‘Tis the Season…for shopping!

November 13-15th, 2014 Memphis Botanic Garden

If you are anything like me, you are just about tired of hearing people say, “I’ve almost finished my Christmas shopping!” Uggh!!! It sends my anxiety into overload because, of course, I haven’t even started. The good news is that Merry Marketplace is THIS WEEK and it is the PERFECT place to check off a variety of gifts on your shopping list.

This is the second year that the market will be held at the Memphis Botanic Garden and you will love the high-quality vendors coming to the show this year. I will include a link to view of all the vendors later in this post, but first I wanted to tell you about a few of my personal favorites.

Agape North

Agape North

One of my first stops every year is the Agape North booth. Joe Williams has been a friend of the JLM for several years and we love partnering with him to provide custom embroidered school shirts for Memphis school children. You can read more about our partnership here but let me tell you about the quality of their clothing!  From long sleeve t-shirts and pullovers to hats and now even scarves, you are SURE to find the perfect gifts for the men, women and children in your life.



I’m super excited to see June Bug Designs on the list again this year. This father-daughter duo from Memphis turn beautiful old pieces of wood into custom painted art for your home. I purchased a wooden Christmas tree last year for our front yard and I can’t wait to put it out again.

Magic Light Wand

Magic Light Wand

Perhaps my favorite purchase last year was the Magic Light Wand.  Fellow JLM member, Lindsay Hammond, and her family developed this innovative and magical way to turn your holiday lights on and off. I purchased several for teacher gifts, hostess gifts and even a few for our home. My two girls have small Christmas trees in their bedrooms and they loved being able to wave their Magic Light Wand from their bed to turn their lights off at night. The other BRILLIANT thing about the Magic Light Wand? It works on outdoor lights, too. No more tromping down in the basement to unplug the outside lights at our house…one wave of the wand and “poof” out they go.   Now that is truly magical!

I hope this post helps get you in the mood for some fun holiday shopping…with a charitable twist!  Funds raised support the JLM’s ongoing efforts to improve the Memphis community.

Click here to see a list of this year’s merchants and be sure to like the JLM MMP Facebook page to see great photos of merchandise coming to the show – including beautiful handmade jewelry and fine art. Online ticket sales have ended, but tickets for all events can be purchased at the door.

General Admission: Friday, November 14, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Saturday, November 15, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ($10 tickets)

Merry Marketplace Girls Night Out: Join us for cocktails, appetizers and exclusive shopping before Merry Marketplace opens to the public. Thursday, Nov. 13 from 6-9:30 pm ($30 tickets).

Boutique Breakfast: Attendees will enjoy brunch and mimosas while taking advantage of stroller-free shopping before Merry Marketplace general admission begins at 11 a.m.  Friday, November 14, 9 a.m. – Noon ($25 tickets).

Grab a friend and come shop with us!

Jeni Linkous
Community Outreach Director

Extreme Makeover – JLM Style


JLM Pre-K Room at Lester Community Center, Memphis, TN

JLM Pre-K Room at Lester Community Center, Memphis, TN

Since 2010, the Junior League of Memphis has spent countless hours at Lester Community Center in Binghampton, through our G.R.O.W. initiative.  We have witnessed  many positive changes in the area over the last 5 years and are proud to be a part of the revitalization of the neighborhood.  We recognize that we are only a small part of the positive change going on in the neighborhood and believe that collaboration amongst other groups and businesses is key to making the most impact on the community.  When we heard the Memphis Grizzlies were adopting Lester as part of Grizz Cares Day of Service, we were eager to meet with them and find out how the JLM could lend a hand.

The day of service project focused on full refurbishment of the outdoor basketball courts, exterior landscaping, a state of the art Blended Learning Lab and several other projects going on throughout the neighborhood.  200 volunteers participated, including the entire Grizzlies player roster and over 40 JLM members.  Thanks to a gift from the John Dustin Buckman Charitable Trust, the JLM was able play a significant role in the Grizz Cares Day of Service by officially adopting the Pre-K room at Lester, and pulled off an amazing renovation in just 10 short days!

