From A Chicago Designer to Miami’s Hialeah Schools


Im just a Chicago designer with heart strings attached to Miami. Chicago and Miami’s inner city schools have always been close to my heart. The children are in need of so many necessities that are not accessible to them because of lack of funding and low income. In my opinion, no child should have to go through childhood without knowing AND experiencing the joy that art, music and fun school events bring and more importantly, no child’s self esteem (because of a lack of resources) should ever be broken.

I came to Miami to attain additional certifications and gain extended experience in event planning. I have received certifications and have done well in interior design, graduating from Harrington College of Design but want to branch and continue growing in the design world. I will put that on hold or work twice as hard in order to help these students get the things they need to make this school year a success and to help rebuild their self esteem. I cant let them down.

Before coming here, I prayed that God also send me where I may also be needed! I didn’t wanna just be here on my own journey but to also help someone along their journey as well.

No sooner than when I sent my first prayer request, I received an Instagram text message from an old friend from Downers Grove, IL that is now teaching in the Miami schools. The message that I received sent out an SOS to me for help on attaining a few simple things that are needed.

I am super excited about this personal and professional journey, and as much as I like to think of myself as a philanthropist, the truth is, robbing Peter (our bank accounts) to pay Paul (all the beautiful people we wanna help) just isn’t smart.

The message that stole my heart and changed my Miami plans is:

I love you! Please help as you will be hereI work in inner city school in Miami, I teach 6 to 9th debate and 2 hours of reading to the lowest 5th graders. My time for boards, Class glam time is limited. I have great ideas, but never find the time or budget, my students are less than inspired, motivated! My funds are low as I have no budget from the school. I’m hosting shark tank as my speech & debate curr., to help with, self-respect, self-motivation & social awareness. Please I need Help! SOS!

I have 2 students who are presenting to shark tank as a proposal, to raise money for my class, they want to purchase a cricut maker , so that I may create items to fundraise for their classrooms as they are our future leaders. I’m so proud of them, that they recognize, what I try to instill in them. Any suggestions. Of how, where to find any scholarships. Class makeover contest, in have 16 more weeks with them. I want to ignite their fire, before they sizzle out completely! Please help!

Another heartfelt message that I received from a teacher of the schools is:


Most of the girls, think they are ugly, the boys don’t even brush their hair due to lack OF products. I HAVE STUDENTS SIGN PETITIONS TO SHOW INTEREST, I HAVE 8 ADULTS SO FAR, THAT WOULD HELP WITH MAKEUP, I’M LOOKING FOR NAILS.






• each middle school student donate 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25 dollars. With just 80 ppl. Donating 20.00 I can purchase the cricut maker . I do not know how to use it so, I would need to learn I  order to start fundraising 
•lemonade stand
• would like to sell personalized book marks to encourage reading
• personalized pencils, water bottles, clip boards etc. (Need a cricut maker)
• personalized pencil pouches

Cricut maker  would allow me to work on bulletin boards, focus walls, weekly schedules. My class is drab, in a light buttercream wall color, light blue doors. I gave 2 big beautiful windows. Tomorrow I’ll take pictures so you can see.

Neon colored Heavy stock paper 
Staple gun/staples
Red/black/blue erasable pens
Glue sticks
White copy paper (2) per student
Hand sanitizer
Clorox wipes
Index cards for notes
Expo board markers multi-color
Colored pencils
Acrylic paints 
Anchor chart paper
Wall puddy
Poster boards ( for science fair or vision boards)

Books of genres: age appropriate.
Fairytales, fable, historical, fiction, non fiction, poetry, novels.

Working functional tablets or laptops there is a shortage 
Mini lamps
Flexible seating ( beanbags)

As a teacher I am tapped out, cutting, coloring hand painting. Teaching should no be that tedious.  

