Wednesday, December 31, 2008

This City Lifestylist's Resolutions for 2009

One of my favorite things about starting a New Year is being able to leave this year behind and look forward with optimism and a renewed set of goals. True, this shouldn’t be something that happens just once a year, but it’s a great time to really focus on what you want your new year to hold.

Below is a recap on what I think 2009 will hold - I’ll go into more detail as the year progresses, and change these as the world changes I’m sure in ways we could have never expected. Happy 2009 from your favorite Lifestylist® !

Your Life - Your Style
Make this the year that you break out of the stereotypes about how you should live and dress and do it your way. Paint your walls purple, embrace that favorite sweater - if it makes you happy and enables you to feel better about yourself, go for it!

Save a Life
One of the best things I ever did was start rescuing animals. We now have quite a menagerie, but they bring so much joy and happiness into my life, I can’t imagine what my life would be without them. When you have a really rotten day, nothing makes you feel better than having your furry friend curl up in your lap and make it all better.

Attitude is Everything
I predict that 2009 is going to be the year where people really start taking a hard look about how they spend their very hard-earned money and start supporting local businesses and rewarding places and individuals that offer superior customer service and make you feel like your patronage is appreciated.

Re-Purpose and Save the Planet

This year I’m going to be very careful about how I spend every dollar, and I’m already making decisions on how badly I really need something. So many times it’s just easier to go out and buy what you need instead of putting the thought into how you can use what you already have to serve that purpose. This year is going to be about less disposable things and more recycling. Not only will I save some money, I’l also help save the planet!

Playing Dress Up
We are turning into a very casual society in dress and in the way we live. In many ways this is a good thing, but every once in awhile it’s a great idea to put on that dress, host a tea party or bring out that good china. I found a great company - lia sophia - that sells jewelry that is unique and well priced. My daughter introduced me to them, and I loved what they offered so much I have begun selling their line myself! Working out of the house makes it too easy to dress down every day, and so now that I am involved with lia sophia I make a conscious decision to wear my jewelry every time I go out, whether it’s to the grocery store or to a client meeting. I get so many compliments on it my self-esteem has been boosted and the day is much brighter.

Hang Ups
I love art - especially art by someone I’ve had the pleasure of meeting or has been picked up on a trip. Living in The Idea Factory means that I have very solid cement block walls, and because of this I’ve put off hanging most of my artwork. Art is very personal for me, and today I’m going to start putting a few holes in my walls so I can be surrounded with the color and memories that make me very happy.

Organize Your Digital Life

Have you noticed that the external hard drive is becoming the new catch-all? I’m realizing that I have tens of thousands of images and articles, but when I’m looking for that one that I need it’s never anywhere to be found. The start of a new year is the perfect time to evaluate what you need and how you store it. Take the time to remove the clutter on your desktop and put the things that you need right where you can find them. For those lucky Mac owners, the Apple stores are a great resource for getting your live moving in the right direction. It’s more important than ever to work smart and manage your time wisely.

Shake Things Up a Little

Do you feel like you are in a rut? I know I have lately - with all of the gloom and doom in the news about the economy and the other craziness out there maybe it’s time to jump out of that comfort zone and try something different for a change. I’ve been spending way too much time reading and worrying and I decided it was time to plug in the Wii fit I bought 6 months ago. I love it! It’s making me get out of my desk chair and literally breathe. Doing a little bit of exercise every day has renewed my spirit and now I’m ready to take on some new challenges.


Giving Thanks

Saying thank-you or letting someone know about exceptional service doesn’t cost a dime but can have great rewards to the person who bestowed great service on you. The next time someone goes out of their way to be gracious or helpful be sure to let them know you appreciate their help and when possible let their superiors know of their good deeds as well.

Family First
With all of the insecurity in the World right now, make suer to take time for family and remember what’s really important. A great dinner and evening at home can be priceless.

The City Lifestylist's Resolutions for 2009

One of my favorite things about starting a New Year is being able to leave this year behind and look forward with optimism and a renewed set of goals. True, this shouldn’t be something that happens just once a year, but it’s a great time to really focus on what you want your new year to hold.

Below is a recap on what I think 2009 will hold - I’ll go into more detail as the year progresses, and change these as the world changes I’m sure in ways we could have never expected. Happy 2009 from your favorite Lifestylist® !

purple-cow-007Your Life - Your Style
Make this the year that you break out of the stereotypes about how you should live and dress and do it your way. Paint your walls purple, embrace that favorite sweater - if it makes you happy and enables you to feel better about yourself, go for it!

