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Welcome Home with Myquillyn Smith

copy of myquillyn's book welcome home in front of multiple other copies

Welcome to the Millennial Homemakers! On this episode, we chat with Myquillyn Smith about her new book, Welcome Home.

Jackie Alexander: Thanks for joining us for this week’s episode of the Millennial Homemakers Podcast, your resource for all things, home, hostessing, and more. We’re your hosts, Jackie Alexander and Jaclyn Humble.

Jaclyn Humble: Hello, and welcome back to the Millennial Homemakers. Glad to have you. Today, we have a very special interview. This is actually the second time that she has been on our show for a new book launch. Her latest book Welcome Home is available today. And it’s Myquillyn Smith or @thenester on Instagram.

JA: And I think she said @thenester pretty much everywhere. She does share more about how to connect with her online in the interview. So you should definitely go check her out. Because we were talking, we just connected with Myquillyn, and the last time we started by connecting with the fact that we have strange names and no one knows how to spell them or pronounce them.

JH: Yes. And Myquillyn really is great. Our first episode with her did very well. And we actually got a lot of new listeners from her. So we appreciate her being on our show again this year. And Jackie and I even had the opportunity to go to her book tour when we used to be able to do things in person like that. We were invited to her trailer, which she had blinged out – or cozy minimalist out.

JA: I was going to say; bling might be the wrong word here. It was pretty much like a small scale version of her living room.

JH: Well, tricked out, maybe.

JA: Right, like it wasn’t just some trailer, it was a cute little house.

JH: Yes, that she brought along with her on the book tour. And she was just a pleasure to see in person. And I’m just so happy that she came on our show again. And we were talking right before this. I was like, “Jackie, we have to start recording now” because I felt like we were getting into a good conversation.

JA: Which happens frequently, by the way.

JH: That’s why we usually don’t talk about episodes before we hit record. We might text, but we won’t talk. And I was recommended to read her first book, The Nesting Place, but Leah, a few years before Cozy Minimalist Home came out, and I never got around to it. And what a shame that I didn’t because as soon as I started reading Cozy Minimalist Home when we were first introduced to Myquillyn through Zondervan to be on our show, I just felt like she was a kindred spirit in her whole philosophy for entertaining, for decorating, all the things that are the Millennial Homemaker core values that Jackie and I really connect on, and I think a lot of our listeners connect with us on. So she really is just like an older, wiser soul sister. She’s not that old, but older than us.

JA: Right. She has a little more experience in this. So I used to read her blog, The Nesting Place, way back in the day before having my own place was really even on the horizon. It might’ve been in college. It was a little bit my dorm room, but that’s completely different than owning a house and making your house feel like you, especially if you’re sharing a dorm with other people. But I stopped reading it probably because I was like, “I’m in college. What am I doing?” And so I never got into her books. And the same thing when we first read Cozy Minimalist Home, I was like, “What have I been missing?” This would have simplified getting my house ready when we first moved in so much.

JH: She definitely has a lot of great tips. I just like her philosophy, that’s the best way to put it. Because she truly does have a home philosophy. And this new book Welcome Home is really about simplifying-slash-maximizing the seasons and decorating your home for different seasons. We’re going into fall, which is my favorite time of year. It was in the fifties this morning when I woke up, it just, I LOVE IT!

JA: I’m jealous. It was still in the nineties when I woke up this morning.

JH: Well, little different altitudes. But I just love this time of year going into these seasons. And it’s interesting how with the pandemic and all these things, how this is going to play out for this time of year when honestly, I have been looking forward to fall because that’s when I actually like being at home. I like being inside. I like fires. I like decorating and entertaining in our house. And I think a huge trend, even more so this fall, is going to be just more intentional, smaller get-togethers once people start feeling comfortable meeting in smaller groups again and all those kinds of things.

