Category Archives: Uncategorized


I am currently reading a book- ‘In the Company of Women’ by Grace Bonney- partly because I am interested in understanding why other women have traveled the same path of entrepreneurship as I have, and partly- I am looking for “a Sign”.  (Yes, pastor- a sign!) It may be the same sign that some of you are waiting for- the “what do I do next” sign. Right?

Do you feel it? Do you ponder it? Do you want to take that step forward? Have we prayed, read scripture and does it meet your gifts (plagiarized from the pastor mentioned above)? Do you want a change, or stay the same? All these questions can relate to so many areas of our lives, for me and Yours & Meyn, it’s about growth. For you, it may be about a job change, an empty nest, or a new family member- these are big things…and then there is the home- is it new, is it outdated, do you just want a change? Some say that designers are merely “breeders of discontent” or that our job of being creative just makes dissatisfaction a part of others lives… we couldn’t disagree with these Nay-sayers more. Being creative allows so many beautiful things into the world; through art, design and color we bring awe and imagination to homes and lives.

For those that have other gifts, allowing creative people into their lives allows an opportunity to show a side of themselves that they want to express, but are just not able. To us, we are a gift that just needs to be given…very much like I feel when I get to turn over my bookkeeping into the hands of a professional…or my computer worries into the hands of someone much more qualified than I.

We all go through changes in life. I am a firm believer that CHANGE IS GOOD- So let me and my Team be the ones that help you through the home “stuff”. It is overwhelming, but we do this every day. We’ve got this.

Community and Giving Back

It’s August and we are finishing the final days of preparation on our Service League House walk Home. We are so privileged and honored when we are asked to be a part of such a wonderful event. Not just because we get to help put the finishing touches on another beautiful Crystal Lake residence but because of the wonderful services that the League provides to those in need in our area.

Did you know the Service League of Crystal Lake donates 100% of money raised back to those in our community that need it most?

Giving back to those in need, pulling our community together, finding ways to help others- that is what small towns provide and that is just one area that a small business like Yours & Meyn, Simply Designed can help those around us.  Myself and my staff, serve on many boards, charitable organizations, community outreach programs- it’s a part of what we do as strong business women. We don’t do it because we find ourselves with extra time on our hands, or to promote our talents, but to make sure that we are serving areas of need. However big or small of an impact, we do what we can to help.

We also help with events that raise funds that support our Downtown Association, like the Gazebo Dinner that we help organize. As a side note, at the time of this release there are still tickets available for the Raffle- click here to win an amazing dinner for you and 7 friends!  Did you know that the Downtown Association of Crystal Lake brings to the downtown area more than 4000 people for the Johnny Appleseed Festival and more than 2000 children are able to sit on Santa’s Lap? Yep- this amazing group of business owners, volunteers and our Executive Director bring these 2 and so many more events to the community. Again, helping those around us have joy in their life.

Thank you for supporting us and those around us. Community. It’s who we are.

Celebrating Freedom

It’s July! Summer is in full swing, we are loving the longer days, the sunny days, the warmer days and we are loving the Freedom to enjoy them all. This month we honor our country for the Freedoms that have been fought for, celebrated and lived by all. We honor the men and women that fight for our Freedom still. We celebrate our family time at ball parks, back yards, on the water or in the woods.  We get to celebrate all of this and so much more.

As a business owner and mom, I thank God and our country that I get to be all I want to be because of the Freedom that America represents. Isn’t that an amazing thing?  What are you doing to celebrate the Freedom America represents? As a community, we represent the greater good, and we support the masses and the minority, we work together to help those in need and those that are too young to have their own voice. We will be “parading” down the street saluting those that protect us every day and those that have given their life to fight for our freedom. I hope that you will be out on the streets thanking our community members for their service.

What are we doing? I’ll be gathering up as many family and friends as I can, I’ll be serving up a dose of thanks, with burgers, brats and some good ol’ RED, WHITE and BLUE! This summer, I am keeping it simple and I’m going to sit back and enjoy everyone that gathers together in our yard.

Summer Dining

It’s that time of year when the days are longer, the sun is bright, and we are ready to step outside and enjoy all the beautiful days of summer! I don’t know about you, but for me when the weather is nice I want to be out of the office as soon and as often as possible.  This is when I get to talk about taking our food and entertaining outside- it’s Picnic Time!

Whether your picnic is just out the backdoor, lakeside, ball-game or Ravinia style I want to talk about the simple tricks that will make your summer fun easier and more enjoyable for the hostess in all of us.  First, let’s start with some simple menu tips.