Marc Gasol helping with a mural at Grizz Cares: Day of Service, courtesy of Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images.   Click Here and Here to view more pictures from this Gallery

The Pre-K room is used as part of the after school program at Lester and is FILLED with 35+ kids every weekday afternoon.  The room is also a vital part of the G.R.O.W. Thursday night supper club, as it houses the youngest group of kids during the educational portion of the weekly program.  Recently moved to a dingy room in the back corner behind the gym, the room was filled with mix matched desks and other furniture collected throughout the years.  The two teachers (angels) who care for the children every day are volunteers, and were doing the best they could with the room they were given.

Sound the horns!  This is where the JLM Extreme makeover begins!  And it is my hands-down favorite thing about being a part of this organization.  When you  give a group of JLM members a project, even if we only have 10 days to pull it off, we rally the troops, pull from the strengths of our members and accomplish something extraordinary.

You see, nearly 90% of our members have professional careers in addition to their volunteer and family commitments.  We’re business owners, marketing professionals, doctors, musicians, FBI agents…you name it, and we probably have it! With all that outside knowledge and expertise, we’ve learned to lean on each other to create impactful change in our community.

So, what did we do when we met to discuss the renovation of the Pre-K room?  We called Hayley Davis, a beloved G.R.O.W. volunteer, who also happens to be an Interior Designer by trade!  She went straight to work taking measurements of the room and produced a floor plan for a colorful, inviting space with several centers including : an arts and crafts area, a reading nook, a dress up station, and a traditional homework area.  About the same time, Rebecca Fountain, quite possibly the league’s biggest G.R.O.W. cheerleader, secured several pieces of classroom furniture via a Facebook post by a fellow JLM member, Susie Björklund.


 Floor Plan for the newly designed Pre-K room, courtesy of Haley Davis, of Haley Davis Interiors

Floor Plan for the newly designed Pre-K room, courtesy of Haley Davis, of Haley Davis Interiors

With Hayley’s design in hand, a Design Task Force was created to pull the room together.  Made up of about 8 members who share not only a love for G.R.O.W., but also a love for all things creative and crafty, the Design Task Force went straight to work.  Members were scouring the internet and stores around town looking for everything from storage baskets to colorful rugs.  Leslie Graff, a skilled seamstress, jumped right in with a plan to recover the teachers chairs to make them fit in the new design of the room.  A Pinterest Board was created to collect ideas and share pictures of the existing room and of the furniture and decor we were using to spiff it up.  We also interviewed several Pre-k teachers to make sure the centers we were creating would be useful and the toys we purchased would be a meaningful part of their learning experience.

A call for help was made about 3 days prior to the big “reveal” day.  We needed LOTS of extra hands to help paint furniture, so that the room could become the colorful, inviting space we all imagined.  Two days later about a dozen women, many of them JLM Board Members, showed up late at night to transform dull metal filing cabinets and old wooden bookshelves into beautiful, brightly colored, “like-new” pieces of furniture.  Brooke Helsley even brought her handy dad along to install 35 coat hooks, so that the children would have a place to hang their backpacks and coats each afternoon.


Spray Paint Masters and JLM Board Members: Page Boden and Jennifer Taylor

Spray Paint Masters and JLM Board Members: Page Boden and Jennifer Taylor

October 25, 2014 was a day we will not soon forget.  We arrived early that Saturday morning to an empty, brightly colored room (Grizz Blue – thanks to the Grizzlies Foundation for painting the walls!) ready to be transformed by a host of hard working volunteers.    Tables were assembled, walls were decorated, furniture was brought in and arranged and toys were unpacked and organized thanks to the help of many JLM volunteers, several guys from Peer Power and even a “hand” by some of our most favorite Grizzlies players.

One of our pinterest inspirations turned out to be a signature part of the room.    In addition to transforming the Pre-K room, we were asked to entertain about a dozen children in the room that morning – allowing them to participate in Grizz Cares Day.  They created several craft projects to hang on the walls and then added their own “touch” to the room by placing their thumbprint on a large canvas.  The thumb prints of the children and volunteers were turned into flowers and handprints were used to create the grass.  The biggest handprints (and most exciting ones!) were provided by several Grizzlies players themselves!

