The Millennial Generation

I attended a great workshop featuring Tim Elmore, a nationally recognized thought leader on how to understand the next generation and prepare tomorrow’s leaders today. Tim is a best-selling author, international speaker, and president of Growing Leaders, a non-profit that creates innovative events and resources to equip the next generation for leadership.

A few takeaways I want to share that might be useful as we work each day alongside the 80 million millennials!

  • 26 is now the new 18
  • This generation is self absorbed yet generous
  • Narcissistic (selfie, anyone?) yet very giving
  • Social yet isolated by technology (Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, etc.)
  • Adventuresome yet fearful
  • Team oriented yet diverse
  • Savvy yet naïve
  • High achievers yet high maintenance
  • Achievers yet need hand-holding
  • Visionary yet vacillating, they don’t lack a vision, the problem is that they have 17 visions and don’t know what to do with them or how to begin working on one of them to achieve a goal. It is our responsibility as parents to guide them without overpowering.

Think about it and you’ll see. It’s very interesting how both can exist within one person.


We are experiencing our kids and future leaders growing up too fast and too slow simultaneously: our culture fosters artificial maturity. Kids are overexposed to information far earlier than they are ready.

Most of this information is not traumatic or evil, but they are under-exposed to real life experiences far later than they are ready.

Virtual reality experiences surround them, unlike real life experiences; these create a lack of hands-on learning, situational awareness and problem solving skills.

Internet presence knows no boundaries when it comes to data. The average millennial consumes over 1000 messages daily, which means they don’t need adults for answers or information. The majority of preschool kids are online!

Adults today have more fear of risk; we prevent them from failing or getting hurt. We are safety-obsessed, protecting them from mistakes or consequences. We basically structure their childhood days.


Not too long ago, 4 year-olds were doing age-appropriate chores, 7 year-olds working on the farm, 14 year-olds were learning to drive cars, 17 year-olds were fighting wars, 19 year-olds were getting married. We know that times have changed, and so have we, but are we being extremists? Today we do the chores for them, we don’t make them get a job, and they live at home late into their 20’s.

Our culture has created an artificial world: this allows millennials to enjoy virtual reality through video games and explore virtual relationships through social media.


A Personal Platform – drives a narcissistic culture, self-absorbed life, “everything-revolves-around-me” mentality, when reality is; it doesn’t.

Reactionary Opinions – creates an obsession with judgments, children 12-18 are consumed in what others think of them, roller coaster of living for the approval of others, which is exhausting and takes away from productivity.

Instant Updates – impulsive behavior often creates problems with friends and co-workers.

Constant Information – causes anxiety and depression, creating a new class of at-risk kids.

External Stimulation – addictive lifestyles again, reducing productivity and focus.

So now that we have a better understanding of the issue, how can we improve?

  • An idea to help children/employees: inspire them to find 6 mentors in their lives to help, inspire and drive them personally and professionally.
  • Don’t be an over or under functioning parent/employer. Guide, but allow them to grow up themselves, make mistakes, try new things and experiment. Success and failure will come, but that means a learning experience and personal growth.
  • Mediocre parents/employers treat all their children/employees alike. Awesome parents/employers treat all their children/employees differently.
  • Allow your children/employees to connect with you. Recognize their strengths and their differences. Everyone is wired differently, and by tailoring our leadership strategies for each individual personality type we can help them achieve amazing results


  • The driver: strong-willed, stubborn, large-and-in-charge, get their way, they have a lot on their mind and don’t often hear what you say. When facing this personality, as an adult or figure in charge you need to take over, be very clear and very direct with them: no “hinting or implying”. Be direct, but never rude. The Drivers are born leaders that need guidance and to be in control of their will.
  • The diplomat: loves harmony, they are peacemakers, “whatever it’s ok” mindset. The Diplomats are seeking cooperation, so a better way to lead them is by saying: “You know what would really help me? If you cleaned your room/office, it would help our family/company” instead of demanding that they complete a task.
  • The dreamer: they have a very big imagination, very creative, appear to be in Lala-land. The Dreamers are lead best by providing options such as: “Use your creativity to how you clean up your room; you can do some today, some tomorrow, some Friday, or do it all today, or half today half tomorrow, etc.” The Dreamers need choices and to be held accountable for the choice they make.

