day…some days it feels impossible. What are three tips you use to use to do this successfully and not feel frustrated? 

It totally can feel hard to do! I have found the following things helpful: (1) Get a partner. I’m lucky that my husband is also spending time in the morning setting his mind in his own ways as well. Before, I used to try to do some of these things alone and it felt so much harder to do so while he was sleeping next to me. If a significant other isn’t an option, a friend might be helpful to check in with on a regular basis. (2) Switch it up. I don’t have a strict mandate that I have to do ‘x, y, or z’ each day. Often, I get into a ritual about it, but the ritual is mostly centered on spending the time doing reflective things in my physical, mental, and spiritual life. (3) Don’t think “forever.” I started this process with the commitment to do it for just one week. That helped me shift my schedule without begrudging the heaviness of changing my old habits. Once I had a chance to get accustomed to the routine I found that I really enjoyed it and found it brought a lot more peace and balance into my life.

Jess lives in Chicago with her husband and dog (Ben) Franklin. She spends her days helping people design lives and businesses with intention through blogging, one-on-one consulting, and workshops. jesslivley.com with-intention.com

So, How Was Your Day?

Breakfast:
Fried egg on toast, salted/peppered. A few berries. Huge glass of water. Small decaf iced coffee.
Lunch:
Platter of cheese, almonds, tomatoes, carrots, apple slices, pita chips and hummus. More water, and lots of it.
Dinner:
Caprese salad. Spinach and goat cheese pizza. More water.


Morning ➛
The alarm clock (aka baby monitor) sounds and I’m awakened by my 6-month-old daughter scratching at the sheets of her crib mattress. She babbles for a few minutes, then her talk turns louder as she lets me know she’s ready to play. I leave my husband and two dogs in bed and pad over to her nursery to start our day. I change her diaper and nurse her, then we head into the kitchen for breakfast. She sits on the kitchen counter and plays with her favorite toy (a wooden spatula) as I cook and read my emails aloud to her from my phone. After I’m finished eating, I leave my phone in the kitchen and we head to the spare bedroom for a good hour of uninterrupted, tech-free playtime: crawling, bouncing, singing, eating blocks and chewing stuffed animals. It’s fairly quiet, just Bee and me. She tires quickly so I lay her down for her morning nap. I then head to the office to answer emails and plan my day. She naps for an hour or so, and then we start the cycle all over again, sheet-scratching and all.
Noon ➛
My husband wakes up (he’s a night owl) and takes over baby duty while I shower, prep some lunch and head into our office to start my work day. I draft a few articles, answer emails, distract myself with Twitter and take breaks throughout the day to feed and smooch the baby. She’s in that fun, squishy stage where she smells like perfection and Skittles. Today I squeeze in a few calls: (1) With a snap manufacturer in Los Angeles to order custom color samples for a baby onesie line I’m designing, and (2) With a European content creator to discuss an upcoming keynote presentation I’m giving this summer. More Twitter distractions, some mindless Instagramming, some lengthy blog post edits and a few additional email responses before my husband calls me in for dinner.
Night ➛
Enjoy a quiet dinner with the husband and baby, which generally includes taking turns feeding Bee avocados and re-capping our days. Tonight, I head back to the office to tie up a few loose ends while my husband gets Bee ready for bed. He calls me when it’s bedtime and we head back to the nursery for her last feeding and some cuddle time. After Bee goes down for the night, my husband and I go through our nightly ritual of The Decision: (1) Watch an episode of Fringe? or (2) Enjoy a sauna? (My husband just built the most decadent Finnish sauna out of a spare closet in our bathroom.) Tonight, Sauna wins and we chat until our fingers prune and the steam fogs the door. I head to bed early to prep for another quiet, early morning with Bee, and Ken heads out to the office to edit a film he’s working on. He tucks me in with the dogs and I drift to sleep in 2 minutes or less.


