Category Archives: Uncategorized

It’s always GREEN in Tampa!

We are here! One year from the time my husband took the leap to a new position with a new company in a new city and state…and that city always seems to be green. The perfect month to be talking Green- is March! Green also represents Fresh and New so here goes on what I have found to be cool, odd, exciting and challenging about this new city we call HOME! 

We love our lifestyle! For all of you new Empty-nesters worrying about whether the kids will come home if you downsize or relocate…don’t worry they always find their way home. Well, okay my kids do miss that fabulous house we called home in CL. However, when you own a 100+ year old home, it is only meant to be yours for a time…and then a new lovely family gets to care for it. 

Moving into a new home and city allowed me to recreate the design of our home and our new look. Coming to the south, where the temps are a bit warmer, I decided I wanted to keep things organic, clean and light (notice I didn’t say bright). I was able to change up the bedrooms looks with some new furnishings, added some of the rugs from our previous home and the art and created an entirely new style and design. 

One of my challenges was fitting the furniture from a larger home into this smaller townhome. As a designer, space planning is such a key part of our job, and that skill came in really handy as I made those decisions on what to move or sell ahead of time.  For the main living spaces, we were able to keep things simply classic with a twist of Mid-century and that has allowed us plenty of space for greeting and hanging out with family and the friends that have been able to visit already. But, let’s be honest, most of our time this month will be hanging together outside before that sunshine gets too HOT for this midwestern gal. 

As you know, I have preached about my love of change for years, and that still holds true. The one thing I didn’t think about in moving to someplace new while working remotely was that I would have to get creative about how to meet new people and clients, so that is on my list for March as well. I am settling into a routine that allows me to be HOME longer than a week or 10 days at a time, which allows me an opportunity to be present in this new opportunity. So, when you see me ask me how I am doing with creating those opportunities. I’d better have a great answer! 

As I trade in my snowshoes for sandals this March, I am looking forward to getting my garden growing sooner than May 15th, and as I mentioned Green is everywhere. How’s this for a fun fact, it’s really difficult to find ‘shade’ plants in Tampa. Although, I am still searching for gardening centers like our amazing Countryside in CL, I am happy to say that I will be planting my first planter this month! 

I am sure at this time of year you are not excited about your friend Mary discussing sunshine and sandals, but I am here to tell you- all we are doing is trading different months of the year when we are inside versus out. March has always been that month where we begin to see the newness of life, the crocus starting to pop through the snow and new life begins. It’s an exciting time at y&M as fresh new furniture and products make its way into the shops. I hope you look to March with a fresh new sense of style and excitement, and if you’re not sure where to start anew- stop by the stores, you’ll find fresh everywhere you look at HOME by Yours & Meyn and Yours & Meyn! 

It’s all about LOVE!

February is the month of love! So, it’s only fitting to share all the things that I love– both personally and professionally (let’s see if you guessed any of them).

Family and Friends– I like to lump them together, right? Although there is nothing like family, we have the privilege of having some friends that feel just as close. The ones that you call on in a pinch or shed a tear with, and who are always there to lend a helping hand.  I love my family, my husband and children. I love my extended family as it grows to include nieces/nephews, even grand-nieces/nephews– it’s more fun than ever, and I love watching life continue to grow!

Music– I love music, the feelings it evokes, and the environment it creates, from a sultry jazz to a classical marvel and everything in between. I’m always listening to it, whether I’m working, traveling, or relaxing.

Books– Who doesn’t love a good book? Well, I truly embrace every aspect of a book from the paper its written on, to the way the signatures are assembled, to the actual words on a page. I am drawn to the creative minds that bring torn or glossy edge on a page (depending on the book) to the readers hands…think about all the books you’ve ever read and how they felt in your hand. It’s such a great feeling! I know I have written about cookbooks before and how they are among some of my favorites. But, it’s much more than the recipes on the pages. There is a story to how that cookbook came to be and about the love that I share when I create something from those pages.

