Lovely Ladies!

instagram%2Bimage.jpg

You know what’s exciting!?! When Social Media turns into actual friendship.

Instagram has introduced me to - so - so many wonderfully inspiring individuals but, these gals… this tight-knit group has become my crew… let me introduce you to these sweet friends!

My Lovely Ladies!


Aileen Grodzinsky

Aileen Grodzinsky

Aileen Grodzinsky @homemadehappinest is a fellow Jersey gal; who is as true blue as they come. I was thrilled not only to follow and connect with her but, to meet in real life. The things that make this lady tick are anything and everything Lucy (her sweet 6 yr daughter) and Steve (her loving hubby), beautiful art, creating art, flowers, being with close friends and family, cheap wine, craft beer and amazing food. She’s passionate about creating a home that is cozy, happy, unique, eclectic, realistic for their everyday lives and oozes them! She, Steve, Lucy, Grover the dog and Henry the bunny moved into their new home in December of 2018, only 5 months ago! Aileen is having a blast making this house a home one room at a time. Currently having a major love affair with the color pink, all things floral and peel and stick wallpaper! She works full time in the promotional products industry creating cool swag for companies like Facebook, Google and LinkedIn! She has a BA from The New York School of Interior Design and although she’s never followed the interior design path professionally, it’s always been a serious personal passion. So, picture her on any given day painting a floral piece with Lucy painting her own masterpiece right by her side, moving the furniture around or switching up a gallery wall just because the mood strikes her or simply faffing about her home with all her knick knacks, because doing all that sparks some serious joy for her. Her tag is #eclecticallyspeaking and her Insta feed is about her awe inspiring home.


Alene Conner

Alene Conner

Alene Conner @aconnerhouse this fun momma is a thrifting maven - another jersey gal who’s originally from Wyoming, her family moved here while she was in High School. She says she’s a country girl through and through. She shares her thoroughly thrifted home with the man who swept her off her feet 15 yrs ago - they married after knowing each other 8 months. They are the parents of 4 sweet kiddos. When Alene is not on Mom-Duty you’ll find her hunting for treasures. In the last couple of years she’s discovered a love for interior design and styling using mostly thrifted finds. Alene says creating an Instagram account has allowed her to make wonderful connections with amazing people from all over and fueled her desire for a creative outlet. Her Insta feed is about her home and her thrifted finds.


Alison Sheffield

Alison Sheffield

Alison Sheffield @sheffield_interiors is an incredibly talented lady from Cohasset, MA. a designer who’s has spent the past 4 years turning her house into a wonderful home. To put it mildly, she LOVES her house. It’s the only one that could get her out of the city of Boston after 20 years. It’s a charming antique cape with a bow roof. She’s been designing homes for other people for about 15 years. Her style is described as youthful-traditional or updated-classic. She wants all the wallpaper, pattern, colors and rugs but, nothing fussy. And art. Always art. She loves her job and wouldn’t do anything else. She’s a mom to her two boys (11 & 14) and wife to Stephen. They have two cats, Otto & Puck and a rescue pup named Evvie. Her Insta is a little bit family, some client work and a lot of her gorgeous home.


Cameron Jones

Cameron Jones

Cameron Jones @cameronjonesinteriors is a delightful lady from North Carolina, who’s addicted to Mexican food and HGTV.  Her happy place is with a glass of red wine in her hand but, nothing brings her more joy than her two young kiddos and her husband. Her family is her main job and her first love, interior design is her second. For as long as she remembers home design has been a huge part of her life. Growing-up she dog-eared hundreds of design magazines and home catalogs and still has notebooks filled with spaces and DIY projects that inspire her. Her grandmother owned beautiful art and furniture, much of which her grandfather brought back from Europe while he was serving during WWII. Many of those pieces are in Cameron’s home today. She loves the sense of history and authenticity they bring.  One of her favorite aspects about interior design is the challenge of mixing antiques and sentimental pieces into the design while making them work for her clients modern lifestyle. She’s a huge advocate of mixing styles, periods, patterns and colors. Also, she loves the thrill of scoring a good bargain or a truly unique find - some of which end up in her shop @shopcameronjonesinteriors. To her, design should be meaningful, purposeful and possess the ability to evolve as your life does. She believes your home should reflect the things that make you happy. Her Insta feed is a mix of her home and client projects.