The monies raised will be used to buy the following needed items as well as used to help with:

Not only is it heartbreaking to learn that any child’s self esteem is shot but to not have the resources to help them build self esteem, feel worthy and to supply them with much needed materials is just as heartbreaking. As you can see from this particular email, this teacher is not just asking for help but is also brainstorming all possibilities to raise monies on her own.  I personally don’t think that teachers should have to work so hard to provide the necessities that every school child should be afforded.

They have reached out to me and I will not let them down.  Please help me to help as much as I can.

Come back often as I will post pics and updates as they become available.

Learn more about how my design company gives back by viewing this video and reading up on our CORE PROGRAMS





Mindys Hot Chocolate

Soooooo I wanted to venture out and try something new this morning and boy am I glad I did.

I decided to try Hot Chocolate this morning. Not knowing what to expect and not expecting much, I was so pleasantly surprised.

Yes, I ordered hot chocolate but this wasn’t any ordinary hot chocolate, this was hot chocolate heaven. To be exact, I ordered the booZy Mexican hot chocolate which is made up of 2/3 dark chocolate, 1/3 milk chocolate, fresh cinnamon, cayenne and a shot of rum 😛. OMG my mouth was so happy and the light touch of cayenne did wonders for my sore throat.

The scrumptious drink is served in a typical mug with a giant marshmallow and a shot glass of your choice of rum, cognac, brandy or whisky. Hows that for warming you up on a chilly morning?

I also opted for their avocado toast 🥑 which is made up of the obvious plus radish and fennel salad, lemon vinaigrette, micro radish greens and a poached farm egg, all atop of sourdough bread 🍞

Great atmosphere, cool vintage tea cups and decor all around, and all set in a nice rustic/industrial space nestled right on Damen in Wicker Park. (1747 W Damen)

Not Just A Shoppe

We’ve had a ton of people asking about the sign that says if you buy furniture from the Brown Elephant, we’ll paint it!

It’s as easy as that- if you have a piece of furniture or home decor piece that you’d like painted, or you find something that speaks to you at a consignment shop, we’ll paint it for you! All we need is a picture of the item and a description in your words of what you’d like done to it. We’ll send a price estimate and a timeline when the piece will be ready.

Here are pieces YoLi has painted in the past!

6fce8debe4c736bb0d92cd24f56c0b1ffa3a39280993ec98adaf94f611c6fc2e 9f092deccb50462a8eca62f68049e8ef

Before we paint your furniture, it needs to be prepped and repaired- we’re proud to announce that we have a brand new craftsman on board- Nick Puglisi! In addition to signing on as craftsman at Mike & YoLi, he is a product designer dedicated to quality and craftsmanship. He is inspired to explore how design, craftsmanship, collaboration, and small business can create vibrant and healthy communities. Nick is also the designer/creator of the BYO Wine Rack sold in our store!



We also offer interior design services if you are in need of a home makeover.

A graduate of the Interior Design Program at the Harrington College of Design, Yolanda De La Mora’s favorite design aesthetic is Regency, Contemporary Eclectic, and Modern. She is a lover of beautiful things and works with layers, textures, and shapes.

“There are few design rules when it comes to surrounding yourself with the things that you love. “Things are only temporary”, people say, but to me, some “things” are beautiful to look at, some represent prestige and some just make you feel a certain way. I always ask my clients to really consider incorporating into their decor the things that really make them feel something. All the while keeping in mind that there is a fine line between having a few beautiful things that make you feel good and too many beautiful things that makes others consider you a hoarder.” ~Y. Gina De La Mora


And then there’s E-Design!

E-Design is an ultra affordable alternative to traditional interior design services. We will correspond via e-mail, phone, & online measures like Pinterest & Facetime to create a custom room design for you, perfectly balanced to meet your needs, style, & budget.​

We offer online interior design services and packages regardless of your location or your budget. This exciting design experience is a do-it-yourself decorating solution that provides you with a master plan for creating a professionally designed space that you can implement at your own pace. It’s an affordable alternative to the traditional way of hiring a designer for full range of services since everything is delivered right to you via email.