Three Last Things…
What’s up with your dreamy porcelain skin? Your skin products, please.
Oh gosh, this is so hilarious because I have the most problematic skin in the universe. Everything breaks me out (I think the latest discovery is dairy, but I’m not willing to forgo cheese), so I’m constantly changing up my skincare regimen. Right now I’m using a combination of jojoba oil as a make-up remover, Neutrogena deep clean facial cleanser and Dermalogica skin smoothing cream. I also use shea moisture body wash and am obsessed with EO’s lotion for my legs/arms. And, of course, my #1 skin product is Photoshop.
2. You made a commitment this year to join the slow blogging movement. What was your tipping point to take a step back and let your ideas marinate?
I think after you become immersed in any job for so many years, you start to lose the why of it all. Blogging became very plug-and-play, and I hated that I was following the same formula for generating content and producing posts. It was becoming easy and old and tiring, and I wanted to jump-start my creativity again. So I returned to my roots - the reason I started blogging, which was to focus on discovery and ideas and sharing. As a result, I’m less concerned about posting daily and more concerned with whether I’m inspired at the very moment I hit “publish.” It’s been an amazing change - I feel invigorated by the idea that I can sit down for the day and have no idea what I want to share with the world, and I find that I’m letting my thoughts and imagination dictate the content I’m publishing, rather than what I have planned in my editorial calendar.I think, too, that when you’re constantly searching for the next big trend or designer or product, you lose the magic that comes with truly connecting with the product or person you’re sharing. I’ve so enjoyed interviewing artists/designers again and truly listening to their stories. It’s been an incredible inspiration for me to hear of the struggles they’re overcoming daily. It’s nice to allow myself the time to ruminate over an in-depth concept, rather than trying to summarize and condense it as fast as I can so I can move onto the next post. It’s like a slow feast of flavors, rather than a quick trip to the drive-in. I’m so thrilled with the pace.
3. Your mission is to uncover “how design can change the world”. What designs have had the biggest impact on your life since you started Design For Mankind?
Oh man, choosing one piece/concept is so hard, but I find myself continually thinking of this infographic journal project even though it’s been nearly a year since I uncovered it: the Infographic Journal by Merel Brouns. I just can’t help but think how much better our world would be if we all took a moment to truly reflect on our days in this fashion - from the mundane to the groundbreaking. What sort of things would we realize about ourselves? There are so many minute behaviors and habits that we sweep under the rug, but by documenting everything about our days, the proof is in print. How might this motivate us to make positive changes in an effort to live a life that’s [quite literally] note-worthy? An inspiring thought, yes?


Erin lives in Indiana with her husband, daughter, and two dogs. She is a writer, speaker, stylist, and consultant. Erin’s work has been featured in Glamour, Lucky, Dwell, Nylon, Apartment Therapy, and The Huffington Post. Her blog, Design For Mankind, was named one of the “top 50 design blogs in the world” by the London Times. designformankind.com  designforminikind.com

So, How Was Your Day?

Breakfast:

Fried egg on toast, salted/peppered. A few berries. Huge glass of water. Small decaf iced coffee.


Lunch:

Platter of cheese, almonds, tomatoes, carrots, apple slices, pita chips and hummus. More water, and lots of it.


Dinner:

Caprese salad. Spinach and goat cheese pizza. More water.

Morning ➛

The alarm clock (aka baby monitor) sounds and I’m awakened by my 6-month-old daughter scratching at the sheets of her crib mattress. She babbles for a few minutes, then her talk turns louder as she lets me know she’s ready to play. I leave my husband and two dogs in bed and pad over to her nursery to start our day. I change her diaper and nurse her, then we head into the kitchen for breakfast. She sits on the kitchen counter and plays with her favorite toy (a wooden spatula) as I cook and read my emails aloud to her from my phone. After I’m finished eating, I leave my phone in the kitchen and we head to the spare bedroom for a good hour of uninterrupted, tech-free playtime: crawling, bouncing, singing, eating blocks and chewing stuffed animals. It’s fairly quiet, just Bee and me. She tires quickly so I lay her down for her morning nap. I then head to the office to answer emails and plan my day. She naps for an hour or so, and then we start the cycle all over again, sheet-scratching and all.