JA: Yeah. I agree. Fall is such a reset. And maybe summer, spring, and winter are resets for people that actually have all four seasons. But Augusta, Georgia really has fall and summer, and that’s it. And summer is just hot and gross. And I’m excited about it for like two days. But fall – I’m excited about it for the entire season. I never want it to end. And so of course, I want to bring that into my house. And so in this book, Myquillyn really goes into how to bring the season into your home in a very minimalist way. Like Jaclyn said, like maximizing it without just going and buying every pumpkin you see.

JH: Yes. And we talk more about this in the interview, but she even touches on all five senses, which is so important. I was just reading a business book called Aesthetic Intelligence. I think I recommended Jackie read it. And it talks a lot about brands and how the ones that have lasted so long, like Louis Vuitton and the champagne with the expensive orange label – Brut Veuve Clicquot. We all know that orange label, right? So Aesthetic Intelligence touches on the five senses and those brand codes of those really successful luxury brands. And after I listened to that one and then reading the Welcome Home, it’s like, this is the version for your house of all those things – really branding your house for the season. I’m big on branding. So your personal brand, we talk a lot about that with personal style, but it truly goes beyond over pumpkin-ing.

JA: Yes. I agree. Going back to what you had mentioned earlier, a couple of minutes ago, about how she’s like an older soul sister and how if we had kind of gotten on The Nester bandwagon earlier, it would’ve changed everything. A couple of weeks ago, I was at a very, very small baby shower (venturing out of the house for one of the first times). I was talking to the hostess and saying, “Your house is so gorgeous.” It was very simple and cohesive. As we’re talking about how much I loved her house, the hostess asked, “Have you ever heard of Myquillyn Smith?” I was like, “Oh girl, let me tell you.” She was so excited for Welcome Home. So shout out to Lacey, if you’re listening. If you want to simplify and you want to have that cohesive look in your house, then Myquillyn is really a great starting point. And with Welcome Home, I think it’s just a very easy transition for each season.

JH: Now, was this in the book, or was this just on her Instagram story – the pineapple rule?

JA: It was definitely in her Instagram story. I’m trying to think if it was in her book. I can’t remember.

JH: Well, I know she shared it in her Instagram story. Jackie actually sent it to me because I like pineapples. I’m actually looking at three pineapple lamps that have gone into one room somehow. But anyway, I love it. It’s the Southern symbol for hospitality. Also, in some places, it’s a symbol for swingers, but I think that has to be an actual pineapple. And I don’t even know anything about that.

JA: I’ve never heard that before, and that puts Psych on a whole new level because there’s a pineapple in every episode.

JH: Okay. Did you not know that that was a thing? We’ll have to go into that later. It was in the sixties, I think. I don’t know.

JA: So like key parties and all that?

JH: Yeah, they would put a pineapple on their porch, weird stuff, not into it, but it has made me rethink the pineapple brass knocker that I wanted for the front door. Anyway, it’s the southern symbol for hospitality, but in Myquillyn’s Instagram story, she talks about larger scale. Instead of buying a bunch of stuff, just buy one really great piece of decor. And so her rule is that she doesn’t buy like a ceramic piece or a piece of decor for her house that is smaller than a pineapple.

JA: Which is genius. I’ve given away or thrown out so many things in the past couple of months since I’ve been in the house for so long have been really small things that just get lost and cluttered. And you just have to dust and dust and dust.

JH: Yes, exactly. So don’t tell your mother because her Precious Moments collection would not pass.

JA: In her defense, she has been collecting those since probably the 70s.

JH: And I think she keeps him in a Curio cabinet. So that’s a whole different thing.

JA: Yes, she does. Or in the attic.

JH: Don’t we all. But I will say for those kinds of tips, tune into her interview, that’s coming up right after this. I was going to read a few things on her Instagram. She’s been posting things leading up to the book launch, and I was going to read a few quotes either from her or from people about it. Oh. And also, with her book comes a course, and we don’t have access to that yet. But that seemed to really, really neat.

