Celebrating Mother's Day


Mother, Daughter, Grandmother - We have it all!

This year, each one of us is celebrating Mother’s Day in a different role. 

See below for what we’re loving most about each stage of motherhood, and what "tips" our resident grandmothers Karen & Elise would love to share.



Check out this corner of my office …. You have a glimpse of my design studio vision board.  It is filled with special personal and professional photos, words of inspiration, cherished notes from my girls, design partners and clients, inspiring fashion and prayer cards from those special people that I have lost over the years. 

Then there is my desk – always a rotating candle, my terrarium with the miniature woman in a headstand while reading a book (my two passions - thank you Laura B.), and my most powerful memento …. My mom’s name plate from her real estate desk.  

Therese Righeimer passed on August 23rd, 2011.  My dad passed almost 18 months later and subsequently, the five siblings were tasked with clearing out our childhood home.  That is when I uncovered this treasure.

My mom was a renaissance woman.  She raised 5 children all while going back to school, becoming a high school special education teacher and eventually finding her true calling as a successful realtor for over 25 years.  After school, I would walk to her Deerfield office, say hi to all the other brokers and sit at her desk while she finished up.  I remember being so proud of her.  Hearing her on the phone and knowing how much her colleagues and clients appreciated her work ethic, loved her sense of humor and admired her unwavering faith.

In 2000, I became a mom and branched out from my traditional MBA corporate business marketing path to launch JBI.  Since I am a self taught interior designer, it started small and grew organically with so many wonderful opportunities and business experiences along the way. If I were to be honest, it hasn’t always been easy to manage, but when I feel emotionally or physically depleted, I simply look at that name plate and know that Therese managed significantly more challenges in all aspects of her life and did it always with a broad smile for all and back rubs (during Sunday mass) for my sister Laura and me.

She is my strength and guardian in everything I do.  Writing this has brought me to tears, but I’m not sad …. I feel infinitely blessed!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Xoxoxo Jeannie



     I have been blessed with having strong women role models in my life - My mother Barb, twin sister Christy, and for the past 5 years, the amazing women I work with: Jeannie, Karen, and Elise.  My mom especially has really impacted me with her selfless ways and has always put the needs of my sister and me first.  I’m very grateful for all that she does and how she constantly cheers us on, always making us feel so special and empowered. 

        As I am currently expecting my first child (a baby girl in October), my journey towards motherhood is quickly approaching!  Although I am nervous, I am also really excited to become a mom myself, and to impart the wisdom these leading ladies have taught me over the years.



I have always thought that being the mother of young children sometimes seems like an endless afternoon that is over in a heartbeat.  It’s the hardest and most rewarding job I have ever done.  Try to enjoy the journey – it will soon be over.  Go at the pace of the children, encourage each one’s individual gifts, no two are alike.

The best part of being a grandmother is that all you have to do is love them!  You don’t have to discipline, clothe or educate them – just enjoy them!  It's God’s special kiss on the cheek at this time of life – you get to spend an afternoon with your sweet toddler again – to have them sit on your lap and read stories, play at the beach for as long as they want, hold you hand to visit the zoo, stand on a chair to help you make pancakes  – and then send them home to come again another day!  I love being grandma!

Elise and B and A.JPEG


There are so many wonderful things about being a grandmother.  Perhaps the greatest joy is seeing your child (my sons) being wonderful, caring parents to their own children and being loving, generous partners with their spouses.  As the song goes in “The Sound of Music,” I must have “done something right” as a parent!

I feel lucky that 2 of my 3 grandsons live here in Chicago and that I get to see them almost weekly.  Being able to see them so often and develop a real relationship with them is a true gift!  And I'm so thankful that Facetime helps us to be involved with our grandson who lives in NYC.

One of my favorite things about being a grandma is getting to be called "Bubbie."  This is such an honor to me because it was also the name I called my grandmother, who I loved and respected so much.  There's nothing I love more than giving their precious little faces lots of "Bubbie kisses" !!!

Being a grandmother is even better than everyone says it is - It is unconditional love, and the best club you can ever be part of!  It's the gift that keeps on giving.



Though I’m not a mother yet (and have no plans to become one soon!), this Mother’s Day I’m celebrating friends who have recently become new moms, as well as celebrating my own incredible mom.  I am so thankful to have such amazing women in my life to look up to and learn from — I've been blessed with such hardworking, selfless women that have taught me how to have both grit and grace.  While I’ve still got a lot of time before I become a mama myself (Lord willing), I’m so looking forward to it and feel lucky to be taking notes from the best in the meantime!  Happy Mother's Day to all of you amazing mamas and grandmas out there!


- Jeannie Balsam Interiors Design Team