Cher Gumin

Cher Gumin

Cher Gumin @cgumin is a sweet thrifting soul from the suburbs of Cleveland, OH. She studied fashion in college and worked in the Visual Merchandising field. Once her son Cullen Michael arrived he became her focus - the center of her universe and she dedicates her days to him. IG is a creative outlet for Cher and her enthusiasm for interiors. She loves adding new items to her home and is passionate about shopping vintage before buying something new. She’ll take those thrifted finds - fix them up and use herself or she sells them. She flips furniture! Which I think is so cool! She has a deep appreciation for all design styles. Her Insta feed documents her ever changing home.


Friend: a favored companion
— Merriam-Webster

Chris Whitehead

Chris Whitehead

Chris Whitehead @green.see.home lives on the North Shore of Massachusetts. She’s a fan of all things hearth and home, with a healthy dose of organized and balanced living. She and her husband Greg bought their 120 year old farmhouse with the intention of renovating and flipping it within 3 years but, they are still there 20 years on. They became serious weekend warriors and DIYers over the years and are still updating it today. They are about to be empty-nesters when their daughter heads off to college in the fall and perhaps that has been the impetus for the serious refresh they’ve got going on right now…they just keep going from room to room! Chris loves layers, textures and mixing new with vintage finds. One of her favorite things to do is to style, organize and update her interiors by shopping her own home or doing the same for her clients. As a relative newbie to social media, what began as a creative outlet and an open mind to see where it would lead, has blossomed into endless inspiration and incredible connections formed with a wonderful community of creatives. And don’t worry she and Greg won’t be completely alone in September - their two pups, Monti and Joey will keep them busy. Her Insta feed centers on her home and it’s updates.


Jessica Rhodes

Jessica Rhodes

Jessica Rhodes @parkanddivision is the face behind the interiors and DIY Blog Park and Division - where she writes about her home renovations, inspiring interiors, thrifting and furniture refinishing. She hand-painted a faux runner down her staircase that is unbelievable and must been seen. She’s a married mother of two boys and resident of the Adirondacks region of upstate New York. Family and country living inform her antique meets modern design style. Her Insta feed is devoted to her home design.


Morgan Swenson

Morgan Swenson

Morgan Swenson @thehappycocoon is a mom who lives in Utah with her 4 kids and her best friend/husband Chris. Her IG account is a visual diary of the evolution of her home as she and Chris add charm and character while working within a small budget. Her design philosophy thus far has been that she wants anyone who visits their home to be able to say “my grandma used to have that” - and so far - it’s working friends.! She loves to thrift and is endlessly inspired by the magic people are able to create using second hand items. Her tag is #broughttoyoubythrifting Her passion for vintage and her cheapness is what introduced her to thrifting but, what has kept her going back is - the puzzles. If you like either of these things stop by and say hey to Morgan she likes making friends! Her Insta feed is about her home, her thrifted finds and a bit of her family.


Remy Kenney

Remy Kenney

Remy Kenney @honeyfitzyachtclub lives in Louisville, KY. with her husband Matt and two daughters Reese age 4 and Charlotte age 2. She started her e-commerce coastal decor shop Honeyfitz Yacht Club in October 2018. It specializes in vintage pennants, flags and other nautical treasures. She started her Instagram page as a way to promote the shop but she’s been surprised by the amazing community she’s become a part of on this little app! The support received from friends she’s never even met in person means the world to her. Her Insta feed is about her home and her Decor Shop.


I read this on Instagram:

Don’t Use Social Media Less. Use it More Intentionally. Follow People Who Inspire and Motivate You. Engage with Experts You Can Learn From. Create Genuine Positive Friendships!


please follow along....PNG

Without this app - we would never have met - women of different ages, backgrounds and geographical areas across the United States! I so dearly hope you have a crew!

Go check these ladies out - on their sites and on Instagram and give them a follow!

Til next time!

Gold Heart Meryl.png

Dear Diane

This lady is definitely dear… a dear friend, lady, Momma and designer - I love everything she does and it’s time for an introduction!

diane+2.jpg

Meet Diane Rath the visionary behind The Rath Project. She never intended to pursue design as a career; she studied English and Pre-Law but, thankfully for us she did!

snip image of Diane's logo for mailchimp 3.JPG

DR:Having an English major actually got me started as a learning specialist. I began working in a learning center immediately after college, focusing on techniques that helped children and adults with learning challenges - Dyslexia, Auditory Processing Disorder, Executive Functioning Skills and eventually branched out on my own adding clients who also had behavioral challenges - Autism, ADD, ADHD… My practice quickly grew (I loved every single minute of it) and before I knew it, I was almost 10 years into my career.”