Cars– I love fast ones. Enough said.

My career path– It’s been a long, twisted road, but it is exactly where I was meant to be at those exact moments in life. The path has taken me from the new home building industry to a retail store owner in 2 states, a designer that has done everything from remodeling old homes to designing and building new ones. I have staged homes, merchandised, and designed model homes. I have grown a team from a single employee to a team in the double digits. I have had an amazing career that keeps going and growing. My love of design, interior, exterior, landscape, kitchen…all of it. I love taking something old and outdated and updating to fit a need. I love when a client will smile over a completed project that has made their home a better fit for them. I love it all.

My new home in Tampa– This new life that Bob and I are creating is very different from anything we have done before and it is FUN! We walk or bike to restaurants, shopping, the bay, we visit the beach and new areas when I am home, and we’re getting involved in new adventures and experiences..

Lastly,  all of you– who not only read my blog but continue to bless my life with your stories of home, family and your ups and downs. I love the daily connection to your lives–even when I am away from the stores– through social media.

So, what do you love? Have you been making a list as you read through mine? I hope you have because no matter what is going on in this crazy world, we must remember that it is LOVE that will change it all. So, whether it is as simple as creating an environment that allows you to spread your love or the words you read on a page, love is what we all should share.

NEW DECADE. NEW DESIGN. NEW DREAMS.

It is with wonder, delight, sadness, enthusiasm, and relief that I look back at 2019, and look forward to 2020. I am certain that I am not alone as we look at the past year. As we look towards 2020, maybe some of us are looking at not only a new Decade, but maybe also A new state. A new life. A new home. There begins the theme for this year, 2020- the beginning of so many new things! Like any great journey, one must look at the past to know where they are going in the future.

It is in that spirit that I look back at the completion of our 10th year in business here in Crystal Lake Illinois. As I look back over these years will you follow me on this journey and reminisce with me as I recount the best of the best from the past 10 years? These little stories are not in any particular order, but they have had significant impact on our business. Here are some of my favorite memories:

-When one of my first reps, Mary Alice, told me ‘I have to buy birds, -everyone loves birds’- she said…guess what? The first item I sold in May of 2010…A bird. A cute sweet chubby bird. I wasn’t a huge fan of birds at the time…I am now.

-When I decided that I was never going to be able to do all of this paperwork by myself, and I hired my accountant, Heather, she was a God-send from day one and even though she has grown and moved on recently, she will always be a blessing to me.

-When the late, Ann Nevills walked into my ‘small’ store and told me she felt my business needed to grow and I would do great in her space as she was retiring… 6+ years later and we have filled this place to the rim…and service more design clients and customers than ever!  Thank you Ann, for having the confidence in me before I realized it myself.

-When my now, right hand woman, told me that she literally went home and cried her first week of work, because she didn’t think she was cut out for this physical job…silly Lynn- she rocks the retail world of Yours & Meyn.

-Celebrating my son’s 11th birthday on the newly stained concrete floors, in our first store 4 days before we had our opening party.  I am thinking Davis won’t be celebrating his 21st birthday with me the same way this coming April.

-Taking our first family vacation after we opened, with no employees on staff, and calling on both family & friends just to make that happen- I will forever be grateful for that vacation and every one since and the wonderful team I have that allows that to happen.

-All of those customers, that are now friends, that are still customers. Thank you. I wouldn’t be here without you.

-When my Marketing VP decided that ‘his’ boss was too bossy and he needed to take another position. That vote of confidence that I could tackle it all ‘alone’ from Bob (my hubby), was something that I didn’t know I needed, but did. Thank you Bob, for 10 years of free business consulting, physical labor, delivery, lighting service, marketing expertise, moral support…and so much more.

-All of the team members that have walked through these doors, with smiles on their faces, to greet thousands of customers, open more boxes, bubble wrap more items, schlep more heavy stuff, clean, de-glitter (if that is even possible), hang hundreds of ornaments, sell more succulents, staghorns, and some of the most awesome lamps and art than I ever dreamed possible…Thank you! You have all left a mark in my thoughts and on my heart.