JA: I have already pre-ordered the book, which again is coming out today when you’re listening to this. So I do have access to the course, and I haven’t had a chance to sit down and really go through it yet. But it takes what’s in the book and puts it into a visual conversation.

JH: Oh, good. Yeah. I need to pre-order mine. So I can get it shipped to me this week or when it’s out. And then I’m definitely going to listen to on Audible if she reads it because that’s my favorite way to consume things. Like with this podcast, I hope that y’all like listening to it. So here are a few quotes that I just thought really summed up first Cozy Minimalist Home and now Welcome Home for decorating for the seasons. One of them says, “I can admire it without needing to acquire it.” Here’s another one: “I can love how they decorate it without needing to replicate it.”

JA: I think that one’s huge because your personal style isn’t going to be anybody else’s.

JH: And what I think of is a hotel or a wedding or something, just thinking that that has to be every tablescape for having people over to dinner. I bought these bunny-shaped salad plates for Easter. Haven’t used them. And they’re cute. It’s great. I like the idea of changing out salad plates. I even made Easter dinner here this year with COVID, and we just had my father-in-law come over. It was just my husband, my father-in-law, and I. Didn’t use them; forgot about them. They’re unnecessary. Another one is: “I can appreciate it without needing to accumulate it.”

JA: Which I think that really goes back to Cozy Minimalist Home. If you haven’t read that, go ahead and listen to that episode now because you’re going to want to go out and buy that book too. Just getting stuff – it’s just more stuff you have to take care of.

JH: Yes. And we talk about this in the interview too, but this was another quote on her Instagram is: “When your home is ready for the season, it’s ready for the celebration.” And just thinking about the reason why we decorate our homes should be for the people who live there, but also for entertaining purposes as well. If getting your home ready for Christmas is laborious and tiresome and you can’t celebrate after, then you’re doing too much.

JA: Well said. It’s why I got rid of half of my Christmas decorations last year.

JH: And it’s fun to have a theme still. I think you can do that in wrapping. That’s a more consumable thing. Like she talks about candles and how she’ll buy like tons and tons of candles and people think, “Oh my gosh, if you’re a minimalist, why do you have 10 candles in your cart at Target?” And she said, “Well, you’re supposed to be burning the pretty candles; they’re consumable.”

JA: Right. Not just looking at them. I have one more quote that goes with this before we jump into that episode. And that’s “Home exists to serve the people, not the other way around.” This is something that we’re going to get into more with this season of the podcast. And so we just wanted to get that out there.

JH: Yes. This season will be good. We’re going to have regular episodes every Tuesday. So it should be ready for you early on Tuesday. And we’re excited about some of the topics coming up. So I hope that you stay tuned!

JA: Myquillyn, welcome to the Millennial Homemakers. We’re so glad to have you back and to talk about your newest book Welcome Home.

Myquillyn Smith: Oh, y’all, I’m so glad to be here. And I love talking about home. It’s my favorite topic.

Did you have a reason for starting your book with fall?

JH: Ours too, so that’s a good thing. Well, let’s jump right in. So Myquillyn, I love the cover. I absolutely love it. I love the disco ball on it because it makes it so fun. And Jackie and I like to kind of get the behind-the-scenes, like “in your brain” about when you’re writing a book. So your book takes us season-by-season. Did you have a reason for starting with fall besides the timing of the book launch?

MS: Oh, I totally did. Because fall is the season that I think we begin to get tripped up the most when it comes to seasonal decor. And I say that from experience. I think a lot of people who write books write it out of a frustration of something; maybe they had to learn themselves. And so that that’s me, I’m raising my hand. And fall decor was a big problem for me. I found myself giving myself a part-time job of shopping for decor, packing up decor, putting out decor, babysitting decor. All so it could sit in my attic for 10 months out of the year. And so fall is kind of the beginning of that. I mean, we all decorate for Christmas and that kind of thing, but I think it kind of starts in the fall. That’s a season we all get excited about. And it happened to be a good time for me to put out the book as well. My other books came out in the fall, and I kind of liked that time of year. So it just worked out.

