We are kicking off Summer in the BEST way possible! Today…we are beyond excited to annouce that NEAT has officially found a reason to spread it's wings to yet another Midwestern state. Please join us in welcoming MICHIGAN as in PURE MICHIGAN as in…the WHOLE state!!
So, we are sure you are wondering what rock star girl we have found to run an entire state?!?! Besides being wickedly talented, extremely lovable and of course, one of the most organized people we know…she also just so happens to be one of Ashley's best friends. Oh, don't let this detail fool you! She was completely put through the ringer and passed with flying "rainbow order" colors!
It is our pleasure to introduce you to Lauren Combs! Some know her by her maiden name McGraw, some prefer to call her McG, while others – including us – just LC! And we figured, who better to sit down with the new NEAT babe herself, than LC's bestie Ash!
AM :: Welcome to the NEAT life McG (as I prefer to call you)! We couldn't be more excited to have you join our team! Obviously…I know WAY more fun stuff about you than our readers at home, so in order to give them a little taste, let's start from the beginning…
Where were you born and raised?
LC :: I was born and raised in Cinicinnati, Ohio. I loved growing up in Cinci, especially with my three sisters by my side! My parents, one sister & her family, and my large extended family (ummm 25 first cousins!) still live there. I try and visit as much as I can – and when I do, I HAVE to visit my favorite spots…Graeters Icecream and Skyline Chili!
AM :: So, what brought you to Michigan? And where were you before?
LC :: My husband, Andy, always wanted to settle down near his hometown of Bloomfield Hills. I knew it wouldn't be a problem from my first visit. Michigan is such a beautiful place with such amazing people. We've been living in Birmingham for the past 3 years and love that this is the place we call home. We spent several years in both Manhattan Beach, CA and Chicago, IL and appreciate every opportunity we have to visit.
AM :: I know you as one of the truly most amazing moms around! You have been my inspiration as you know. Please tell everyone a bit about your sweet family.
LC :: Well, I should probably start with the queen of our house. Our little dog, Josie. We got her when we lived in California and she's been our best friend ever since. We feel very blessed with our son, Drake, who is 15 months old and the happiest little guy who always makes us smile. Our family was also lucky enough to be graced with his big sister, Cali, who is up in heaven watching over us everyday.
AM :: What are some of your favorite spots in Michigan? Where do you like to eat? Hang out? Basically, give us your go-to places so our readers know where to visit.
LC :: We live right in downtown Birmingham, so we are lucky to be able to walk to some of our favorite spots. Caruso Caruso is a favorite for unique casual wear and great denim. The Claymore Shop is the best around for men's wear. One of the owners, Al, is so personable and helps me pick out gifts for Andy all the time. Woodward & Maple is a charming boutique with one-of-a-kind gifts for literally all occasions and every member of the family.
As for restaurants and places to eat – this is a tough one. I'm kind of a foodie! Commonwealth is by far my favorite spot with the best atmosphere. They have the best almond milk lattes, homemade macaroons, and delicious food for both breakfast and lunch. Luxe Bar is our go-to dinner spot. You can always find the same familiar faces, with great food and spirits! We tend to also spend a lot of time in downtown Detroit, and my two favorite spots are Astro Coffee and Green Dot Stables. Both owners are genuine, wonderful people who cater amazingly delicious food and provide an unbeatable atmosphere.
AM :: So, I want to make sure our readers know about some of your hidden talents. From being a gourmet chef to the next Picasso, please share with our readers what only your closest friends and family know about you.
LC :: Well, you just told them.
AM :: Okay fine, we get the whole gourmet chef thing, Giada…but elaborate a bit more on your passion for the arts.
LC :: I've been painting since I was a small child, and studied architecture and interior design at Miami University (Ohio). I've worked in the design industry for the past 12 years, designing textiles and selling products for luxury brands. I'm currently working towards a Counseling Degree in Art Therapy and hope to fulfill my lifelong goal of getting my masters in the arts. After working with both hospice patients and also children/families who have experienced loss and grief…I learned how art can help people. I look forward to one day achieving my degree and helping even more people in need, through art!
AM :: Obviously it's no secret you are Type A, but what is your most OCD tendency?
LC :: Just one?!? To-Do Lists most certainly wins! I can't do anything without one. Everything I do needs a list with empty boxes to be checked off as items are finished. My husband thinks I'm crazy (or just crazy OCD) when he sees a new list every morning of what needs to be packed for Drake at school. Granted it's the same list (the same things go to school with him every day) and although I have probably committed it to memory…the lists are a compulsion!
AM :: So what makes you most excited to launch NEAT Michigan?
LC :: I think I am most excited to work along-side you! We've discussed the possibility of me joining NEAT for years, so it's been a long time in the making. I have you to thank for the encouragement and support as I start this new adventure!
I always knew I would end up settling down in Michigan, and the fact that I get to start NEAT Michigan is my total DREAM JOB come true! I think that my past work history will really help me excel with my clients. Organizing has always been an obsession of mine and I love that I get to use my creativity to provide beautifully organized spaces. Get ready Michigan, you are about to become NEAT!
Isn't she just the cutest blonde bombsell of a Mom?? We are absolutley delighted to have another Midwestern state added to the NEAT lineup and can't wait to see NEAT Michigan take off!
Welcome to the team, LC! So lucky to have you!!
the NEAT girls