*People can be a combo of these three types. Analyze, understand and apply!

Parents and leaders, we are driving an EPIC generation:
E – Experience
P – Participatory
I – Image Rich
C – Connected

We need to encourage this generation to go for it! Support and create the experiences they want to have, they need to own the experience; allow them to plan it and try it! It may be risky to watch them try without offering assistance, but it is always a risk worth taking in situations like a school project, a trip, etc.

A great way to practice this methodology is by allowing them do it their way, and afterwards discuss how it could improve, what was just right, what they learned and what they want to try next.

Good leadership gives grace and tough love at the same time. Tender-and-tough is often hard to do, but necessary to get results with this generation that has so many distractions.

This generation needs two types of leaders:
– Leaders who are responsive, who display acceptance to support and believe in them.
– Leaders who are demanding, to establish standards and to hold them accountable.

Be clear on your messages when they are young or new in the position:
you are loved, you are safe, you are valuable, you have gifts, you are unique, etc.

As they mature into their teens or within your company, the messages they need to hear also mature, they are true facts; life is difficult, you are not in control, you are not always the most important, you are going to die, your life is not about you. (I know, tough love!)

Then, guide them. Allow them to find out how and what to think. They need a compass to navigate and find their own values, faith, upbringing and street smarts. This generation doesn’t need a GPS to tell them their every move.

A handmade gift from Lulie to me, her “helicopter mom”

I guess I am not called “helicopter mom” for nothing, and I have lots of room to improve, but we are all a work in progress everyday!! I would love to hear your thoughts, comments or ideas on this, and hope you got as much out of this as I did!





Featured: #TimElmore

Photos by: Suzanne Jones | Location: Old Town Columbus


Mother + Daughter Day

I have three girls as you may have noticed and beginning the moment the second one was born the competition began.  And it continues everyday all day.  Each child is precious, sweet, smart and different from the other!  I realized the need for individual time with each one and when was this going to happen.  They get so jealous if I do something with one that I don’t do with the other.  I invite one to the store they all pile in.  So the week before Christmas in 2007 I had an idea.  I will give Laurie Clare and Liza a mother daughter day.  I can up with a set of rules so to speak even though I hate rules, but we needed some parameters!

Lulie ready to go!

The note was on the christmas tree one for Liza (4 yrs old) and one for Laurie Clare (5 yrs old).  It said I invite you to your first annual mother daughter day!

They were excited!  And did not even know what they were excited about, but the thought of spending just a day with me all alone sounded good to them!

I explained that on New Years Day or any day after that during 2008 they could plan a day we would spend together just they way they wanted to.  I would not work, I would have my cell phone, but only for emergencies.  That made the day sound even better.  No distractions, all my attention just on them!


Liza and I at the Ritz Carlton in Atlanta

LC loved Boston from the moment we landed!








I went on to further explain the “real deal”.  Until you are 10 it is a day anything you want to do in 24 hours, when you are 10 you get to spend the night somewhere anywhere you can drive to.  When you are 12 you get to spend two nights anywhere and you can fly or drive.  14 three nights and 16 a week!

As I type I am teary because the times we have already shared have been magical memorable moments  #rondafriend

In 2009, our third child arrived and the competition got even crazier and mother daughter days even more important.

It has been fun to watch the girls each plan their days and nights.  The itineraries diverse, the ideas unique and the memories unforgettable!

Liza loves makeup and Sephora!


Good fun and great food!







New York City, Boston, Chicago, Serenbe, Atlanta (a few times) and even good old Columbus, GA!

The days always start with #Starbucks that is synonymous among the three!  A gift from me is always expected along with some cash!  What started with a one hundred dollar bill has now grown for the older two as their taste are in #FreePeople and #ToryBurch!

Lulie loves Mother Daughter Day gifts!




I am always amazed they think of the ones left at home and spend their money on something special for each other family member including the dogs!





When in Boston…


…you go to Fenway Park and watch a baseball game!! #greatseats









I love Mother Daughter Day trips with my girls, inspiration is everywhere!! #Boston #PinkChalk

I’d love to hear how you celebrate Mother’s Day, or any adventures you’ve had during a trip with family! They’re always full of fun surprises!!