JA: I understand that feeling. Last year, I think I realized I had like four boxes of fall decor, and I only took out a quarter of that, so why did I have the rest of it?

MS: Yes. Yeah, I have challenged myself. And now, I have zero boxes of fall, and I have three boxes of winter slash Christmas decor, and it feels so good! And my house still works wintery and Christmas-y. My house was in Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Ideas. I promise you can get a seasonal home without feeling like you have to pack away seasonal stuff.

JH: My husband will love to hear that.

Why did you separate the season from the celebrations?

JA: We absolutely loved how you organized the book. I think it was a little unconventional. And we love that you break up the seasons – one chapter focused on like the decor and the season itself, and then the other chapter based on the celebrations in that season. Where most people might just focus on one or the other. So what clicked for you to separate the two?

MS: Ooh, that’s a really good question. I wrote a book called Cozy Minimalist Home, and that book started out as a blog post that then moved into making an online class. And what happens is people start asking you questions, and you find yourself talking about a certain topic. And with Welcome Home, people started asking about decorating for fall. And I started figuring out why I was frustrated with fall decor and then how to kind of solve that and what worked for me and what didn’t. And then people were asking about hosting. And I had never really quite put together that they kind of go hand-in-hand, which kind of sounds crazy. How does decorating for Christmas have to do with hosting? But it really does. What I found is when I feel confident in my home and that it’s kind of ready for the season, it is automatically ready for the celebrations within that season.

So if my home feels ready for fall, and if I’ve kind of “fall-i-tized” my house, if I have the seasonal supplies I need, and it feels like it’s in keeping with the season, if you can walk in my house on October day and it feels like October, November, then when it comes time to host Thanksgiving, my house is like 75% there. It feels like fall; then, I just have to add food. So it’s been such a help to me in kind of a new way to look at seasonal decorating and seasonal supplies.

How does focusing on hospitality change how we decorate our homes?

JH: We absolutely love that because I definitely agree. And I just, I just loved how you organized the book. Like I said, I always like to, with these kinds of books, with home decor, it’s fun to get into the author’s brain. Like, okay, “Why did you go about it this way?” I loved it. And that kind of takes us into our next one is focusing on the hospitality. How does focusing on hospitality change how we decorate our homes each season?

MS: When you think about decorating, I think historically we think, okay, I need to decorate my home. Let me go to the furniture store. But really, the best way to go about changing things in your home and evaluating your home and deciding what you need to do is to look at how it functions. And so it’s going to function for three different types of people. One is just you like as the person making the changes. You kind of pay attention to how you use your home. You pay attention to how other people who live in your home are using it. And then you also pay attention to guests that are coming over. And so those are the three people to keep in mind the function of your home, the form.

So there’s always those two things that go hand-in-hand, what it looks like, and actually how it’s going to function. When you have your home in a competent place, when you feel like you have enough seating, enough surfaces, a house that feels like it’s ready, you have cups and plates and coffee mugs. You have a table to sit that on. When your home gets in a place where it feels – not finished because home’s never done. It’s an art. It’s fun to always be kind of evolving. But when your home is in a place where it feels ready for people, you can almost stop thinking about it.

And home becomes more of a partner with you to open it up and to have people over. And I’m a big proponent of “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” That’s the tagline of my first book. I believe in imperfections. I believe home was never meant to be a perfect place to impress people. But also, you can take that too far. Obviously, if you don’t have any furniture, if you don’t have any dishes, if you don’t have a refrigerator, it’s really hard to have people over. So we have to have some things. And so this book kind of meets you in the middle of like saying, listen, I know we all want a pretty home. I’ve never met a person that wants a pretty home so they can show off and impress someone. We want a pretty house so that we can use it. We almost want a pretty house – it sounds crazy – but so we can forget about it, so we can stop thinking about it, and enjoy it, open up the doors, have people over, get to know people, and use it up. Those are my people. Those are the people that I wrote this book for.

