what is Live Lovely?
Live Lovely is a lifestyle movement created by Lauren Layne in 2018, inspired by the desire to live a life that’s a little more …
Okay, but what does that mean?
It's a lot like it sounds! It means making choices on a day-to-day basis that make you feel lovelier.
Maybe that means taking the time to put on a lipstick that makes you feel a touch more glamorous.
Or putting on that dress that makes you feel like Audrey, spritzing perfume that channels your inner Marilyn, and wearing your “fancy” shoes that put a little more sass in your step.
All that on a Monday. Just because.
Perhaps it's about splurging on fresh flowers because they brighten your day, eating takeout on your wedding china because every day is special, and drinking your sparkling water out of a wine glass instead of the can, because that's just how you roll.
Live Lovely is about choosing kindness over gossip, and spreading word about things you love instead of things you hate. It's about pumping the brakes when you're about to whine on Facebook under the guise of "venting." It's stopping yourself before saying something about someone else that's just plain mean, or does little to put out positive, good vibes.
It’s knowing what’s going on in the world, having an opinion, and expressing that opinion with grace.
It’s refusing to quit your daydream, and letting your success be your noise.
It’s about pouring a cup of tea and spending your afternoon break with a journal or sketchpad, instead of mindlessly scrolling through Twitter or Facebook.
Live Lovely is a way of life that celebrates that which makes us feel exquisitely beautiful, and reflecting that gorgeous feeling through your ideal lifestyle.
Because there is power in beautiful, as its defined by each of us. We’ve all felt it. Watching a Katherine Hepburn movie, seeing a new mother’s glow as she holds her newborn, the first snow of the season, a perfect rose in a mason jar, or the exact shade of lipstick that makes a woman come alive.
And maybe none of what I described is you—maybe my version of "lovely" is completely different from your vision of your ideal life, and that's okay. In fact, that's the entire point.
Live Lovely is about pretty things, yes, but more than that, it’s about deliberateness.
Live Lovely is about what you choose to do, read, buy, feel, wear, and think, on a daily basis.
Live Lovely is elegance, poise, grace, sophistication, and strength.
It’s about saying yes to lovely, however you define it.
the story behind Live Lovely
(fair warning: I get super real here)
One of the unexpectedly tricky parts of being an author: figuring out your tagline—that phrase that tells people a little bit about what you write, and what they can expect from you.
I started started extremely basic with my tagline: contemporary romance author.
Eventually, as I found my author-voice, I transitioned to a more specific variation on that: sexy romantic comedies.
Then, in an effort to be unique, I tried out a dozen or so other clever, “original,” taglines, which backfired, because, ironically, in my effort to be unforgettable, I can’t remember a single variation of those taglines.
Most recently, I’ve forgone a tagline completely, and simply put New York Times bestseller by my name as a quick-reference way of letting people know what I do (write books). It’s also a quick way of establishing some street cred, demonstrating that I have, in fact, published books that people have read, and that I haven't just been working on my opus in my basement for the past 20 years.
But truth be told, I can never decide if I even want that.
Depending when you’re visiting this site, there’s a 50/50 chance of whether you’ll see my name alone at the top of my website, or my name + NYT bestseller. I change it up every other month or so.
And here’s why:
The further I get along in this writing career (I’ve been published since 2013), the more being defined only as my “author self” isn’t enough.
Yes, writing books is my primary day job.
Yes, I’m a bestselling author (though, let's be real, not all of my books are bestsellers).
Yes, I write romantic comedies, and yes they’re sexy.
But because of the explosion of self-publishing, all of those taglines and accolades pertain to hundreds of other authors. Even thousands.
That's not a bad thing! I love that there are so many readers who love romance. And while I’m proud to count myself among those authors' ranks, I’ve been bothered lately by the fact that I want to be more than an author.
I am more than my books.
I have so many things I want to do, say, and be that don’t fit onto the pages of my books. I write romantic comedies. I love romantic comedies.
But I am not romantic comedies.
And at the start of 2018, as I did a bit of soul-searching after a creatively and professionally bumpy 2017, I realized that while I love writing, the reason I pursued a full-time writing job in the first place was because I wanted to be utterly in love with my life.
Yes, the dream was about writing books, but in my day dreams, it was also about the lifestyle.
I imagined typing on my laptop, sure, but I also envisioned my nails being perfectly-manicured as I did so.