Save a Life
One of the best things I ever did was start rescuing animals. We now have quite a menagerie, but they bring so much joy and happiness into my life, I can’t imagine what my life would be without them. When you have a really rotten day, nothing makes you feel better than having your furry friend curl up in your lap and make it all better.

daisy-webAttitude is Everything
I predict that 2009 is going to be the year where people really start taking a hard look about how they spend their very hard-earned money and start supporting local businesses and rewarding places and individuals that offer superior customer service and make you feel like your patronage is appreciated.

Re-Purpose and Save the Planet
This year I’m going to be very careful about how I spend every dollar, and I’m already making decisions on how badly I really need something. So many times it’s just easier to go out and buy what you need instead of putting the thought into how you can use what you already have to serve that purpose. This year is going to be about less disposable things and more recycling. Not only will I save some money, I’ll also help save the planet!

Playing Dress Up
We are turning into a very casual society in dress and in the way we live. In many ways this is a good thing, but every once in awhile it’s a great idea to put on that dress, host a tea party or bring out that good china. I found a great company - lia sophia - that sells jewelry that is unique and well priced. My daughter introduced me to them, and I loved what they offered so much I have begun selling their line myself! Working out of the house makes it too easy to dress down every day, and so now that I am involved with lia sophia I make a conscious decision to wear my jewelry every time I go out, whether it’s to the grocery store or to a client meeting. I get so many compliments on it my self-esteem has been boosted and the day is much brighter.

canoa-art-wall-262Hang Ups
I love art - especially art by someone I’ve had the pleasure of meeting or has been picked up on a trip. Living in The Idea Factory means that I have very solid cement block walls, and because of this I’ve put off hanging most of my artwork. Art is very personal for me, and today I’m going to start putting a few holes in my walls so I can be surrounded with the color and memories that make me very happy.

Organize Your Digital Life
Have you noticed that the external hard drive is becoming the new catch-all? I’m realizing that I have tens of thousands of images and articles, but when I’m looking for that one that I need it’s never anywhere to be found. The start of a new year is the perfect time to evaluate what you need and how you store it. Take the time to remove the clutter on your desktop and put the things that you need right where you can find them. For those lucky Mac owners, the Apple stores are a great resource for getting your live moving in the right direction. It’s more important than ever to work smart and manage your time wisely.

Shake Things Up a Little
Do you feel like you are in a rut? I know I have lately - with all of the gloom and doom in the news about the economy and the other craziness out there maybe it’s time to jump out of that comfort zone and try something different for a change. I’ve been spending way too much time reading and worrying and I decided it was time to plug in the Wii fit I bought 6 months ago. I love it! It’s making me get out of my desk chair and literally breathe. Doing a little bit of exercise every day has renewed my spirit and now I’m ready to take on some new challenges.

Giving Thanks
Saying thank-you or letting someone know about exceptional service doesn’t cost a dime but can have great rewards to the person who bestowed great service on you. The next time someone goes out of their way to be gracious or helpful be sure to let them know you appreciate their help and when possible let their superiors know of their good deeds as well.

Family First
With all of the insecurity in the World right now, make suer to take time for family and remember what’s really important. A great dinner and evening at home can be priceless.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Great Things Can Come in Small Packages

There has been a lot of press about housing footprints becoming smaller, and a recent article that I found in the New York Times backs up the fact that this type of home is here to stay.

Smaller homes are ideal for vacation housing as well as for just a getaway in your own back yard. "Casitas" are a very popular item in the Southwest and many new home builders offer them as an option in their communities. With gas prices soaring, many people who were entranced by the "Go RV'ing" movement are now seeing this type of housing as a better alternative for their winter journeys.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Buying Local


The most important part of being a Lifestylist is listening. There is always a trend evolving just around the corner from us - we just have to be open to seeing, hearing, and embracing what's out there.

There is starting to be a lot of talk about "buying local" and this is one of the most promising trends I've seen and heard about in years. Finally people are understand that going "semi-homemade" by using over processed, expensive ingredients that might even be from a foreign country may not be the best thing for our health. Not only that but this concept in the long run tends to be more expensive and lacks the taste and nutrition that can be gained by eating locally grown or cooked produce, baked goods, cheeses.... any thing we put into our mouths.

Almost every town has a Farmers Market, and this is a great place to buy right from the farm. The freshness is amazing, the costs are usually more reasonable and you are helping to stimulate the local economy and your senses.If a farmers market isn't an option, check with your local supermarket and encourage them to not only buy from local farmers, but to identify which products are purchased and grown locally. Wegmans, my favorite grocery store based in Rochester, NY is a great example and I know if I purchase something there it is going to be the freshest available, and they do identify the various farms on many items.

