Monday, February 22, 2010

Being a Good Neighbor

As a Lifestylist, giving back is something I really believe in. I was in a board meeting the other day at HomeAid and was hearing about a special project that some of our board members did for an injured veteran. To them helping others isn't about "getting credit" it's just the right thing to do.

I found this quote on the Rent-A-Center Community page: "At the crossroads of sharing, caring and compassion is Community. It's a place where people come together with a common goal, to contribute resources and ideas in uncommonly generous and inspired ways. In a Community, compassion just comes with the territory whether that territory's a small town, a big city, or a gathering spot that's borders are only virtual. A Community is a place where no one is meant to go without and everyone belongs"

Rent-A-Center is very much this way, and I'm just beginning to find out how much so. When I travel coast to coast I've seen their stores and they are often in my neighborhood delivering. I've also seen their ads with their new spokesperson Troy Aikman so they were on my radar - great service and lots of value. But when I really took notice is when HomeAid needed some help and Rent-A-Center was the first to step up. And they are the strong silent type - not asking for their logos everywhere or even a mention - just doing it because it's the right thing to do. When a project was having problems keeping the utilities on because the homeowner couldn't afford the bill I saw someone with Rent-A-Center take the needed funds from his own pocket and help out without a word being said.

That intrigued me enough to do some research and I am blown away with how much Rent-A-Center gives back. Besides being a sponsor for the HomeAid Fairway to Haven Golf tournament, they also are very active with Feeding America, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, have their own Make a Difference Scholarship program and much more. Check out their RACommunity page for details on how they get involved on a national level and in the neighborhoods they are a part of.

Being a good neighbor is about doing the right thing no matter how large or small (or random) that act of kindness might be. If we all just did one small thing for a neighbor or a complete stranger every day, think about what a different place the world could be!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Falling in Love

Using color is one of the least expensive, most terrifying but also most rewarding ways to change a room. When I'm designing a new model home most builders will encourage me to use memorable colors, but when they first paint the room and see it without any accessories or furniture I often get a call wondering if they have the right information.

These rooms are a perfect example. You can imagine the call the builder got from the superintendent the first time they saw these! This is a model for Canoa Homes in Tucson, and they trusted me enough to wait and see what happened. This is also a great example of designing for your buyer, not yourself - we were targeting families with school age children. A Lifestylist targets in on what the buyer is really looking for, even when they may not realize it themselves.Once we had a few families go through the home we found that almost every female from 2 - 50 wanted that room with those paint colors. It was something the buyer might not have been brave enough to try on their own, but when they saw it completed they loved it.

This is also a great example of Partnership Merchandising. The Home Idea Factory had a great relationship with Home Interiors and Gifts - a direct sell company that we had done styling and product development with. Many of the accessories and "wallies" - the decals on the bath wall - we theirs and we identified them as such so buyers could reproduce what they saw in the room at a price they could afford. The bedding was from Bombay and the furniture from Ashley so all could be bought at local stores or from a Home Interiors and Gifts consultant.

Let your child have a say in what they want their room to look like. It might not be a color you would chose or a style you would like but by letting them be a part of the decorating decision they'll take ownership of their decisions and be even more proud of what they accomplished.

Happy Valentines Day from all of us at The Home Idea Factory!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Night Lights

What a crazy week in Dallas! This town is all about the NBA All Star Game which is this weekend, but mother nature decided to steal the show and dusted us with over a ft. of snow!

The is the largest amount we ever had so we decided to take advantage of it and declared a snow day. The Lifestylists were all out playing in it trying to outdo each other with snowball fights and snow sculptures and when it got dark out I realized I had the opportunity of a lifetime to get some really unique shots of the Home Idea Factory. Fortunately I share the factory with the very talented Lisa Stewart of L.a.S. Photography and we headed out to see what we could find. After she used her magic and skills I love what we ended up with, and to me these really capture the personality of what The Home Idea Factory is all about - Your Life. Your Style. Your Way.

Night Lights

What a crazy week in Dallas! This town is all about the NBA All Star Game which is this weekend, but mother nature decided to steal the show and dusted us with over a ft. of snow!