I imagined a dedicated writing space with a sleek desk, a scented candle and a pretty notebook.
I imagined glamorous book signings in cute dresses and strappy heels and champagne, but I also imagined my “every day” look: professional, polished and The Today Show ready at a moment’s notice.
I pictured morning coffee with my husband in beside a vase of fresh flowers before I started my writing, and a fresh, healthy lunch eaten at a table in between writing sessions.
I pictured a classic cocktail in an elegant glass to celebrate the end of a great day.
As for the work itself, I envisioned a bookshelf in my office, lined with my published works, in pretty, classy covers. I imagined writing book after book, slowly growing an enthusiastic readership who’d liked my stories enough to spend their hard-earned money on them. I imagined juicy strategy and marketing calls with my publisher, plans for book tours and interviews and book launch parties.
You’ve probably guessed where I’m going with this: the reality turned out to be quite different.
Now, it’s not all bad. There's been plenty to celebrate.
But while I feel incredibly fortunate to make a living doing what I love, I didn’t love the way I was doing it.
The fact is, the romance world (I’m specifically going to be talking about the romance genre because it’s the only one I can speak to), is decidedly less glamorous than you’d believe.
In my experience, there’s not a feather boa in sight, and the chocolate bon bon cliché has been replaced with the cliché potato chip bag or Hershey's bar, devoured while hunched over a laptop, usually wearing sweats or pajamas.
The "author in pajamas and/or yoga pants" has become the norm. And let me be very clear here, if that floats your boat, go for it. But that's not me. I've been trying to pretend that it is because there's a lot of advice out there that we authors should be "relatable." I've been embarrassed by my desire to get "dressed up" each day, worried I'll alienate people. I've felt alone, and snobby for even wanting to embrace a different sort of lifestyle than "all-day-comfy-pants and lots of chocolate." When what I really want to say, is, "My name is Lauren Layne, I like stilettos and I eat kale, and wear makeup every day, and please love me anyway, just as I am."
As for book signings ...those too are a far cry from my daydreams. They're generally held in large convention centers with fluorescent lighting, folding tables, and not a champagne flute in sight.
Most romance authors I know aren’t taking time for a proper lunch, or to do something that makes them feel pretty, because they’re booked back-to-back with Facebook parties and deadlines.
"Marketing," these days is limited to joining the thousands of other authors talking their book up on Facebook/Twitter, all trying to be heard in a market of millions of romances. Increasingly, you have to pay to play, most of it paid for by the author herself.
Hearts and souls are poured into stories that are e-book only with no physical, lasting presence, sold for $0.99 or given away for free, and "old news" within a week as the next batch of new romances hits the market.
None of that is what I dreamed of. None of that fills me with joy and pride.
And here's the important part:
It doesn't have to be that way.
I sound like a snob to a lot of you. I get that. I acknowledge that. But let me also be clear that I'm specifically talking about my own life—my own desire for something different. Something better for me, and my dreams/goals/vision. They may not apply for you!
But I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what’s been missing for me these past couple years, and I realized that in the process of chasing what I want to do (write books), I lost sight of who I want to be, and how I want to act.
So I’ve started to pay attention who, and what inspires me.
I look up to women who are polished, poised, well-spoken, and graceful. I admire elegant style icons like Audrey Hepburn, Kate Middleton, and Jackie Onassis. I respect eloquent game-changers like Emma Watson, Oprah, and Michelle Obama.
I love elegant flowers artfully arranged, a classic cocktail with the perfect garnish, a woman in a classic trench coat and pumps. I love a thoughtful coffee table, a tidy desk, and a perfectly-made bed. I like an understated manicure, a classic red lip, and a little black dress.
I love a new hardback, or high-quality paperback, that while pricey, is also worth it, because it's art, and art has value.
All of these things, from the high-quality book to the really great lipstick say, “I take pride in myself, and my work.”
They say, “I’m choosing to show up to every area of my life with my best foot, my best outfit, my best self forward, because I am worthy of that.”
And look, we don’t all have to wear pearls, Chanel, and stilettos. Lovely doesn't have to mean fancy.
It does for me, but I encourage you to come up with your own definition of lovely.
To ask yourself:
Do the details of my life represent who I want to be? Am I making decisions that make me feel lovely?
Thus Live Lovely was born as a quiet movement committed to bringing me closer to the life I envision, through the choices I make.