Mikey's Helping Place - Tallahassee, FL

Founded in early 2011, Mikey’s Helping Place is a special sort of charity. It was created from the heart of a five year old who wanted to help raise money for local children in need. After his first successful event, a two week read-a-thon for the Children’s Home Society, he was inspired to continue his charitable work by organizing more ways to give. If you have a heart to help others, you can contact Mikey’s Helping Place at mikeyandzoe@comcast.net to learn more about their current projects.

We have chosen to highlight and help this charity as an ode to our 200th blog post (coming up on March 20th). The founders not only are a huge inspiration to us, but some of you might recognize the two youngest members as the Flower Girl and Ring Bearer from Lauren and Scott’s wedding. Mikey (or “Michael” as he likes to be called these days) was reading at a very early age. His parents found out quickly that he needed to be challenged and were always finding ways to keep him motivated. However, it was Mikey who came up with the idea (when he was only five years old) to start his own charity to give to children in need. In his first attempt he raised $799 by participating in a read-a-thon.

In the past two years, Mikey and his family have continued to find creative ways to give. For example, they collected toys to give to the kids at the local hospital for Mikey’s 6th birthday. His younger sister, Zoe has recently taken an interest as well, and they created “Zoe’s Corner” (a blog to let people know of places where they can give). One of the many organizations they have been working with recently is Operation Smile. Mikey’s Helping Place collects seasonal and birthday cards to give to their local hospital and other children in need of a little cheering up. Operation Smile informs them where to send these cards, which get sent all over the United States. Parents have come back many times to thank Mikey’s Helping Place for the kindness they have given to their child and the smile that it has brought to their faces.

In honor of our 200th blog post, we have chosen to collect 200 handmade cards to send to Mikey’s Helping Place for Operation Smile. Our Craft Club has already created a large number of these cards, but we are still hoping to obtain more in order to reach our goal. This is where you (our readers) come in. If you feel so obliged to help out a great cause, create a couple cards or even get a group together and work on them Side by Side to send in. We are also looking for other craft clubs to challenge to see if you can make even more than we did. For more information (including where to send this donation) please contact us at sidebyside.design@yahoo.com.

The dynamic duo of Mikey’s Helping Place
Michael (age 7) and Zoe (age 6)

We are so happy that we are able to celebrate such a special time for our blog by giving to others. When we spoke with Mikey and Zoe’s mom, Courtney, she shared these feelings with us. She said that it has been a lot of work keeping this charity going but that it is totally worth it. She said, “I can’t imagine … I have three children that are healthy, and that makes me feel like I should do something to help.”



Here comes the Bride … but what happens when the Bride is only ten years old? As part of Tami’s Jewish Life Cycle unit that she teaches to her 4th grade class, it is her responsibility to make sure her students experience a Jewish wedding. What better way for them to learn it than to live it?

The first step was to choose roles. As there were close to forty children involved, four Brides and four Grooms were selected to walk down the aisle each with their own entourage (parents, Maids of Honor, and Best Men). The students took their jobs very seriously and even dressed the part.

Each Bride walked down the aisle with a bouquet of silk flowers and solid gold bands from Claire’s were exchanged under the chuppah.

The “parents of the happy couples” circled them seven times while singing Sunrise, Sunset from Fiddler on the Roof.

All of these small details played out very nicely on wedding day, however Tami’s favorite part of the whole process was helping each of her students create a ketubah. In our previous post, DIY: Ketubah Design, we shared with our readers that a ketubah is “The Hebrew marriage contract dating back to ancient times. The ketubah is usually printed in a very beautiful, artistic, and creative way as a keepsake document for the Bride and Groom and an heirloom to pass on.” Although Tami’s fourth grader’s marriage contracts may not be as fancy as the one shown in that post, they truly put their own creativity into every aspect of their designs. 

The students were instructed to write out the qualities of a good husband / wife on their ketubah, and what they wrote was both inspiring and hilarious. Here are a few of our favorite quotes: “You go together like peanut butter and jelly, like a zebra with stripes.”, “Must be willing to have twins.”, and “Qualities of a good husband: taller than me, older than me (same grade though), some shared interests, same honeymoon interests, MUST ASK ME TO PROM (this is extremely important).”

The ketubahs were then decorated with intricate designs, colored in crayon, and painted over with watercolor for a nice effect. Glitter paint was added as well because who doesn’t love glitter?
This 4th grade wedding ended with each Bride and Groom exchanging a Hershey “kiss” and some other treats at their own intimate reception. Although the purpose of this event was for Tami to teach her students about Jewish marriage, it was the Rabbi who taught the most important lesson of the day. He blessed each of the 4th graders together under the chuppah and wished for them to experience real love some day. That marriage is not something to be taken lightly, it is a tradition that is truly important to the Jewish life cycle. 



This month’s theme here on Side by Side Design is all about giving. We are truly inspired by those around us who attend and throw charity events in the name of giving to others. Our inspiration today comes from that heartfelt place as we describe and depict what a beautifully set up charity event can look and feel like. In order to take the theme of giving one step further we have incorporated ideas for how to accomplish this look in an all “green”, eco-friendly way.