-When my MBA student/daughter told me how she drew from her years of ‘watching her mom run a business’ to assist another small business owner make significant changes…my thoughts: she was watching and learning, she is empowering others, she will make a difference, she is my daughter Catherine.

I could go on…but alas…you have reached your threshold for words. So simply stated. Thank you all for everything!

We are bidding this past decade a fond farewell as we look forward to the new dreams and adventures this next one has to offer! Cheers to the “New Decade. New Design. New Dreams” to come.

Starting New Traditions

Just think, a year ago I was talking about the traditions that we share as a family, the busy shopping weekend at 2 stores, the plans for the upcoming gatherings and the ever-important Christmas day, celebrating the birth of Christ in our Pj’s. Flash forward one year and I am sitting here in Tampa Florida wondering how to make this Holiday season feel fresh and different and yet Family-focused but in a completely different home, climate and state. Have you had a big change in your life this year? Or do you crave a change? Or are you like many, just wanting to keep your traditions just that…traditions for all to share?  Either or any way, the Holiday season is here for all of us to share…and here’s what I am planning for this year.

First thing is a look back: I look back fondly on those early days when my kids would circle items in a catalog, think American Girl, or yell from the family room when they saw the toy they wanted on the TV. Now, I get a link to a website and a smiley face asking if we can add this to their list.  I remember those sweet faces anxiously waiting on the stairs until Bob and I “made sure” that there was something under the tree, and then the exhilaration and sheer joy as they came upon their gifts, no matter how big or small.  Those were the days.

Flash forward and now we are thrilled to have them home for whatever days the swim and college schedules allow. And being in a new home, without a mantel to hang stockings, has me super excited to try new things, and a little melancholy that I won’t be hosting friends this Holiday season.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t get to plan many great meals, setting a great table and finding new traditions for this new life in a new state. Here is what’s on the top of that list:

  1. Bring out all the Christmas décor that made the move.
  2. Go all out in a big way with our new smaller spaces with the decor.
  3. Plan a family gathering ensuring everyone is invited.
  4. Watch family movies on the rooftop (outside instead of inside)
  5. Invite some new neighbors over for a Holiday cocktail. Perhaps this will be the start of a new tradition.

No matter what changes you have seen in your life this year, I hope that your reason for this season brings you close to family and friends- that is pure Joy.

Spending Time Together

Recently I was working on an article about making our homes more welcoming for guests, and I shared some of the things that I have done to make our new home welcoming for friends. I wanted to share more of that experience with you, to “open my home” to you- so to speak- and share what I do to bring friends and family together.

With any new adventure such as a new home or just a change of season like FALL it reminds me that it’s time to come inside and make our home ready for the winter months ahead and guests! And we are fortunate enough to have had several grace our home, from traveling college students to siblings it’s been a fun summer of welcoming folks into our home. So, what makes my home that special place for our family and friends to gather? Is it the warm people that greet them at the door, the wow factor as they walk into your kitchen greeted by the scent of fresh baked goods, or is it the little touches that say- ‘Home is important to us and we are glad to share it with you’. I’d like to think it is all of it that makes our guests remember their time spent with us- well, there won’t be baked good necessarily, but there will be good food.

Here are a few more fresh ideas that I have implemented into making our home ‘guest ready’-

Nothing says ‘Welcome’ like a Fresh set of new bed linens and towels. Simple right. Moving makes it easy to look at your linens and decide ‘is that tattered towel worth spending money to move’? Even if you aren’t moving, Fall is the perfect time to spruce up the linen closet with a fresh eye and purge your old, worn out linens. If you missed our linen event at the store this Spring, you don’t know the benefits of investing in good natural quality fabrics and the long-term savings they allow…but we can share that information with you in store.