Restaurants are also starting to key in on this trend. Three restaurants that I have gone into the last week or so including one takeout restaurant clearly identified which ingredients were produced locally. We are fortunate to have on of the best cheesemakers in the country here in Dallas and I'll always purchase any item with cheeses made with Paula Lambert's cheeses first - I know I'll be enjoying something worth every calorie.

People are what make or break a trend - the next time you are out hunting for something to eat, support your local economy first and make a difference.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Home is the Most Important Place in the World

I am crazy about IKEA’s new ad campaign - Home is the Most Important Place in the World, especially since it is exactly what I believe, build my life and my business around. The photography of the campaign as always is spectacular, and love that some of the images are of “trailers”.

So besides the possibility of it being someone’s most important place in the world, what is a trailer? My definition is that it’s probably one of the most misused terms in regards to housing, and technically describes a recreational vehicle more than a manufactured home. Today's manufactured housing is not made to be moved once it is in place, and should be set on a permanent foundation.

Trailer parks and house trailers became popular in the 1950’s when people who’s lifestyles were more mobile were looking for a way to take their homes with them. A hybrid of a travel trailer, these original units were inexpensive and in 1956 technology made it possible to build a 10ft wide unit offering the homeowner more space, and making the unit more spacious for spending longer periods of time in. A “trailer” was typically a home that could be pulled buy a car or truck, but the mobile homes that became popular in the 60’s had to be pulled by a professional truck company.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The winds of Katrina brought a new version of the trailer into our lives - the FEMA trailer. They were everywhere in the news, and it was our government’s answer on how to house the people who had lost their homes. The manufactured housing and recreational vehicle companies stepped up and did everything possible to provide the homes - it was a time in my life I’ll never forget. I worked with Patriot Homes to furnish 2,500 homes, and I only hope that whoever received them is enjoying them.

Now two years later there is a lot of discussion about Formaldehyde in the FEMA trailers, but the homes that they are discussing aren’t to my knowledge the manufactured homes, but the recreational vehicles. Just another example of how much difference a name can make.

I love trailers - that’s why I’m the Trailer Diva. But my idea of the ultimate trailer is an Aluminum bullet from the 60’s that I have lovingly restored, not a manufactured home. My dream manufactured home will be the one that is on some land in Arizona - stay tuned!

My Name is Sam

I’ve had some really frustrating technology days lately -because I had to have an iPhone (which I love) I’m using AT&T for my internet provider and other services. To say there customer service is non-existent is an understatement - I’ve been waiting here all day for a tech guy to come and fix my service yet again. The appointment was for 8am and still no calls or tech.

I’m getting better at fixing things myself - a skill that I have no interest in but it’s out of necessity, and after messing with things for awhile I realized my new modem isn’t working. Funny - the old one that they told me wasn’t working started right up when I tried it so we seem to have a temporary solution, but now my brand new HP printer refuses to work.

The logical next step seemed to be to go to the HP website and see if I could find a solution, no luck there so I called the 800 customer service number. After having to call back 15 times because when I talked to “Sam” - each time a different person and each time “Sam” either couldn’t comprehend English or I got disconnected, I realized that HP really wasn’t interested in keeping me as a customer and that Sam must have been the code word for “we’ll just string them along until they get tired of calling.”

I’ll never buy another HP product and will use them as an example of how lack of customer service can kill a company. How you treat your customers after the sale is as important as the product or service you are providing, and a bad experience can undermine all of the things that you are doing right. The next time you are in the market for something, keep in mind how you will be treated after the purchase and if their customer support is handled locally or farmed out overseas.

It's a Kodak World

Sometimes things just happen for a reason, and today was one of those days. A perfect Spring day with colors that in Texas we only get to enjoy a few weeks a year, my Homearama house that I'm designing for @Home Builders just keeps getting better, and there was a great article about Kodak and the digital age in the NY Times.

I was busy updating one of my blogs last night and came across an entry that I had written about Hewlett Packard and my frustration with the printers I had purchased from them and their disinterest in customers, customer service and the quality of their product. Hey - they are HP and they own the market - why should they care?