Actual Eco-Friendly Materials That You Can Use to Create This Look:
Rustic Wood Box
These eco-friendly rustic boxes (that we found on Etsy) are made with reclaimed fence pickets, making each box unique.
Recycled glass bottles in different sizes and shapes would be great for the small flower arrangements. Mix in a few frosted or colored ones to create a more eclectic look.
Wide neck recycled glass jars are perfect to house candles or tea lights to set the mood. Incorporate organic beeswax candles like these, which burn cleanly with no air pollution and are free from chemicals and pesticides.
You can also add in a couple of repurposed or upcycled tin cans painted in soft colors to add interest to your flower display. Just make sure to use an eco-friendly spray paint when you do (like the ones found in the Krylon brand which use sustainable, raw materials like soy and sunflower oil in many of their paints).
Vintage French Watering Can in Beautiful Condition. 
Vintage Small Bowl on Foot
Items like this vintage French watering can and vintage bowl were also found on Etsy. We love using antique materials like these for parties and can use them again and again for years to come.
For the floral arrangements, go to your local farmers market the day of or the day before the event. This way you are not only contributing to your community but getting something beautiful and naturally grown at the same time.
Here is a link to a company in Los Angeles where you can rent eco-friendly linens. It has business practices that root them firmly in the green initiative. We love that they purchase repurposed fabrics for their products, make new products from retired inventory, and the fact that some of their fabrics are made from recycled plastic bottles.
Here’s another link to a company in the Los Angeles area. They provide unique, organic catering and are “proud to offer one of the healthiest, most creative organic catering services in town”.
We hope you have enjoyed this inspiration post full of “green” materials and ideas. We definitely learned a lot during the process of preparing it for you. We think a lot of these eco-friendly details can be incorporated into your own charity event and would love to hear how you use them. Keep us in mind when planning your next event. We would love to work with you Side by Side to create a special party for you and your guests.

It’s official … we are finally starting to feel hints of Spring here in Southern California. As we both love warm weather, we are excited for this time of year and all that it brings. This Spring, we have decided to pull our inspiration in our signature colors as they bring back so many happy childhood memories. In these posts, we choose to show interior shots along with decor and event details in the same color story and overall look. Please enjoy as we take you through our Spring inspiration in our own distinct styles.

Tami’s Pins: Spring seems to always be filled with lots of events (especially showers), and this inspiration would be perfect for those types of occasions. Its cheerful color scheme and larger than life floral patterns lend itself well to any bridal or girly baby shower. My signature color (pink) is displayed widely throughout this look and puts me in the mood for Spring.

I love the large floral backdrop for this otherwise simple bathroom design. 

Incorporating floral pillows in the living room gives a fresh Spring look.

Pink peonies would be a great addition to the decor of this home and would be equally as important to incorporate in the party decorations to tie everything together.
This time of year is perfect for dining outside during the day. I love bringing the overall look of the interior into the party set-up (in this case, I kept with the idea of white simplicity made special by lots of feminine touches).
Adding vintage chairs into the mix in different shapes and sizes creates interest. 
Sometimes the small details are the most memorable. 
Adding in fun touches, like pink popcorn, ensures that your event will never be forgotten.
It’s important to carry your colors all the way through to even the smallest details.
Tying in details found in the home in unexpected ways really is the “icing on the cake”. 
Lauren’s Pins: In keeping with my signature color (purple) this Spring, I have decided to base my inspiration on something that is in the forefront of my mind right now … my nursery design I am currently working on. Although this inspiration is a little more “adult”, I feel that the color scheme is soft and pretty for Spring. However, the party portrayed here would be perfect for a baby shower or an at home birthday celebration. 
These bright yellow draperies are exactly what this otherwise calm bedroom needed to prepare it for Spring.
Bringing in pops of yellow in other unexpected spaces keeps a consistency in the home.


Simple garden flowers in the party’s colors tie the whole look together.
The bright white tablecloths and chair seats are a nice backdrop for floral arrangements and other details.
These fancy chairs, which can be found at my work (AFK), would be a great addition to the heads of the table
giving it an almost Alice in Wonderland type feel.
Bright yellow pops of color (like seen in the home decor) creates a fun detail in the party as well.
A soft lavender hue and lemon slices are a nice touch.
Carry your concept all the way through to the smallest details. I love these French macaroons sprinkled with fresh lavender.
Special touches such as the craft paper mixed with lace on these gift boxes is a nice way to end any event.  
We look forward to all of the Spring events that we have coming up and even possibly using some of this inspiration in our planning. We would love to work with you in creating the right look this Spring tying the inspiration of your event with the essence of your home decor. Contact us at sidebyside.design@yahoo.com for more information.
To see more of our individual styles through our inspiration, follow us on Pinterest at:




It’s March already? Crazy! Time has really flown by. As we mentioned in February, we will be sharing our calendar pages from our January Craft Club meeting along with some inspiration you might enjoy on the first Friday of each month. In keeping with our focus of interior design and event planning, we have again selected photos that coordinate with our calendar pages and show you overall looks that are inspiring us this month.

Tami’s inspired: The phrase I chose to represent my March inspiration is “clean slate”. This symbolizes the beginning of Spring, and not only using the idea of “Spring cleaning” to organize my stuff but to get a fresh start in other aspects of my life. I chose to keep my color scheme bright and cheerful as an ode to Spring and the way I am feeling going into this month.





As you will notice, my inspiration photos have crisp and clean details such as white walls, stream lined furniture, and architectural touches. This ties well with my overall “clean slate” concept, and the colors would put anyone in a happy mood.

Lauren’s inspired: My month’s inspiration revolves around peaceful elegance. I chose to stick with a primarily green color scheme as it coordinates with all that we have planned for you this month including a holiday we have coming up and the idea of “going green”.




My photos all have simple design in common. The interior shots have used green to add a pop of color and excitement to an otherwise monochromatic design. The event photos show the green through their environmental touches and surroundings. They all are in keeping with my overall inspiration as they encompass that serene atmosphere I am longing for.

We are looking forward to an exciting month which will include Lucky Charms, an all “green” event, and a special charity project. Don’t forget to check out our next Get Inspired post on April 5th for all new looks!