A new home also makes it easy to re-think how you ‘live’ in a kitchen. I planned my kitchen around someone else’s design so I really had to work through the layout as it wasn’t how I would have designed it. My challenge, as with any kitchen layout design, is to process how you live in your home. I wanted to make my kitchen work well for not just us, but guests as well. Making sure coffee mugs are where they should be is a VERY welcoming touch for guests. Again, it’s FALL and that makes it the perfect time to re-think your kitchen layout, and the accessories that make it functional and fashionable.

Lastly, welcoming guests means have comfy places for them to ‘sit a spell’ and visit! Whether that is a comfortable counter stool, a quiet chair for reading or a rooftop deck, each of those spaces needs to have a few key elements to make your guests ready to kick back and enjoy your company. I like to have a drink table (for both coffee and wine) easily accessible in any sitting area, as well as a comfortable stool for hanging in the kitchen. I recently had to replace my stools and found some great new styles and designs. Lighting is hugely important in any space, and guest spaces are no different. Lamps for reading in bed or in a chair, overhead lighting for tasks, ambient lighting for gathering areas help make a house feel welcoming for your guests.

When our guests come walking through our doors, we see our homes through their eyes and sometimes I don’t like what I see! So, let’s make this our reminder to start our preparations early, so when everyone starts to arrive, we get to do what really is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of any visit. Spending Time Together.

Will you forgive me?

It has been a long spring and summer and I thought I’d take this moment to fill you in on some of the details that surround the “talk” of my life.  This is not a pity party, this is a WOW- maybe I can do more with my life, career, businesses, homes and family (I know some of you that are close to me are shaking your heads at that thought). But really, I may be a highly functioning multi-tasker or maybe I love being busy, creative, thought-provoking. Maybe I need to just slow down and enjoy every moment of the fact that I have a life that takes me from the sea to the prairies to the mountains almost every month…hmmm, how do I ask forgiveness and explain this:

My husband, love him to death, took a new position in Tampa- don’t love that- but it’s a great opportunity for him, in March. Yep, sold the house, bought a town home, moved us out, moved us in, moved 2 kids in and out of college apartments/houses, started a remodeling project on my pied-a-terre (Not in France but that’s okay) so that I have a place to land when I am being a ‘travel for her career’ women- cause let’s face it- I am an empty nester and I should be able to have a business, a life, a husband and so much more. The kids love that their mom works and sometimes plays. I am not suggesting that I can “do it all” because really can anyone really ‘do it all’? No.

Here is the thing…I need you, my customers/friends to know that I am here- in Illinois and Colorado and I am staying. You haven’t seen me a lot but that’s where I need the forgiveness, I need to know that you understand that I didn’t predict or anticipate any of this and If you’d said to me on Feb 23rd, ‘You are going to: 1. Buy a home in another state 2. Move out of one family home and 2 college apartments 3. Move into storage 4. Set up temporary housing for you AND one for your husband 5. Move your 2 college students into new places (in 2 separate states) 6. Move back into one home 7. Remodel another home 8. Move into said remodel 9. Drive cross country 3 times to make sure everyone has the vehicles and ‘stuff’ they need and #10. Finally get to be with your husband for 2.5 weeks for the first time in 4 months…YOU would have told me to throw up my arms and QUIT because no one should be willing or able to do all of that. (PS. Did I mention we had a college graduation in all of that as well?)

Well, I don’t quit! I just ask that you come in and say HI- because I would love to see you again. And see me is exactly what you will be doing. I will be in the Illinois and Colorado stores seeing you again for 2 weeks every month. I am saving all that boring office paperwork for the time I am in Tampa. Like I said, I don’t want sympathy, I just thought I would share where and what I have been doing for the last 4 months. And here is the thing- I have the privilege of being able to make 2 houses into homes and that is exactly what I love to do!

So, let’s reconnect. Let’s share a glass and make your home as special as you. Because no one actually wants to do what I’ve done these last months without a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

And YOU ARE MY BRIGHT LIGHT!