What’s the difference between entertaining and hospitality?

JA: You started to mention it here. So in Welcome Home, you say that most of us, we don’t really care about entertaining. We care about and crave hospitality. So can you explain a little bit about the difference between entertaining and hospitality?

JH: I like this question.

MS: I do too. I mean, when I hear the word entertaining. When you’re entertained, you sit back and watch a show. I picture someone like in an exotic outfit on a stage with tap shoes on doing jazz hands. Entertaining is about all eyes on one person as you zone out and watch them. And that is not hospitality at all. Hospitality is actually reversed. It’s all about the person who is being invited over. It’s about connecting with them.

It’s always a red flag to me if the hours before someone’s knocking on my door, I kind of take inventory. Where’s my mind right now? And if my mind is on, like, what am I going to wear? How does my house look? Am I going to burn this dinner? Are they going to like me? Oh, that is such a red flag. The ideal for your hosting mindset to be is thinking about the person coming over and thinking about that family and remembering like, “Oh, it was anyone lactose intolerant” or, “Oh, their baby just started preschool. I wonder how they’re feeling about that.” And getting in the mindset to be ready to connect, listen, ask great questions, learn more about your friends or the new people you’re meeting, or whatever it is. If it’s others-focused, you’re on the right track.

If it's others-focused, you're on the right track.

JA: Absolutely. Because at the end of the day, they’re not going to remember if there was still a sink full of dirty dishes because you didn’t get a chance to clean up after you made dinner for them. But they will remember how they felt in your house and those conversations you had with them.

MS: They absolutely will. We all know that, but sometimes it’s hard to truly believe that to a point where we’re willing to do that. And so one of the things that helps me and reminds me to believe that is for me, myself to think of times when I have experienced real hospitality, real connection in someone’s home. And thinking about what that looked like and what it felt like. And every single time, it was not a fancy house where they serve tea on China that I couldn’t break. No. It was always hanging out with someone in their lived-in and loved-on home, where they made time for me. They made coffee. We sat at the kitchen island, and we really connected over our imperfect lives and our imperfect circumstances. Imperfections actually really play a role in putting people at ease. And, and sometimes just for me to step back and remind myself like, “Oh yeah, that’s where I’ve experienced it.” And so I want to recreate that. And actually having an imperfect house is part of that. Perfections aren’t even the goal.

How do you focus on yourself when you’re hosting?

JH: And one thing that you’ve already kind of touched on, but you said it in your book, was that there’s three people that you need to consider when you host: your guests (which you’ve touched on), yourself, and your people. It’s easy to forget about yourself. How do you focus on yourself when you’re hosting?

MS: I know that can sound selfish. Like, “Well, you just say, you’re supposed to think about your guests.” But here’s the thing: I cannot focus on my guests if I am exhausted from a week of who knows what, especially if you’re an introvert. I’m an introvert, and so my people-exhaustion level might go up quicker than my husband’s, who’s an extrovert. So he wants to have people over every day after work. And so I have to pay attention to that and plan accordingly. And then also just putting myself in the right mindset. Thinking about maybe even like, if they’re coming for dinner, like maybe we’ll just order pizza, and I’ll make a salad, but I am not going to be putting myself in a frantic situation where I’m not burning the pepperoni and mixing all of these things where I need 20 hands so that I can impress with this big meal. I mean, I actually love to cook.

But I know that if I’m having people over, it can preoccupy my mind if I have lots of things going, and the goal is not to home cook everything; the goal is to enjoy our time together. And so I really stick to only letting myself make two things. Everything else is store-bought, or others brought, and we can enjoy our meal together. And so that’s how I kind of honor myself as the host because I had to remember my job is to connect with these people. My job is not to make sure they have the most amazing meal ever. I want to have a good meal. I love delicious food. But overall, if I’m not present, then nothing else matters.