Noon ➛

My husband wakes up (he’s a night owl) and takes over baby duty while I shower, prep some lunch and head into our office to start my work day. I draft a few articles, answer emails, distract myself with Twitter and take breaks throughout the day to feed and smooch the baby. She’s in that fun, squishy stage where she smells like perfection and Skittles. Today I squeeze in a few calls: (1) With a snap manufacturer in Los Angeles to order custom color samples for a baby onesie line I’m designing, and (2) With a European content creator to discuss an upcoming keynote presentation I’m giving this summer. More Twitter distractions, some mindless Instagramming, some lengthy blog post edits and a few additional email responses before my husband calls me in for dinner.



Night ➛

Enjoy a quiet dinner with the husband and baby, which generally includes taking turns feeding Bee avocados and re-capping our days. Tonight, I head back to the office to tie up a few loose ends while my husband gets Bee ready for bed. He calls me when it’s bedtime and we head back to the nursery for her last feeding and some cuddle time. After Bee goes down for the night, my husband and I go through our nightly ritual of The Decision: (1) Watch an episode of Fringe? or (2) Enjoy a sauna? (My husband just built the most decadent Finnish sauna out of a spare closet in our bathroom.) Tonight, Sauna wins and we chat until our fingers prune and the steam fogs the door. I head to bed early to prep for another quiet, early morning with Bee, and Ken heads out to the office to edit a film he’s working on. He tucks me in with the dogs and I drift to sleep in 2 minutes or less.

Three Last Things…

What’s up with your dreamy porcelain skin? Your skin products, please.

Oh gosh, this is so hilarious because I have the most problematic skin in the universe. Everything breaks me out (I think the latest discovery is dairy, but I’m not willing to forgo cheese), so I’m constantly changing up my skincare regimen. Right now I’m using a combination of jojoba oil as a make-up remover, Neutrogena deep clean facial cleanser and Dermalogica skin smoothing cream. I also use shea moisture body wash and am obsessed with EO’s lotion for my legs/arms. And, of course, my #1 skin product is Photoshop.

2. You made a commitment this year to join the slow blogging movement. What was your tipping point to take a step back and let your ideas marinate?

I think after you become immersed in any job for so many years, you start to lose the why of it all. Blogging became very plug-and-play, and I hated that I was following the same formula for generating content and producing posts. It was becoming easy and old and tiring, and I wanted to jump-start my creativity again. So I returned to my roots - the reason I started blogging, which was to focus on discovery and ideas and sharing. As a result, I’m less concerned about posting daily and more concerned with whether I’m inspired at the very moment I hit “publish.” It’s been an amazing change - I feel invigorated by the idea that I can sit down for the day and have no idea what I want to share with the world, and I find that I’m letting my thoughts and imagination dictate the content I’m publishing, rather than what I have planned in my editorial calendar.

I think, too, that when you’re constantly searching for the next big trend or designer or product, you lose the magic that comes with truly connecting with the product or person you’re sharing. I’ve so enjoyed interviewing artists/designers again and truly listening to their stories. It’s been an incredible inspiration for me to hear of the struggles they’re overcoming daily. It’s nice to allow myself the time to ruminate over an in-depth concept, rather than trying to summarize and condense it as fast as I can so I can move onto the next post. It’s like a slow feast of flavors, rather than a quick trip to the drive-in. I’m so thrilled with the pace.

3. Your mission is to uncover “how design can change the world”. What designs have had the biggest impact on your life since you started Design For Mankind?

Oh man, choosing one piece/concept is so hard, but I find myself continually thinking of this infographic journal project even though it’s been nearly a year since I uncovered it: the Infographic Journal by Merel Brouns. I just can’t help but think how much better our world would be if we all took a moment to truly reflect on our days in this fashion - from the mundane to the groundbreaking. What sort of things would we realize about ourselves? There are so many minute behaviors and habits that we sweep under the rug, but by documenting everything about our days, the proof is in print. How might this motivate us to make positive changes in an effort to live a life that’s [quite literally] note-worthy? An inspiring thought, yes?

Erin lives in Indiana with her husband, daughter, and two dogs. She is a writer, speaker, stylist, and consultant. Erin’s work has been featured in Glamour, Lucky, Dwell, Nylon, Apartment Therapy, and The Huffington Post. Her blog, Design For Mankind, was named one of the “top 50 design blogs in the world” by the London Times. designformankind.com  designforminikind.com