Please stop by and see me at Mingle with Mary on August 15th from 5-7pm- I’m looking forward to it!

THE SUMMER OF CHANGE

Okay. Not going to lie. This blog has been difficult to start. See, we sold our home. The one that we spent 2 years renovating, the one that was our blood, sweat and tears, the one that made me smile every time I walked through the doors. Yes, that one. Here is the thing, I do love change- so even though I am sad about it, I am also very excited because that means…I am on to a new project! This project won’t be nearly as extensive as our previous home, however it does involve some inside and outside updates. So here we go- Welcome to Summer. Right?

Speaking of outside and summer- what are your plans? Will you be hanging out with Team Y&M at the first Main Beach Concert in the Park? That’s right- some of the team is going to be at the beach bringing Home décor ideas to you! We are very happy to sponsor the concert and to see you as we spread the word locally about what we do at Yours & Meyn, Simply Designed. If you aren’t able to join us in June, don’t worry we will be back in July and August as well. If you prefer the indoors while learning about the outdoors you can join us for our 2nd Annual Picnics, Patios and Prosecco event on June 13th. This well attended event has brought many of our customers up close with their inner-INA (Garten) as they set the perfect table-scapes for their summer dinners, beach concerts and Ravinia picnics.

As for me, I will be updating a new patio space so that I, too, can get back to some summer fun. In the meantime, I am still cooking with friends and family in some different spaces and locations, but still cooking! As a matter of fact, my daughter and I shared a lovely ‘hotel’ picnic- no cooking required- just last evening as we get her settled into her new digs for the summer in beautiful Boulder Colorado. My husband and I will be celebrating Father’s Day in Tampa hanging out along the Riverwalk and then cooking out on the balcony. And I have an extensive menu planned while I teach a friend how I make my pork carnitas for the upcoming weeks. I’ll be sure to share some of those moments on our Instagram and Facebook pages soon.

Whatever your summer brings I hope you enjoy every last drop of sunshine with all that are near and dear to you! That is what life is all about.

Mom’s are people too

May is the month we celebrate a very special person or persons in our lives…MOM. We all have a mom, she may be a Heavenly mom, an out of the picture mom, a mom that you couldn’t live one hour of the day without kind of mom- no matter how you live life with your mom- she is special. For me, this will be my second Mother’s Day without my mom and there isn’t a day that goes by that she isn’t thought of. May also marks the 18th year since the passing of my dad- he too was a super special man. So, I thought I would share some of the things that each of these special people taught me in life.

Stubbornness- Yep, got that from both! Although, sometimes being stubborn also means being strong. Strong enough to weather the storms of life, the ups and downs of owning a business, the ins and outs of relationships, the ability to wake up every day and say TODAY is going to be GREAT! No matter what.

Love- They both taught me that as well. We weren’t a mushy, huggy, lovey every day kind of family, but we felt love and lived with love in our home. Everyone knew they were loved- and even liked- everyday. The special times playing in the yard with my whole family- all 7 of us- Thanksgiving football “games” in the back yard- those were great times with much laughter and love.

Laughter- Ditto. Both again. Sure, we got yelled at- after all 5 kids 9 and under at one point had to break down any parent. I am sure there were many days when my mom wanted to push us all out the door and lock them tight! Actually, she probably did! Another of my favorite childhood memories was being allowed to stay out until dark- and most of the time we were laughing and hanging out with the pals in Pennsylvania! As I recently sorted through a few photos (thank you Jenni and Diane for going through the rest) from my mom- there were so many where she was smiling, and my mom had a beautiful smile! I like to think that I got my smile from her- although my dad had an awesome smile as well (think Elvis Presley)

Cooking- It’s funny because my mom always said that she doesn’t know how we all learned to cook since she didn’t know how. Well, she may not have known how when she first got married in 1957, but by the time we were all in sports and activities we were all being fed well! Recently, I made her ‘special’ frosting for the rest of my siblings- I didn’t realize that they had not been making this frosting for the last 20+ years as I had (yes it has something to do with the ingredients) but my husband, kids and I can’t imagine a birthday without ‘Grandma’s Frosting’. Also, did I mention that one of my brothers is a chef?? See mom, you really did teach us the value and ability to cook. It’s something that I treasure and share with anyone that will allow me to do for them.