JH: I love that rule because I subconsciously started doing that myself. And it really was because when I tried to make everything from scratch or too many dishes from scratch, then something or three things ended up going wrong. You know, like the consistency wasn’t right. It was watery. I burnt the meat, whatever. So I think that is a really good rule. And I’m going to be very conscious from now on sticking to that. Plus, if everything’s homemade, then nothing really gets to stand out as the star. Focus on the few things that you did make. One thing I’ve started doing is not making an appetizer, just doing a cheese plate, and that’s something I can make that morning, put it in the fridge, and it looks really cute. Just, you know, get some store-bought stuff.

MS: Absolutely. I fully believe in store-bought, Costco, and even picking up stuff from a restaurant and adding your homemade salad dressing.

JA: One of our favorite sayings is, “Yes, it’s made from scratch. I scratched the label off that box before you got here.”

MS: That’s good.

How does focusing on hospitality instead of entertaining change how we decorate?

JA: How does focusing on the hospitality aspect instead of entertaining change how we decorate our homes every season?

MS: I don’t know that it changes necessarily how we decorate. I think having a people-focused mindset, though, does take us from maybe checking ourselves and asking, “What is my goal here?” My goal is not perfection. My goal is not to have an impressive home. And I think maybe our mom’s generation, I’m probably a little older than you, but I think our mom’s generation had to deal with that a little bit more than us, but we might’ve caught that a little bit where like home was a place where the husband brings his boss home, and you impress him with hors d ‘oeuvres in the living room. And we’re moving away from that. But it really kind of reiterates that whole, like what is the purpose? When we start with the purpose. Purpose of our decor, the purpose of having people over. It really puts us on the right track. So if our purpose is having people over and having a cozy, welcoming home and being okay with imperfections. Well, man, that really changes the choices that you make when you’re decorating, when you’re buying furniture, when you’re shopping on Facebook Marketplace, and you see gorgeous leather chairs that may have some scratches on it, where you’re like, “Oh, well that just adds to the patina, and my lived-in and loved-on home.” As opposed to insisting on perfection.

And so I think it’s very freeing as you’re making those design choices. And then, as you’re making your seasonal choices. I mean, that’s just a whole other thing. I really work through the five senses with that and really let my visual decor kind of off the hook. When it came to seasons in the past, I used to feel like a stuff manager. Like, okay, I am organizing my stuff. I’m cleaning stuff. I’m losing stuff. I’m putting stuff in the garage. I’m washing stuff. It was all about, how am I managing my stuff? And then I became more of a cozy minimalist where I’m trying to get the most amount of style with the least amount of stuff. Now you would never walk in my house and say, “Oh, you’re a minimalist.” But I really do try to get the most bang for my buck so I can have less stuff in my house.

The clutter just drives me crazy. Even though right now in my life, I actually have a lot of clutter in my house. And I think that’s just how home is. There are seasons, and there are tensions. Sometimes we need less stuff in our lives, and sometimes we need more stuff in our life. But I’m a cozy minimalist decorating for the seasons. I used to 100% rely on those visual things. You know, you go to Hobby Lobby, and you’re like, “Let me get all the fall stuff.” Then you have to pack it up in the bins. And I just finally was kind of over that and challenged myself to decorate for fall and create a fall home without so much relying on store-bought plastic decor that I would have to pack away. And it’s still beautiful. There’s still so many beautiful things.

I just didn’t want to have to do that. And if you work through the five senses and kind of layer your home with a seasonal scent and a seasonal playlist and textures that feel like they’re in keeping with the season, foods that are right for the season, suddenly your homes seem very full of what is happening outside without even adding chotchkies or pumpkins or Santa Clauses or whatever it is. And of course, then I’ll add that extra layer on top. But I find that I’m not relying on the visual decor to carry the whole burden of the season that way.

JA: I love that because I mean, the outside’s already decorated for the season because that’s how we know it is that season. And so to bring those elements in so that your house, it feels very natural.

JH: It’s really for anyone listening, if you do not follow Myquillyn on Instagram, you need to quickly go over to your Instagram app and look up @thenester because her home is beautiful. And the visual I feel like is great. Just look at her pictures and then listen to this interview, okay.