And as promised, here is your invitation to the Vintage Market Days of Nashville, where my dear Ronda Friend will be signing books!

Click here for link to event

May 12-14
1. Wear comfy shoes, they have 2 buildings and a mid-way!
2. No fur babies allowed unless licensed service animal
3. Tickets Friday $11, Saturday and Sunday $6 re-entry all weekend
4. Tickets available at the gate all weekend.
5. Bring a canned good, support the community!
6. Bring both cash and cards, some vendors do not accept cards
7. Located at 945 Baddour Parkway Lebanon, TN. Wilson County Fairgrounds.


Happy Mothers Day!





Featured: #RondaFriend #Starbucks #VintageMarketNashville #RitzCarlton #Sephora #FreePeople #ToryBurch #FenwayPark 


A Splash of Color!

I love spray painting! I believe color changes everything!! My favorite color is the Hot Pink by Krylon Short Cuts because its so easy to use and it can be applied to almost every surface imaginable! Even plants!!

I spray painted a dead air plant and it came back to life!! Gotta love hot pink!


To perfect your spray painting technique, hold the can about 5 inches or so away from the surface you’re spraying, this way you will get drip free results!



Remember, take your time! Enjoy the process and long live color!






Featured:  #krylon #shortcuts


Stray Dog Designs

I recently received an email from Stray Dog Designs celebrating their 21st birthday. I remember working with them when they first started. This goes back to 1995, whenI worked for a catalog company called Sugar Hill, and we attended multiple design shows across the United States and overseas annually. I met Billy Pritchard the year they opened. They still carry some of their original products as well as many new, innovative, fresh designs.
The products that they carry are just my style! Whimsical and fun.
Their handcrafted lighting; furniture and home décor is something you need to see for yourself!
I love reading their blog, which talks about their travel that inspires their designs and creations right out of their workshop in San Miguel Allende, Mexico, and the fun they have along the way.

Over the years I have bought several pieces for design projects but finally one for me – in my office. Now, I get to enjoy it every day, and yes its my favorite color, pink!

My office was designed to be chic and bright a mix of modern and welcoming. In my office, I have a big Stray Dog Designs chandelier, the Celeste Sphere, that is definitely a conversation starter and adds some dazzle to the space. Stray Dog is a collaboration between talented artisans and designer Jane Gray. They use recycled materials and low VOC (volatile organic compound) finishes, which makes them harsh-chemical free!!

I have also purchased the Paulina Otomi pendant for W Storage. W Storage is an energetic and modern self-storage facility. Marketing and Design with Color didn’t just want to develop the usual, boring, storage facility…We jumped all in!! We believe that color changes everything, and with that thought in mind, we designed and developed a state-of-the-art high design lounge, where you can take a break, sit, relax, and surround yourself by all things beautiful and fun!! Stop by and see Johnathan Adler , Emporium Home and of course, Stray Dog Designs!! Click here to read our post about W Storage!

Paulina Otomi Pendant at Woodruff Storage

My home office has the hot pink Drum Pendant, the perfect peppy touch making working at home FUN!

Photo via: StrayDogDesigns


I am so proud of this team and what they have accomplished through the years. Can’t wait to see what they come up with next and which will be the next piece we will use in future design jobs! Let us do the hunting for you and bring a pop of color, style, and razzle-dazzle toyour space! Hire us, Marketing and Design with Color!




Featured: #StrayDogDesigns #CelesteSphere #JaneGray #JonathanAdler #EmporiumHome #PaulinaOtomiPendant #WStorage #DrumPendant #SuzanneJonesPhotography


Kelly Green

I love Kelly Green!! My favorite coffee cup is a Kate Spade mug that is Kelly green that says “live life colorfully!” I recently needed a great green for a fun zone in a fitness center so I took the cup to the paint store to match!

Indoor basketball at Swallowtail Flats!! Photo by moi :)

Indoor basketball at Swallowtail Flats!! Photo by Nathan Leduc

It’s a great easy way to be sure you get a color you love!  Another couple great kelly greens are Jolly Green by Sherwin-Williams and Fresh Lime by Benjamin Moore.

As you know by now I love color, just about any color, however there are a few that I don’t even consider colors!  Ask a friend or email me and I will be happy to share.  You know, I don’t like spreading negativity!