Keep it simple by planning your picnic in advance- I like to make my menu a few days ahead of time and then I break it down into 15 min tasks. I also like to keep things fun and easy by planning one feature focus- for example- my Farro with pesto & mozzarella salad gets placed in small jelly jars for a simple presentation of a side salad. Hint: If you soak your Farro overnight- it only takes 15 mins to cook the next morning- You can finish up the salad after your day at work and place in the jars and you are set to go outside. Another 15 mins task- pack your basket with clean linens, silverware, melamine plates and salt and pepper. I take a few minutes, gather my portable table & chairs, and set everything in one area.

For the balance of my menu, I like to cook extra chicken or other meat with the dinner before, that allows me to throw together a fast and easy “sandwich” the day or night of the picnic- I like to use alternative bread options for my dinners or sometimes I will just skip them altogether. The best picnics also have easy, grab and go items- but nothing processed or packaged in my house- so I will cut up cheese and some meats for snacking, along with nuts and fruit- another 15 min project.  Keep dessert simple by presenting a deconstructed s’more treat. It’s easy and yummy- no fireplace required. Who doesn’t love to nibble on marshmallow, chocolate and graham crackers!

Wherever your picnic basket takes you this summer, just remember- these dog days don’t last long so enjoy each one of them with someone special.

We are Rockin’ Women- Yes all of us!

As I write this, my 21-year-old daughter is at a car race in Alabama with her Team – Her Team of mechanical engineers…and I wonder – What in the world led this young woman to be so motivated to become an engineer in the Automotive world?? Well, although she isn’t actually employed yet, she is working in an industry that she finds very exciting and thought provoking and she says – I have been surrounded by strong women in my life, from teachers to family and friends and they have achieved all kinds of amazing things and I just want to set my own path.

As we celebrate Moms everywhere this month, I salute All Strong Women that have set their own path to become motivators to your children, siblings, and friends. It’s an amazing privilege to be a woman.  We have been given talents and strengths that are too numerous to count and yet we are soft and tender. We are powerhouses that run businesses AND families.  We really do “bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan” and we are beautiful as we do it. How great are women!

Sure, some days we don’t feel like getting out of bed, let alone wrangle with the laundry, the dog or the husband, but we do – and we do it bravely. So, here’s to you – The beautiful and brave, the strong and successful, the wonderful Women of the world. Take a moment and celebrate YOU- and all your amazingness.

“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” – Unknown

Spring Back In!

I love this time of year! The days are longer, generally warmer, and the grass really is beginning to turn green.

If you haven’t done a spring re-fresh- now is the time! I began this year by cleaning and organizing my closets, changing up my mantles, my entry table in the foyer and a fresh coat of paint on the steps to our home- all to say WELCOME Friends- we are glad you are here! Whether your style is Farmhouse, Urban Chic or Mid-century modern- there are plenty of new items in the store to help you transition into an alluring new look for the upcoming season of entertaining.

What are your Main events coming up? Weddings, graduations, big birthday’s or just family and friend gatherings? The staff at Yours & Meyn, have been busy assisting customers gather beautiful accessories for their homes- and it’s not too early to start for those big events.  Our Spring Table-scape event was a great success and many left with inspiration for their upcoming events, including bridal showers, and Easter dinner.

Let the staff help you pull all of the exquisite details together for you this spring- you’ll be glad you did.  Don’t forget to mark your calendar for Ladies Night Out- April 19th– it is always a lively night.

Love is in the Air!

And this is the month to fall in love with your home and everyone in it. I love February- we are one step closer to spring- and yet we still get snow! (Yes, I prefer snow to rain). It is also the month when I take the doldrums of my own home décor and start refreshing for spring. What are some of my quick fixes for my home? Well, I am still taking down Winter décor, so I generally will re-do my mantle with a bit of winter and a bit of spring- a hope-filled mantle is what I like to call it- moss on my stag horns with my winter twigs is just the trick!

I also refresh the dining table tray vignette (see our 3-T’s for some added inspiration) and my foyer greeting table. In addition, I like to start changing out some candles with some green orbs or topiary’s- it’s a wonderful way to make my home feel like spring is coming.

This year, I am refreshing a wall in my main family space with a new color (color? TBD) along with some fresh new spring pillows- just what I need to greet family and friends. What will I be serving for our friends this spring?  Well for me it will be a few new recipes from the new cookbooks that I have snagged from my recent buying trip- don’t worry there are plenty left for you to choose from at Y&M.  I am so excited to have found a new distributor of some amazing new books to add to the store collection and your home collection. I also was able to meet a wonderful new friend, Gayle, while buying.