Interested in Interior design? CLICK HERE for more information!
Sometimes, people come in and see something their friend MUST HAVE. We can customize almost everything in store- from bath soap to plates and trinket trays, think about customizing a gift for a friend, family member, or a special someone today!
Until Next Time,

Events Galore!

There is so much exciting stuff happening at Mike & YoLi! First of all, we hosted a delightful private party for Kim and it was a swimming success!

Book your private party today!

If you’d rather drop-in & make something, email us a time and day, & we’ll be sure to have the supplies ready & waiting for you. It’s $15/hour, all supplies included.

Email us.

And if you’re thinking you’d like to paint but you’d rather not do so alone, fear not! We have classes open to the public on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays! Check out our new calendar to view the events you may be interested in and sign up for a class today!


We’re also still accepting consignment pieces, so if you have a piece of furniture or home decor items you’ve been trying to sell, email us with a picture of the item(s)- it’s that simple.


Last thing-

We Love You!

And to show our appreciation, we offer wine on Saturdays (up to two glasses per person) free of charge! So, come on out, shop a little and sip a little and spread lots of joy!

Until next time,


New Year, New Stuff, New Cheer

Please, step into my virtual office. We have a piece of business to discuss. Ahem. Take a seat, make yourself comfortable… Would you like some water?

Do you know why you’re here?
Did you even read the newsletter?
Well, our online sales increased by 70% since opening the store in October!
And it’s ALL thanks to YOU!

22033599-thank-you-gold-design.jpgWe can’t thank you enough! And if you’re thinking “I’d like to continue this increase in online sales…” you can! The online store is open 24/7 and you can always order online and pick up in store- just be sure to send an email after your order so that your delivery can be immediately refunded and we can prepare your order for pickup. So what are you waiting for?  SHOP HERE!

You know what brings me cheer? Passion. And Art. And when people find their passion and create art. So, if you get right into it, Mike & YoLi At Home brings me cheer- We have two new featured artists coming in February, JUST in time for Valentine’s Day!


First up, we are so excited to announce we will be featuring:

Love-N-Light Candles!

Candle enthusiasts, get ready because you are in for a treat! Love-n-Light Candles consist of 4 inaugural candle collections, totaling 3 different fragrances in each collection! The collections are:
Love 💗Light 💡Peace ✌🏽Grace 🙌🏽
Each candle is presented with words of encouragement for you to meditate on! Let Love-N-Light Fragrances create an atmosphere and words on encouragement ignite your soul!

And now, for our last but not least featured artist of February 2018……….


Executive concierge Rossi Cole launched JewelsbyRossi brand in 2010. The vision behind JewelsbyRossi handmade designs was to create unique and one-of-a-kind jewelry that’s both a fashion statement and a work of art.
The Conflict bracelet – a layered design adorned with gemstone beads and embellished chains – was Rossi Cole’s first celebrated design. Introduced in 2012, it was an immediate success, and is still favored to this day by patron.
As both an artist and artisan, Rossi Cole is engaged in the entire creative process, from acquiring specialty materials to the finished piece. The finest precious agate beads, gemstones, Czech glass beads, Swarovski crystals, plated and 24kt metals that offers elements of elegance, classic and modern style into jewelry that endure quality and beauty.

Wow! So come on down to 3066 North Lincoln to shop at Mike & YoLi! We have a few more exciting things going on, but that’s for a later post. So I guess, for now-


Until next time,

Happy Holidays!

What a beautiful time of year! Although the snow isn’t necessarily falling, ’tis the season of giving. The shop is decorated to the nines and we’ve got a special deal for you!

50% Off All Christmas Items!

Plus, our brand new calendar page on the site is up and running! What? One more time for the back row?

New Event Calendar is Up & Running!


So you better go catch it! Sign up for events HERE!

Mike And YoLi is now on YELP!

And you can get $75 worth of products for only $50! Remember to check in every time you come in! And leave a review, if you feel so inclined. We would really appreciate it!