Featured: #KateSpade #KellyGreen #SwallowtailFlats #JollyGreenSW6931 #FreshLimeBenjaminMoore


Chutes & Ladders

I recently found this quote written by a friend of mine and it made me happy! “Columbus, GA based duo, Lucy and Bruce Jones, friends in work and life, have quietly worked on a portfolio of candy colored projects with electric palettes and elements of surprise around every corner.  It all adds up, layer upon layer equals brilliant!”

In the words of my husband, Bruce: “Lucy saw that Google had a slide inside their building, so we had to have a slide in ours.”

Interior Design by Leigh Olive Mowry of Olive Interiors

Let me tell you about this slide!! When the hair brained idea entered my mind, we already had the stairs built inside The Mill, which is the clubhouse at Swallowtail Flats Apartments at Old Town in Columbus, GA, a Southern Living Inspired Community designed by Historical Concepts.

Bruce Jones and the Woodruff Development team were well into construction, so they had to stop the construction, take out the entire staircase and redesign to make this dream a reality!! I thought it was fun, they thought it was crazy, but again, we are in the “YES” business!!

We found a stainless steel slide manufacturer from Oregon, Natural Structures, creative innovations since 1976, (funny fact: the blow pop was created at about the same time). Then, we had to make sure code would allow an apartment complex to have an interior slide, and had architects to redraw. This was our way for Old Town to show its personality, express the fun to come and inspire others with an adrenaline rush!!

My favorite part was picking the color of the slide. I knew exactly which color I wanted: Charms Blow Pop red, an American classic, with just the right amount of sparkle. It was all about high shine & modern metallic!

The slide company sent their color samples our way and we looked at them in all forms of light for about two weeks. It just HAD to be the right shade of red, and it also needed some glitter and sparkle! It ended up being a 100% custom-made color, just for us!! The natural light that enters The Mill makes it sparkle and shine!


Interior Design by Leigh Olive Mowry of Olive Interiors

The slide was transported across the country to Columbus, GA from Baker City, OR, immediately installed, and there it was; the highlight of The Mill!! A wild vision turned into reality!!


We wanted to create the most unique experience ever in an apartment clubhouse, and I can say, mission accomplished!!

Interior Design by Leigh Olive Mowry of Olive Interiors


Hire us today for unique and creative ideas to transform your space!




Featured: #chutesandladders #GoogleSlides #SwallowtailFlats #OldTown #SouthernLivingInspiredCommunities #HistoricalConcepts #WoodruffDevelopment #NaturalStructures #CharmsBlowPopRed #MistyWebb #CamAddison #LillyPulitzer


Jones Soda Co. (and freebies!)

I love their colors, flavors, I love that you see them in boutiques and Walmart! And I love that they have my last name!

This brand is known for its bold, unique flavors, colors and ever-changing labels! I snapped when I saw them at a store in Knoxville, Tennessee. They are definitely the highlight of the shelf!!!


They have a super cool photo contest, of course we have submitted our photo, click here to vote (give us a 10!!) we want to be on their label!!

Our submitted photo! Vote, vote, vote!


Do you love stickers? So do we! Click on this link to get FREE stickers from Jones Soda Co.!



Featured: #JonesSodaCo #FreeStickers #Gallery


Lilly Camp

If you know me, you know I love Lilly. She is my ultimate favorite. She is a hero of mine. Vanity Fair magazine published an article in 2011 (click here to read) that inspired me to share my passion for children and good old fun like Lilly Pulitzer. I read this article about 20 times and I enjoyed it more and more every time, so I decided to do all the things she liked in two days; yard sale, lemonade stands, parties, and all things Lilly and Palm Beach.

This fun-filled 2 day summer fête started at our house. I wanted the girls to have a Lilly Pulitzer experience. I love to decorate for the decades— probably because I’m a 70’s baby!! Before they all arrived, I made them a huge welcome sign made out of sea shells that I had used as decoration at my wedding. (I’ll tell you about our wedding surprise one day soon!) I wanted this to be extra special and fun!! I laid out all the Lilly Pulitzer catalogues from years of collecting and all my Lilly clothes, and the girls got to wear whatever they wanted to begin the first day of Lilly Camp!