Rath Family Room

Rath Family Room

Look at Dian’s family room her attention to detail - the color and pattern play!

Client’s Master Bedroom

Client’s Master Bedroom

Here are some more facts about this riotous red-head! She’s 35, married to Niles, they have a son Balthazar who just turned 4, another baby boy due in July and live in Fairfield, CT. by way of Manhattan. DR: I grew up in upstate NY but, always wanted to start my adult life in the city, as so many young dreamers do!”

How did you get into Design?

DR: “I officially got into design when we decided to move out of the city - just after Zar was born. I knew that it was time for me to take my passion and turn it into my newest venture and why not take all the risks at once! New baby, New house, New state, New business! Until then, I had helped friends who liked my aesthetic and I remodeled our own homes: a condo we flipped in Bronxville and our Catskills get-away which was our escape while living in busy NYC - we also rented it out on Home Away and VRBO and everyone loved the decor. I had decorated all of our rentals - when you live in the city, it’s typical to move around to chase better rents as well as outdoor space.”

Did you have the decorated bug as a child?

DR: “Growing up I, of course, redecorated my mother’s living room so many times, she never knew what she’d be coming home to after work! At a young age, I was also very aware of small budgets and how to creatively get a new look for less - money was extremely tight when I was a kid since my mother was a single parent who was much older (she adopted me at birth when she was 55 years old) and was also running her own business.  I learned how to take my babysitting money, often just 10 or 15 dollars and stretch it at Walmart or the local hardware store. With a couple new pieces or a d.i.y. project and a new furniture layout, I was able to accomplish giving our home a brand new look. I had always admired the homes of friends whose parents were well off, so when I went to their houses, I remember taking mental notes and trying to get similar looks for a lot less. I still do this today even though money isn’t so terribly tight - it’s a principal that I’ve stuck to - if you can achieve something beautiful without spending a fortune, then why spend a fortune?!?”

Rath Livingroom

Rath Livingroom

DR: “I didn’t realize until I was older how much my mother’s mid century furniture had an impact on me. While growing up, I was sometimes hesitant to bring friends over because the pieces appeared dated as compared to what was in their parent’s homes, little did I know that I would be so drawn to them as an adult. My mom was also very proud of her things and didn’t feel the need  (and at that point didn’t have the financial ability) to be like everyone else - she had a penchant for choosing and showcasing quality and if it was a quality piece and you took care of it, then why swap it out for what’s trendy - and I couldn’t agree with this more! Be you, design for you, avoid the trends, buy quality for less (by thrifting, frequenting garage sales and flea markets but, know your pieces, styles and history) and take pride in your home, whatever your situation is.”

Tell us a bit about your transition-

DR: “My friends and family were huge supporters and a source of encouragement. I owe it all to them - they pushed me to take my passion and apply it to a design business and I was very lucky to get a big project right away (just a couple weeks after leaving my practice as a learning specialist). A home in Westchester, NY that was a complete Blank Slate! My mother in law’s friend had children who were moving out of a small Brooklyn apartment, into a 5 bedroom colonial and they hired me to decorate all of it! This along with getting my blog started right away helped launch my new design business - I feel like you have to jump in with both feet and just start swimming! Be a risk taker!”

Burr Mansion

Burr Mansion

DR: “I’ve had great opportunities - to work on Decorator Show Houses, host a “Setting Your Tablescape” holiday entertaining workshop at Black Rock Interiors , to assist with decorating rooms for families at the Amos House. My love of design has led to many great experiences.”