Want to get your creative juices flowing and just paint away your days? We provide the space and all the supplies for you to be able to work on your art. You can drop in any day from 12-5 and for only $20/hour we’ll supply you with all you need!

And here’s to the happiest of holidays to you and yours!

Have a lovely Sunday.


It’s Lovely to Be Back

I’ve been away from the shoppe for two weeks. What a joy it is to be back! As I expected, it looks nothing like it did when I left.  Don’t worry- it’s  still BEAUTIFUL! See for yourself:o-1

And there’s new stuff! Like these mugs-   o

and these beautiful plates designed by YoLi herself:


And let’s not forget the brand spankin’ new neon sign out front: o-2

Home is where the heart is and my heart is full here. There’ll be new updates soon, but this is it for now.


It’s December 1st

The start of a new month, almost a new year. Time seems to be racing by. The month of November was absolutely lovely, especially with the bms. install. That being said


Shop the bms. at Mike & YoLi while you still can!

the bms. pop up is in the shoppe until this weekend- get this amazing and unique art while you can! the bms. designs and hand-tacks books, paintings, and found objects. This is the last weekend to shop the bms. at Mike & YoLi, so shop online or in store for these one-of-a kind pieces! SHOP ONLINE



My three favorite words when put together! Paint Parties are back on the docket! Join us for a fun paint, sip & shop session every Friday 6-9 and every Sunday 2-5! Check the calendar for more event information and book a seat or a private party!


And I know, I know- you’re thinking “Sarah, I love Saturdays but I just don’t know why. Please impart some wisdom upon my weary brain. Why do I love Saturdays?”

Why You Love Saturdays

Every Saturday we serve wine (up to two glass per person) free of charge! So- come out and sip & shop with us.

Check out the Website, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and Email Us for more Information!

Until next time,




Happiest of Holidays

I am a happy person. I was born that way, I guess. I love all holidays. Besides my own birthday (SEPTEMBER 21, thanks for asking:D), Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite holidays. I like the cold weather because people are nicer- they hold doors open longer and are thinking more of everyone else’s frozen toes than their own.

And yet, my pure love of the Holidays does NOT EVEN LIGHT A CANDLE TO YOLI’S LOVE OF THE HOLIDAYS. Yes, that had to be in ALL CAPS. Because it’s true. Insanely true.

I mean, look what she did to the shop!

Yesterday, Mike, YoLi and I were all working together. And I’m pretty sure YoLi was giggling the whole time. 100% positive, truly. She was decorating and giggling and saying “I love Christmas!” And Mike had a skip in his step. And I didn’t stop smiling.

The shop is blasting beautiful joyful soulful Christmas music and if you’re one of those people who are like “It’s not even Thanksgiving yet!” To you, I say, imagesAlso, in true Holiday spirit, we will be celebrating Black Friday in a traditional and festive way! Everything in shop will be 30-50% off excluding consignment and artist pieces. We’re open regular hours, 11-6 and  we’ll be wearing Ugly Christmas Sweaters, and I promise, mine won’t disappoint. AND we’ll be baking cookies all day! For you (AND ME) to consume!


We’re open Small Business Saturday! Take 20% off everything but consignment and artist pieces. Also, we’ll have fresh baked cookies- and you will be supporting a wonderful small business!

My gosh, there are so many exclamation points in this post and it still doesn’t feel like enough!

Stop by Mike & YoLi for a cheerful holiday environment. It smells like Christmas and feels like home.


Wishing you and yours the absolute best,


New Consignment Pieces, A Pop-Up Party and Sip and Shop Saturdays- OH MY.