Jordan Adams and Kosta Koufos lend a hand to the  Pre-k room renovation

Jordan Adams and Kosta Koufos lend a hand to the Pre-k room renovation

Around noon that day, I stood back in awe at the transformation after 10 short days.   And because we know these families so well, we have a personal connection to the room and look forward to using it weekly during the Thursday Night G.R.O.W. program.

On a personal note:  I brought my daughter and her friend along with me that Saturday to help get the room organized.  They worked hard at unpacking boxes and organizing craft supplies and helped entertain the children with art projects.  They were star struck by the Grizzlies of course, but I’m most proud of their heart to serve others.  And I’m so thankful the JLM provides me with the opportunity to include them in projects like this so that they gain perspective on the community around us and realize their own potential to make impactful change on the world.

The Pre-K room renovation was only a small part of the revitalization going on in Binghampton that day and we loved walking around that afternoon to admire the work of others.  The basketball courts are nothing short of astounding, the mural brings joy to the area, and the learning lab will significantly impact the educational lives of the neighborhood children.    I am so thankful to have the chance to be a part of the transformation.

Tony Allen visits the Pre-K room during Grizz Cares Day.

Tony Allen visits the Pre-K room during Grizz Cares Day.

Jeni Linkous
Community Outreach Director

Isn’t That Amazing?

Junior League of Memphis 2014-2015 Board of Directors

Junior League of Memphis
2014-2015 Board of Directors

It seems these days that “amazing” is such an overused word. Not everything can be dubbed, “amazing,” but as I sit and try to think of a better word to describe the women in Junior League of Memphis, no other word seems to do the trick.

You see, I am constantly amazed by the work these women do. This is my fifth year in JLM, and I am honored to serve on the Board of Directors as Communications Director. My various placements have exposed me to a wide range of duties within Junior League, and every year, I continue to meet women who see going above and beyond as their baseline responsibility. I watch in inspirational awe as these women continue to use their gifts to pay it forward. It’s a wonderful experience, I assure you.

And while JLM does indeed make a hugely positive impact on the Memphis community year after year, I think it’s important not to overlook all of the benefits of belonging to such an organization – even outside of the service aspect. One of the “pillars” of Junior League’s mission is to develop the potential of women. JLM provides numerous training opportunities throughout the year, along with “on the job” training that happens as women learn to lead in different ways in their various placements. I’ve been in league leadership for a few years now, and it has been a very rewarding time for me. I feel honored to be able to work behind the scenes to support our Provisionals, Actives and Sustainers as they do their work in the community.

The networking aspect of belonging to JLM has been very beneficial to me as well. My circle of friends and list of contacts grow exponentially each year. I have made a wealth of professional and personal connections through JLM; it’s almost like “Six Degrees of JLM” – tell me what you need to get done or whom you need to get in touch with, and I can likely help you do that through my contacts in Junior League.

And I’m not just talking about networking for your career – the fellowship and friendship I’ve gained as a member of JLM are unmatched when you consider anything else I’ve been a part of. It’s nice to know the kinds of people I’m surrounding myself with – all of us are like-minded in that we love and appreciate our city and the people in it, and we want to make a difference.

As a matter of fact, I’ll share a brief tidbit with you that demonstrates just how influential this organization has been on my life. I recently took part in a teambuilding exercise with my work department, and we had to talk about the impactful moments in our lives. Among a few other moments, I decided to add joining JLM to that list – I’ve enjoyed my time in the organization so much, it just seemed like the right thing to do. However, even I wasn’t prepared for my reaction when we had to present our list to the rest of the group. As I began to talk about why JLM has had an impact on my life, I was moved to tears. We work hard, we do great things, and I’m so happy to be a part of it.

So, yes, the work we do is … well … amazing. The word might be a little overused nowadays, but I won’t let that rob this organization and its members of it … because they truly deserve it.

Cara Sievers
Communications Director