Homes- My parents both taught me the value of owning, building, living and designing a home. My dad was in the homebuilding business and he shared that love and industry with all of us. Some of us finance them, some of us design them, some build them, and we all share special moments in them. My mom always kept a tidy home and designed elements of our homes over the years as her budget allowed (just like all of us). I had the privilege of designing the last home she lived in as her health was declining. That opportunity allowed me to get to spend important time with her visiting both as a ‘client’ and as her daughter. For that, I will always be thankful.

For YOU- my mom and dad shared the love of family, friends and business relationships that turned into friendships for as long as I can remember- I have had the honor of those same relationships here at Y&M for 9 years! Yes, 9 years this month. I hope that you will come celebrate with us at our 9 is Fine Anniversary Celebration on (appropriately) May 9th! I look forward to thanking you for all that you have shared with me.

 

NEWNESS IS IN THE AIR!

April this year seems to be bringing even more newness for some of us- from the snowy cold days of Dec, Jan, February and even March- we are looking for NEW & fresh! Spring seems to be arriving just a touch later than usual and I for one am ready for the grass to turn green- I got a few days on the slopes- so now I am ready for it! There seems to be so much happening in our lives these days that it’s sometimes hard to take that “moment” and watch the coming of Spring.

What is on your spring agenda? Are you wrapping up that much needed warm weather vacation? Are you awaiting the purchase or sale of a new home? Are you living the sacrificial Lenten season and awaiting the Risen Lord? Maybe you are doing all of this and more. I know that this is the time of year we all start to spend more time outside, freshening up our yards as well as preparing our homes for the season and the fun summer events that we have penned in the calendar.

As I left a client home this morning, I noticed the crocus and daffodils sprouting reminding me of the days ahead when I get to play in the yard. This season, I have another project on the list that will really let me “dig into” my love of landscaping and updating the look of another older home from the outside in…stay tuned as I get going on this project.

As for my other seasonal activities, I leave “my’ teenage years behind as my youngest hits the “20” milestone, my other graduates from college- HOW DID THAT HAPPEN??- my husband will embark on a new adventure, we will begin the 10th year here at YOURS & MEYN, we will host our annual Ladies Night Out, and the team and I will continue to beautify homes each and every day here at the store and in your homes.

It’s Spring! Let’s share it together- we look forward to greeting you at the store!

Welcome 2019!

New Year, New You…do you get tired of hearing that? I’ll be honest, I do. I tend to want to improve myself at other times of the year, say in the Spring when the grass is turning green- that is when things feel fresh and wanting to be turned new. That’s when I decide to really hit the ‘gym’ aka the road. In January, I want to hunker down, make great meals- you know- warm, comfy meals with rich meats, sauces, etc. I want friends and family to stop by on a lazy Sunday after church and share these meals with us. I want the Christmas decorations down, and the new “it” item up…hmmm maybe I do like new after all. Honestly, I do tend to order new furniture or change things up in January- after all the house does look bare after taking the decorations down.  This year, it’s time for new kitchen counter stools and 2 new chairs in the family room- you know the pieces that get sat on every day!  I know you are thinking, ‘oh she probably changes her furniture every year’, but I don’t. Like you, I have a budget, I have kids that have expenses (like college), I must make ends meet…just like you.  This I do know, January is the perfect time to start making those decisions. January is the time to get things ready for the Graduations, the weddings, the summer parties…because when I plan ahead, the plan gets completed right on time…in the Spring when everything is new again.

…and to make my life feel a little easier- this may be the year, I hire a designer from Yours & Meyn, Simply Designed to make my plan a reality. Why didn’t I think of that before??