I’ve been in the shop a ton more in the past few days and it has been refreshing to work for such a kind person and a company that genuinely cares about people and their community.  (also the shop always smells divine and I needed to mention it.)
Yeah, I said it! Mike & YoLi cares about the community! They’re constantly offering classes and parties for others to mingle and get to know each other while having a great time. Check out this link for all class and event information.
I mean, YoLi is an entrepreneur for viaonehope–  Where you can purchase any bottle of wine or gift package and your money goes directly to a special cause.
So like, yeah, they care.
     They’re also doing pop-ups for local artists to have their art seen and purchased. The artist of the month- the bms. is having a pop up party on November 17th from 7-10. Below is a poster the bms. made for the event. Yes, the blue tape is part of the aesthetic. No, we’re not painting. Although, he did such a good job at taping that we might paint.

and if you’re like download.jpg I have something to do on Friday the 17th from 7-10, you don’t have to be all Cathy about it. Just, shop HERE for the perfect unique handmade gifts designed by the bms.

In other exciting news, our consignment program has hit the ground running- we’ve received plenty of pieces already. If you have any furniture pieces you’d like to consign with us, you still can! Just check out our requirements HERE, and if the piece fits the criteria, drop it off. It’s as simple as that.


You can host a Wine Tasting Party at Mike & YoLi (3066 N. Lincoln Ave) any day after 6pm with up to 10 of your closest friends for only $99. You get the place to yourself, 10% off all shopping in the store and twelve (12) bottles of wine. Call us at 773.398.0394 or email for more information.


Sip and shop with us every Saturday! Get up to two (2) glasses of wine for free while you shop with us. This is every Saturday. I like working Saturdays. Saturdays are tres* good. *(I’m at a 64% competency of French on Duolingo and am just trying to put my newly acquired skill to use.)


Yeah, people. I’ve got a lot to say. Follow us on Twitter @MikeandYoLi, Instagram @mikeandyoli, and Facebook @MikeandYoLi.

That’s all for now, folks. Hope to see you in the shop- I’m here until 5.


Vintage, Retro or Antique?

What is antique?
According to Merriam Webster, an antique is “a relic or object of ancient times” or “a work of art, piece of furniture, or decorative object made at an earlier period and in according to various customs laws at least 100 years ago.” Ruby Lane, an online marketplace of independent antique and collectible shops, offers a similar definition, explaining, “Most authorities consider the actual definition of the term ‘antique’ to mean an age of at least 100 years. If an item is not definitively datable to 100 or more years in age, it should not be directly referred to as an antique.”


What is vintage?
If antiques are things that are 100 years old or older, what are vintage pieces? The definition of vintage is trickier. According to Merriam Webster, the term vintage relates primarily to wine and is an altered form of the French word vendage, meaning “the grapes picked during a season.” One of its secondary definitions is “a period of origin or manufacture” (e.g., a vintage 1960s Mercedes) or “length of existence: age.” Ruby Lane provides a much more helpful explanation, noting that “an item described as ‘vintage’ should speak of the era in which it was produced. Vintage can mean an item is of a certain period of time, as in “vintage 1950’s” but it can also mean (and probably always should) that the item exhibits the best of a certain quality, or qualities, associated with or belonging to that specific era. In other words, for the term vintage to accurately apply to it, an item should be somewhat representational and recognizable as belonging to the era in which it was made.” Ruby Lane also suggests that ‘vintage’ should not be used in reference to objects less than 20 years old.


What is retro?
According to Merriam Webster, retro is “relating to, reviving, or being the styles and especially the fashions of the past : fashionably nostalgic or old-fashioned.” Retro furniture may not actually be old but it references styles of the recent past. Retro can also mean something that is not very old but is old enough to be more than just “so last season”. (i.e., the woman wearing the early 80s high-waisted jeans because she hasn’t updated her wardrobe since the Reagan Administration is not retro. She is just outdated.) I am still not entirely clear on the difference between retro and vintage, I must admit. There seems to be some overlap. For whatever reason, “retro” makes me think of mod, geometric shapes and “vintage” conjures up images of faded, floral fabrics. But that’s just me!

How do YOU define these words? What comes to mind when you hear “antique”, “vintage”, or “retro”?

– Great research, Catrin Morris of Washington DC