How do you decorate with audio?

JH: Getting into the five senses because that was something that I just loved. With the scents, it really is nostalgic. Like I’ve read that it’s in a different part of your brain that’s by your memories or whatever. What about audio? So do you have like a recommendation for a playlist or anything like that?

MS: I know I’m crazy about this. It’s so fun, though. I think we should all have a playlist for every season. So I have a playlist for the four seasons. I talk about this in the book, but to me, Christmas is not a season. Christmas is a celebration, and so if you decorate for winter, then as Christmas comes closer, you can decorate for Christmas as well. So I always add a Christmas layer, but winter lasts me for like the whole winter season. So I might still have my furry throw pillows out, the same ones I had, you know, on December 12th, I can use those on February 14th, and it’s fine. So thinking more longterm and seasonal has really cut down on the amount of Christmas decor that I need. But as far as the playlist, I have a Christmas playlist as well. So I’ll listen to that.

But my winter playlist is music that feels right, and it feels right for the season, whether I listen to it on December 1st or if I listen to it on March 1st. And so I think it’s really helpful to have that. And then I also have a Welcome Home playlist, and it’s for when you’re having people over, and you want to have some music in the background, but maybe not words. And I give all my playlists away actually for anyone that pre-orders the book. I like to give away stuff just as a thank you. If you feel like this book is right for you and you want it, then I want to give you access to all my playlists. We have a Welcome Home Prep School. I’ll make sure you guys have access to that as well. But in that, it’s got all the playlists. And so it’s a good jumping-off point. You might have the same taste as me, and you might like my playlist, or you might listen to it sometimes. I think the most helpful thing is like, when you find something that someone likes, you’re like, “I hate that. I’m going to go make my own.” Make your own; more power to you. You might listen to my playlist and feel like this is junk, but it probably will motivate you to create your own. Every now and then, I hear a song that I heard in high school in the summer, and it takes me right back to like summer.

That’s what music does. It’s so powerful. Just like the scent that you were talking about. When you create a playlist, a seasonal playlist that you play every summer, you play every spring or winter; it begins to take you back. And even with your kids and your family, they’re going to grow up and hear those songs later. It’s going to take them back home. It’s going to take them back to their backyard in the summer, around the fire, and the winter or whatever it is has such power. So I found a lot of joy in creating those playlists. And of course, it’s personal to me, but I think you guys would love that too if you don’t already do it. And a part of the seasonal supplies is okay, so if you’re going to create a playlist, do you have a way to listen to music in your house? A lot of us have that seasonal decor, like, “Well, I have 12 wreaths, one for every month on my door.” But do you have a bread knife? Do you have a way to serve a cheese board? Thinking about things that kind of support the season, a lot of us are missing and maybe don’t allow ourselves to buy the pretty candlesticks that we can use all year round or just things like that that actually can really serve us very well.

JH: Well, I’m excited about your playlist because I’m nosy. And in college, I managed a boutique, and my favorite thing was adding seasonal songs. We had one playlist that always went, but then we would add in like every third song would be something seasonal. And like, even for Thanksgiving, it had songs about like green beans and stuff. It’s fun, I’m excited. I’m nosy. And I know our listeners are too.

MS: It’s true that you get a sense of someone. It’s like looking at the living room; you kind of get a feel.

JA: Absolutely. So this next question is mostly just because we’re very curious. In your section on summer, you talked about recreation versus amusement when thinking about decor, and that’s something we would maybe think about as like function versus fashion. But when you’re talking about throw pillows, you mentioned that the anchor pillow in the corner of your sofa should be 24 inches. How did you come to that measurement?