Client’s Daughter’s Bedroom

Client’s Daughter’s Bedroom

Tell us how you and Niles decided to start Flipping homes-

DR: “After flipping the Bronxville Condo (it sold in a weekend) and getting high praise from the realtors and every potential buyer that walked through, we had an inkling that this may be something that we should try to do as a business in the future. And my mother in law was paying attention! She was completely aware that Niles and I would love to make this happen at some point. As she witnessed my design business grow, my blog and Instagram become recognized by brands and locals (she was with me one night at the grocery store when 2 separate parties approached me to tell me how much they loved “The Rath Project” on social media - lol!) and our own CT home transform before her eyes, she decided that she’d like to invest in this new business venture. With an influx of capital from her; we made our first flip purchase. It’s definitely tricky because there’s a line that I have to tow between great design and profitability but, I refuse to put any product out there that doesn’t meet my personal standards. This is where my high design at low cost comes into play! I search thrift stores for decorative vanity mirrors, source the hell out of my trade sites for impactful lighting for less, and try to get creative using simple things like tile and paint in ways that pack a punch.”

Ferncliff Kitchen

Ferncliff Kitchen

DR: “Ferncliff was our first Flip. I swapped the Kitchen and Diningroom in this house. I love to look at a space and think how would I live here?”

Ferncliff LivingRoom

Ferncliff LivingRoom

Ferncliff Master Bath

Ferncliff Master Bath

How does the rest of 2019 look for you?

DR: “Finish our current project the University Flip by June and get a for sale sign on the lawn immediately! Have this baby and take a 2-3 month break to just be with family! Also, find another property during that period so that come September/October we have another project lined up to start. Complete my 5th (?) One Room Challenge, contribute to my blog more regularly and finish up 3 client projects I’m working on before baby Rexford gets here!

Rath Hallway

Rath Hallway

What are your future hopes for your brand?

DR: “Just keep growing on all accounts - business and personal - and have fun while doing it!”

please follow along....PNG

Thank you Diane for your time. Go follow Diane over on IG and check out her Blog!

Til next time friends!

Gold Heart Meryl.png

Friendly Introduction

IMG_6376.JPG

I recently met with Kristin Luciano founder of the House of Luciano one of the premiere New Jersey based Bridal Beauty firms - What better way to celebrate the First Day of Spring than introduce my readers to this wonderfully talented woman who makes her clients feel amazing on their special day!

IMG_4505.jpg
I’ve been a beauty enthusiast since my very first dance recital when I got to wear bright red lipstick and lots and lots of mascara for the first time!

Kristin has a delightful story of how she ended up the head of a Beauty Brand. You know that old saying about being in the right place…

IMG_6374.JPG

One day while Kristin was studying Marketing at Loyola University her landlord told she and her roommates to bring the rent check to her at work… they had no idea what their landlords profession was - well - Debi Young a professional Make-Up Artist was on location. After delivering the check and meeting the late actor Alan Rickman - Kristin had a light-bulb moment - She could do Make-Up as a Career! She’d already been applying make-up on her friends and seeing how it made them feel better about themselves since high school. After graduation she attended The Makeup Shop while attending the school she interned for Tobi Britton in the Shop and still gets excited when she shares that Tobi paid them all in make-up. She was able to complete her Kit in no time!

I asked why Weddings? Kristin answered by saying “Weddings are always fun! Everyone is always happy and excited; why wouldn’t I want to work with such happy clients” Kristin also touched on her Make-Up philosophy - She only looks to enhance someone, she never wants to change them or have them look like someone else.

I love my ladies look like themselves.
Kim McNeil.jpg
IMG_3094.png

House of Luciano has launched a line of Lipsticks and Glosses - to round out her clients Wedding day experience - so her ladies aren’t left without what they need to look fresh for the rest of the day. The formula has deep saturated colors and is extremely long wearing.

I should know I am lucky enough to have two beautiful shades!

The Knot.JPG
IMG_4494.jpg

Kristin has made the House of Luciano one of New Jersey’s premiere Bridal Beauty providers. She has earned top honors in the industry as a repeat "Best of Weddings" and “Hall of Fame” vendor on The Knot, as well as many features in New Jersey Bride, Manhattan Bride, Brides.com and Style Me Pretty. She maintains a valid Aesthetics License from the New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology since 2006.

Kristin shared a Fan Girl moment with me - she recounted - seeing Make-Up Artist and Business Woman Bobbi Brown at a Soul Cycle Class - Yes, she went up to her and told her what a fan she was of her products and that she used them with her own clients!

Even if you’re wedding day was years ago…You will learn useful tips and see hands-on product demonstrations on Kristin’s wonderful blog and tutorials on YouTube. I highly recommend checking them out!

please follow along....PNG

I loved interviewing Kristin and I look forward to sharing more entrepreneurial women with you.

Til next time!

Gold Heart Meryl.png