So here is the story about Kodak and how they are really focusing their business to compete in the digital age and I couldn't agree more. Here is a company that understands what customers look to them for - images - and they are taking that into new areas that they haven't been competitive in before. It was a eureka moment for me - my point and shoot digital camera is a Kodak that I turned my camera snobby nose up at when it was recommended to me and now I can't imagine life without it. This Lifestylist® is going to turn these five lousy expensive HP printers that I got talked into and that"Sam" can't seem to get to work into planters and go out to check out a brand that is as all American as the town that it is headquartered in.

Vacationing at Home

With gas prices what they are, why not invest your vacation dollars into your own backyard? Prices have dropped on many items that can make your own home into a resort, and it’s a vacation your family can then enjoy all year long.

This home features a spectacular indoor / outdoor fireplace that is beautiful as well as functional. By screening in the porch area and using pavers for the flooring this will end up being one of the most used rooms in the house. The furniture was a vintage set that was taken to an auto body company and painted using auto paint. The result is one that will last for years and is very cost-effective. To tie into current color trends we went to Pier1 Imports and found some great colorful cushions and an outdoor area rug to complete the look.

Manufactured Housing is also tapping into the outdoor living trend, and Patriot Homes now offers some new models that come complete with outdoor areas that are ready to go as soon as the homes are delivered. Patriot Homes of Alabama showcased two homes at the Tunica show this year - one with a screened porch area that was large enough to house a bar and seating area, and another with a built-in sink and prep area, covered porch and optional grill. This area could have an additional deck area added on-site, but as offered there is lots of room for even the largest parties.

When considering an outdoor oasis of your own, keep in mind the following considerations:
*Utilities: Be sure that you have adequate water, electrical and gas if you'll need it for your new area. If this is something you'll have to add it can really drive up the costs.
*Screening: If you are in an area that tends to have lots of bugs you may want to think about screening in your new area to make it more comfortable all year long.
*Size Matters: Be sure when you are planing your space that there is room for whatever seating you plan on using as well as room to walk around. One of the mistakes I see the most is porches that aren't wide enough when you add traditional seating.

Sadly traveling especially flying is no longer the enjoyable experience it used to be, so relieve the stress and enjoy your own back yard.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Lifestylist Design - It's all about You

Happy Memorial Day! This was a wonderful family filled one for me - I drove up to Oklahoma City to spend the day with my parents, sisters, and their families.

This month I've been very busy doing model homes across the country for Patriot, and also working on my new Lifestylist Design products that will be launching in January. It's been really exciting to see the Lifestylist program come full circle, and to see how people have embraced the concept and made it their own.

My sister is the perfect example of what Lifestylist Design is all about. It should be about you - your life, your loves, your discoveries, not some designer or other persons interpretation of how they think you should live. I was finally able to get up here to see the new home that she and her family have been working on, and it's spectacular! And the best thing about it is that when I walk in the home, or even when I drive up to the home there is no question that this is an active outgoing family who loves life and are individuals. From the start my sister refused to get "typecast" into a specific style or theme. Instead she incorporated things that they saw on various trips, items that were gifts on very special occasions, and was wise enough to encourage her subcontractors to be partners with her on this journey. The result is a marriage of craftsmanship and character that will never be replicated the same way again, just as my sister is a one of a kind.

"Rules" are meant to be broken, especially in the design world. The next time someone tells you what you can or can't do with your home tell them that you practice the Lifestylist Design philosophy where what you love is never put in question.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Lifestylist Design - It's All about You

Happy Memorial Day! This was a wonderful family filled one for me - I drove up to Oklahoma City to spend the day with my parents, sisters, and their families.

This month I've been very busy doing model homes across the country for Patriot, and also working on my new Lifestylist Design products that will be launching in January. It's been really exciting to see the Lifestylist program come full circle, and to see how people have embraced the concept and made it their own.

My sister is the perfect example of what Lifestylist Design is all about. It should be about you - your life, your loves, your discoveries, not some designer or other persons interpretation of how they think you should live. I was finally able to get up here to see the new home that she and her family have been working on, and it's spectacular! And the best thing about it is that when I walk in the home, or even when I drive up to the home there is no question that this is an active outgoing family who loves life and are individuals. From the start my sister refused to get "typecast" into a specific style or theme. Instead she incorporated things that they saw on various trips, items that were gifts on very special occasions, and was wise enough to encourage her subcontractors to be partners with her on this journey. The result is a marriage of craftsmanship and character that will never be replicated the same way again, just as my sister is a one of a kind.

"Rules" are meant to be broken, especially in the design world. The next time someone tells you what you can or can't do with your home tell them that you practice the Lifestylist Design philosophy where what you love is never put in question.