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)

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


Artist Of The Month

the bms. 20171101_142726

Search, but you wont find anything like the bms.

A truly bold and provocative collection of home art, the bms. brings new

meaning to using your home as the canvas. The Chicago-based studio creates

pieces that encourage you to look at everyday objects for a second time,

challenging you to find a new appreciation for the beauty in your surroundings.


books, by the bms. are hand tacked coffee table books that are certain to

be the anchor of any chic room.

art, by the bms. are hand tacked oil on canvas paintings that are striking

to say the least.

plates, by the bms. understand that some plates just like to be looked at…

a lot.

stuff, by the bms. shows you that your stuff can be just as exciting and

distracting as your screens.  20171105_122514 (1)

 The bms. At Mike & YoLi At Home 3066 N Lincoln

SHOP the-bms. HERE

Time At Home

….Gosh!  It’s been so long since I’ve been able to just sit and write.  To write about nothing in particular except to start and spew what’s cluttering my head.  This is the first time in a long time that I feel like me again. I have SO much catching up to do with myself and today is my start. Today is the day that I recall who I am, what my purpose is and how family really is all that matters (to me).  My bottom line is family.  The reason that I am and the reason that I do is for family.

Today was the first day that my husband (Mike) and I got a chance to get in early and enjoy our new home.  He’s been working 7 days straight since late July. Going to his ‘real’ job on his scheduled days and then waking up and going into our shoppe (Mike & YoLi) working on getting it perfect so that one day (soon) and with the perfect team, we may be able to be absent without worry.

Rainy Days and No Worries are in our Near Future!

rainy day

We purchased our home exactly 2 weeks before signing the lease and picking up the keys to our new business space (Mike & YoLi) in Lakeview and 2 days before a week long trip to LA with our best friends, so getting home early today has definitely been a great blessing. We missed our lil brothers (Joey) cake for his birthday at my in-laws but promised to make it up to him later. Making time for worship is what’s important now.  He makes time for us, We’ve gotta make time for Him!

Today we got a chance to enjoy our new home and lounge around in our sweats.  Michael got a chance to just be as well as nap as often as he wanted (needed) without interruption. I got a chance to catch up on some writing, more plotting and a bit more planning.

In all of my busyness over the last few weeks, I am so excited to have finally rolled out our consignment program which has been a huge success and very popular to our business in the past.  Just yesterday I already started to receive online inquiries, tons of photos and even a few drop offs at the shoppe.  To learn more about that, check out the details HERE

We have so much planned for our lil brick and mortar and can not wait to share it with all of you.

I promise to take time out a few times a week and write more about whats going on with Mike & YoLi At Home, the spot and more about what’s going on with Mike & YoLi At Home, the HOME :).  -I used to do it daily and have forgotten that it has always proven to be a big release for me and quite therepuetic.


The lessons that I’ve learned over just this last week is to take time for yourself, family first, Don’t take it personal and always be kind.

heart girlyoLi

New Install by the bms.

Which means two of the greatest things!

  1. Halloween candy is half off pretty much everywhere.
  2. the bms. install at Mike & YoLi At Home! Brian, also known as the bms., @the_bms, #bmscollection (in bookman’s old style, unavailable on wordpress but a pressing matter nonetheless) has brought a fun new energy into the space with decorative hand-tacked coffee table books, hand-collaged items and a fantastic display of hand-painted hanging ornaments, which our local window-washer, friend, and confidante, Shamrock, enthusiastically called “floating bubbles!”

Continue reading “New Install by the bms.”