MS: Well, I’ll tell you. Sometimes when you’re writing a book, well, every time. You’re fine, you’re done. And you give it to your editor, and they start asking questions. And so when I wrote that, I was like, your anchor pillows should be the largest pillow; it should be larger. And so I really appreciate it when someone like my editor, her name is Carolyn, she’s wonderful. But she’s not someone who’s super into decorating. She has a pretty house, but she was like, “Well, I need more information. How big?” And so what I’ve learned too, is my idea of saying a big pillow. You know, if I say that to someone, I might go to their house, and they’re like, look, I bought the biggest pillow of my life is 10 inches large. Well, that actually isn’t a large pillow. And so I am really grateful for people in my life who say, you know, you need to be specific with that. So it can be 26 inches, it can be 21 inches.

A lot of people have never even bought the right size pillow or a large pillow. It’s to kind of give a guideline of like, hold your hand out to two feet wide. It’s kind of big. And so it helps you realize like, “Oh, this is like a little bit of a larger pillow than maybe I’m used to buying at Target.” That’s why it’s an anchor pillow. So if you have a big, huge sofa. Our sofas are eight feet long. And if you’re putting a little tiny little 12-inch pillow there, it’s going to get lost. And that’s why your pillows aren’t looking good on your sofa. And so that was really my editor helping me be specific. So it’s okay if you have a 20-inch pillow, it’s okay if it’s 26 inches, but in general, I really want you to go big. And most of us in our homes, we tend to buy everything way too small. Our chotchkies are too small. Our artwork is too small. Our pillows are too small. Our rugs are too small, and our drapes are the wrong size.

JH: I love that. And then when you do have that nice statement piece, then that’s all you need. And I just love that. I’m a very Type A personality, so I’m going to get exactly 24 inches.

MS: Well, I’m coming over with my measuring tape.

JH: Good, good. I want you to.

What’s one thing you want readers to take away from Welcome Home?

JA: So I think our last question to wrap this up is if a reader can take just one thing away from Welcome Home, what would you want that to be?

MS: I think I would want that to be: when it comes to seasonal decor, of course, you can go shopping in the stores and buy beautiful store-bought decor, but there is another way. And by watching what creation does, watching what’s happening in your own backyard, whether you’re living in Florida or Minnesota, it can kind of give a nod to how we can bring the seasons into our home and approach it more like a creator than a consumer. And it is so enjoyable and so fun and doesn’t require any bins.

by watching what's happening in our own backyards, we can bring the seasons into our homes.

JH: And this will be going live on September 15th, which is the day that your book comes out. So everyone can go and order it today. Myquillyn, where can they find you off air? So I already said @thenester, and do you have a website?

MS: I do,, it’s going to have all kinds of links. When it’s not a pandemic, we host events. I just want to have a whole internet over to my house. We have a festival every year. I have weekend workshops. I do online classes. I have a community, all kinds of stuff like that. But I just want to encourage women in their home, whatever that takes. And I love to open up my home to do that. So I would love to open up and be hospitable to you, whether it’s virtually or maybe one day in real life.

JH: I know, hopefully. We loved your book tour last time. So if you can do it again next year, we’ll be there, masks and all. Jackie and I both decided that we need you, maybe you’ll have to partner with a fashion-focused person, but to come out with a capsule wardrobe book because your books have helped both of us with our home decor. And we need someone to help us edit our clothing. So think about it.

MS: Wouldn’t that be so fun? Don’t you miss clothes? I miss clothes and shoes so bad.

JA: We were talking about that before you came on, but I want to buy clothes, but I don’t because I’m just in gym clothes all the time.

MS: Right! Like dresses. Remember dresses?

JH: Jackie, it’s dangerous. Get out of the leggings. Make sure the jeans still fit.

JA: They did last time I checked, so we’re good.

JH: Thank you so much, Myquillyn!

MS: This was so much fun!

JA: Thank you guys so much for listening today. We hope that you enjoyed this interview as much as we did. We always love talking to Myquillyn, and as always, you can find us on Instagram @themillennialhomemakers. You can find me @jvalexander16 and Jaclyn @jaclynhumble.

JH: Thanks for listening, y’all. Talk to you next week.