Lastly, February is the month of love and we love a generous heart- We hope you will consider donating to the Have a Heart Food drive through participating downtown retailers. Bring your donations to Yours & Meyn and we will reward you in a loving way. All donations directly benefit the Crystal Lake Food Pantry. Thank you in advance for your kindness.

Happy Love Month. Mary

New Year- New You, well at least your home.

Yours & Meyn has been making your home beautiful for many years now, as we celebrate our 8th year as a brick & mortar store and source of inspiration, I can’t help but reflect on what we have accomplished while looking forward to all that is to come. Over the last 8 years we have grown from a 1600 square foot store started with just Bob and I taking care of some of our “oldest” and dearest customers- that still shop with us today- to a talented group of 10 amazing woman and 1 new awesome Retail Store Manager, Lynn Reckamp. Our back room served as our design space with just “little ol’ me” taking on as many client projects as I could to an amazing team of 5 designers and an awesome 2nd floor design center. We have completed 100’s of home projects and made many new friends along the way. It has been and continues to be a JOY working and talking to so many of our wonderful customers and clients.

As we look forward to 2018, I look forward to bringing our customers some of the newest trend ideas, most unique gift ideas, and new events. We want to teach, and learn and grow every area of Yours & Meyn with you. We want to expand our knowledge as we expand your imagination. I can’t help but get excited about all that Yours & Meyn, Simply Designed has accomplished, but more importantly how many customers have accomplished their goals of a more beautiful home to share with their family and friends.

There will always be something New at Yours & Meyn, Simply Designed and I look forward to sharing it with all of you.

Thank you, dear friends, for making it all possible. Mary

It’s that Magical time of Year!

As I write this, we have just put a wrap on the busiest shopping weekend of the year! A weekend filled with Turkey, stuffing and all of the fixings, AND some savvy shoppers along with some early risers. This weekend for Yours & Meyn, Simply Designed was filled with joy and excitement as we helped you decorate and design your mantles, put the finishing touches on your trees, and added just the right adornments to your tables.

Some of you know that we start this process in early November- where we transform our Retail store into a Magical Winter Wonderland, it’s one of my favorites for many reasons. There’s the pleasure of working with a great group of Design Elves, it means that we are closer to snow, and it also means that we get to help make your home dazzle with Holiday magic as well.

We create dining tables that will host the whole crew for a Holiday dinner party, we make trees come alive with ornaments and accents that will ‘up’ your game to a new level, and we design mantle arrangements that will draw your whole family around the fire for many nights during the busiest season of the year- and keep them there for a moment longer than normal.  We thrill to see the looks on the faces of the first person that will walk through the door on day 1 of the reveal.  We love finding just the right gift for that special someone in your life- something they never thought to ask for but wouldn’t trade for the world.

Those are just a few of the things I love about the days and weeks ahead, the 5 more Fridays until Christmas Day when I wake up and get to spend the day in my pj’s with the ones I love the most. While I reflect on how the past 30 days have blurred by, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything…as I look forward to something New for 2018!

Times Flying!

Where has 2017 gone? I know many of us ask that same question and I think I have the answer! It has gone into time spent with family and friends in the houses we live in, it’s gone to soccer fields, baseball and football fields, swimming pools, theaters, and music halls- and our places of work. Each day is gone but in its place, is hopefully, a great memory.

This time of year, we tend to reflect on all of the pasts- well I like to look forward to the future. The opportunity for New- new homes, new family members, new jobs, new people in our lives. I look forward to spending more time sharing meals and memories with family and friends- new and old. This year, Yours & Meyn, Simply Designed is bringing in more New Holiday Décor than ever before- We have new looks and new Designers to assist you make this year’s Thanksgiving Table extra special- and the Christmas trees and mantle’s more memorable than ever before.

When I began this Simply Designed idea years ago, it began as a way to make life simply beautiful in an easy and value driven way – by using a little of Yours and a little of Meyn- well it’s grown bigger than I think I could have envisioned and I am blessed. I get to spend my days with amazing, talented women working with some of the kindest customers around, spending time in some of the most beautiful homes. How thankful I am. My goal has not to be the biggest or the most expensive, but the best value for products that you can’t find anywhere else. I hope that you feel I have reached that goal every time you come through our doors.

As you reflect on the pasts of 2017, I hope and pray that you feel as blessed as I- Happy Thanksgiving Month to you all. Kindly, Mary