Once we were all dolled up, we set up the lemonade stand, and the girls worked it in shifts (just like Lilly would’ve done). We also sold Lilly Pulitzer animal crackers, fresh picked Zinnias, home baked goodies, and handed out smiles!!


The lemonade stand!


Fresh picked zinnias

These two days were full of super fun activities. Day 1 consisted of playing loud music, dancing with hula hoops, playing games with a bunch of colorful balls that were set as decoration, a shaving cream fight, a hat-making party, and water activities. We ended day 1 of Lilly Camp with an awesome pool party with bright colorful tiki umbrellas all around the pool, tropical decorations, inflatable flamingo ballons (that I still have blown up to this date!!!), and water balloons. We had so much fun!! These are the things you can only dream of doing as a kid!!

I love my flamingo balloons! So many years of so much fun!!

Saturday morning was day 2 of Lilly camp and we went yard saling! This was one of Lilly’s favorite activities! All the girls wore gorgeous Lilly Pulitzer shift dresses.


Yardsale shopping!

We sought out cool finds, colorful vintage nick knacks, and whatever else we could find that caught our eye and sparked interest! After the yard sales, we visited numerous Saturday morning events in Columbus, GA sharing the story of Lilly Pulitzer.

Visiting the market at The Landings

Later that afternoon, we had a tea party and everyone wore the hat that we decorated from the day before. For this party, I invited “Miss Manners”, who taught the girls how southern girls should behave! She talked to them about etiquette, good manners, being kind, being polite and all things southern! It was so much fun!! Miss Manners also dressed up and acted crazy to prove her point, teach the girls, and continue with the belly laughs we had going all weekend long!

Miss Manners

Miss Manners showing the girls how to set the table

After the tea party, I planned to share with the girls my love and admiration for Lilly Pulitzer. After all, she was a fascinating fashion icon. I pulled out my Lilly collection to show and explain to them how you can always find the word Lilly in every pattern. We talked about fashion, design, colors, and they all got to pick and say which one was their favorite piece and why!

Talking about Lilly

Sharing and talking about Lilly

Lilly Camp ended with a bang!! We had a real fashion show!! This just wasn’t a regular fashion show, we jumped all in!! We set the runway, created space for attendees, decorated the tables using live goldfish as centerpieces and made it look amazing! Our theme was Palm Beach. We were having some very special guests: their mothers!! When they showed up, the girls got to pick whatever they wanted from my Lilly clothes and dressed their moms! It was hilarious and so much fun!! I think to myself that to this day, whatever the children selected back in the summer of 2011, is probably very similar in style to what they would really wear today! Crazy to think they were all so little!! Time flies when you are having fun!

Our table decorations

Our table decorations

Liza at the fashion show!

Liza at the fashion show!

Lilly Pulitzer was big on parties and party favors, so I teamed up with #SouthernLiving guru Carmen Johnston to put together the most awesome favors. They were gorgeous buckets from her own business, #NectarandCompany, and they included gloves, plants, shovels, seeds and everything the girls would need to start their very own garden!!



The awesome buckets by Nectar and Honey!

Lilly Camp was such a success that a good friend of mine, Helen Brooks, wrote a note about me and Lilly Camp on her blog! She is an artist and writer who layers bible verses and bursts of color creating the most amazing mixed media pieces to share with people what God has done in her life. She has her own website, Milk and Honey Collective, which is growing. Also, she just partnered up with a company out of Charleston, South Carolina that has a similar mission in putting scripture on the walls of people’s homes.  The Charleston company was formerly called Naptime Diaries. Now, she and her partners are re-launching the business under a new name, “Amen Paper Company”. You can follow them on Instagram or go to their website and stay on track with the newest and latest! So proud of her!

Click through the Lilly Camp gallery!

I want to finish this by leaving y’all with a favorite word of mine; vivre!

Vivre is about a life well-lived, on trend but never trendy, relevant and inspiring and exquisitely crafted. It’s about modern sensibility and celebrating everyday moments.

All these thoughts really remind me of the thoughts behind Lilly Pulitzer, the Kate Spade brand and the Bando Brand; life filled with memories, love, friends and fun.

So for now, vivre!




Featured: #VanityFair #LillyPulitzer #NectarandCompany #SouthernLiving #MilkandHoney #AmenPaperCompany #vivre #KateSpade #Bando