The is the largest amount we ever had so we decided to take advantage of it and declared a snow day. The Lifestylists were all out playing in it trying to outdo each other with snowball fights and snow sculptures and when it got dark out I realized I had the opportunity of a lifetime to get some really unique shots of the Home Idea Factory. Fortunately I share the factory with the very talented Lisa Stewart of L.a.S. Photography and we headed out to see what we could find. After she used her magic and skills I love what we ended up with, and to me these really capture the personality of what The Home Idea Factory is all about - Your Life. Your Style. Your Way.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Day!

Our Texas rescue babies aren't sure what to make of this white stuff, but they sure are having fun in it. We have "pods" that we put out for the feral cats to keep them warm, and they get soft food as a treat on days like to day. Yes they are absolutely spoiled and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It's Time for Savor Dallas

In less than a month one of my favorite events will be in Dallas again - the 6th annual Savor Dallas celebration of wine, food, spirits and the arts. I have gone every year, and it's something I'm always looking forward to. Savor Dallas is a unique opportunity where you get to meet the chefs and wine makers one on one and really hear what makes what they do so special.

This year as part of the marketing services that Lifestylist Design offers we can help you have this experience tailored to suit the needs of you and your guests. Our concierge service can help create an experience that you'll never forget. Be sure to put March 5th and 6th on your calendar and join us!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Memorable Model Homes

Noted designer and retailer Alexander Julian made the following observation:
“We have to be creative about getting people into our homes and stores now. In deciding if what you offer turns them on, consumers look you over for an average of 15 seconds. In that time, you need to rock ‘em and sock‘em and give them something that moves them. And you can’t do that with anything but product that is visually stimulating and exciting.”

With the contraction of the economy, everyone is on a budget and there is a lot more thought and time spent on how they are going to spend every hard earned dollar. Consumers visiting an average of 30 model homes before they even begin to think about making a decision. What makes your models memorable and brings them back to your sales center/ community? One of the favorite models Lifestylist Design worked on was the Purple Cow model and campaign with Patriot Homes. Tying into Seth Godin’s Purple Cow book by building and merchandising something remarkable, we created a home and marketing campaign people still talk about, as well as winning a marketing award at the Nationals.

Making a model memorable doesn't have to be extreme or expensive - it just needs to be well thought out. Highlighting a local non-profit can bring interest into your home. Doing a room that displays materials from the local Boy Scout troop, a gymnastics team or the aquatic center that is part of the planned community you are building in can give the buyer a memory point to make them remember your model above the rest.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Jr Lifestylists that Cook

Few things are as satisfying to me as helping kids explore the culinary world. You can see how excited they get when they learn they can make and bake things themselves and the more they learn, the more they want to try. I've seen it time and time again where a child will eat things that they made themselves but you couldn't force them to try it if someone else was the chef.
I just got back from spending a wonderful weekend with my grandchildren and I was able to help Jenna plan her 8th birthday. She had very specific ideas about what she wanted to do, and my job was to execute all of the things that she imagined. Her brother decided he wanted chocolate instead of a white cake, so we compromised  and had chocolate cupcakes and a white birthday cake. When I went to the grocery store to get the ingredients I realized it would be much less expensive and just as easy to make the cakes from scratch. If you are looking for a recipe for a specific ingredient, check out the package or their website -the company is only going to share recipes that put their products in the best light so this is a great place to start. I didn't have recipes with me so I checked out the back of the Hershey's Cocoa box and there were recipes for chocolate frosting and cakes. Their grandpa has always made a wonderful butter cream icing that is a family favorite so we went with that for the birthday cake. Jenna will also never let me live down the fact that I misspelled "birthday" - that's a story she'll be telling for a long time!
The kids were so proud of what they were able to accomplish, and the chocolate recipes were fantastic - I think some of the best I've ever had. Jenna wanted a pet themed party, and that's what she got.
Don't underestimate the skills and interest of your culinary kids. Even when things don't turn out exactly as planned you can still create memories and recipes that can last a lifetime.