Friday, January 25, 2013

How OXO is Protecting Their Brand

OXO Spinner 5It's just not easy doing business these days. Even when you constantly try and do the right thing, play by the rules, do everything you can to make the world a better place and treat your customers and employees like you would like to be treated, someone comes along and attacks everything you have worked so hard for.

OXO, a wonderful, ethical company that is known for it's ingenious products and ideas sent me an email today about a competitor that is accusing them of stealing a product idea and proceeded to put up a billboard stating these charges 2 blocks from the OXO corporate office. The CEO of Quirky - Ben Kaufman then staged a picket line outside of OXO to draw attention to their charges.

I guess they didn't realize that OXO doesn't only have smart designs, they are also really smart about marketing and intellectual property. They have been very supportive of the blogger community and came to us with the facts on this matter - all very well researched and stated.

It turns out that Quirky never went to OXO to voice their concerns and allegations even though the companies are within blocks of each other in NYC. When the President of OXO Alex Lee met with Quirky CEO in 2012 about product design and innovation Lee asked Kaufman "what steps Quirky took to protect the intellectual property (IP) of this broad community when inventors submit their idea in an open and public forum". Kaufman responded "Nothing. Speed to market is our best protection."

Almost every day I find another person or company that is using my trademarked term Lifestylist®. I spent a lot of time and money almost 15 years ago to trademark the term because I believed in it and wanted to protect it in the right way - legally. I've trademarked other terms and uses since then and it amazes me how many people never search the US Patent and Trademark records to see if a term they want to use is trademarked before they tie it to their brand.

So I am going to do for OXO what I hope other people will do for me. I'm going to share the OXO story, and I'm going to buy their products and support their brand. How we spend our hard earned dollars is the easiest way to let a company know what you think about their business practices and products. Up until now I have never heard of Quirky, but in the future I won't be spending a dime on any of their products just on principle.

OXO did a beautiful job of addressing this issue in social media and it is well worth reading. And leave it to them to change this into a positive - they are offering to give a "Patent Process Primer" to anyone interested so you can learn the correct way to protect your own intellectual property.

It's really easy for anyone to write anything these days whether it's right or wrong, and the responsibility of the blogging and social media community to bring to light injustices such as this. I really appreciate OXO sharing this important lesson with all of us and showing us how to protect our own intellectual property.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Conquering The Fear of Cooking

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I'm always amazed how many people are afraid to cook. They think they don't have the skills or the knowledge to put together a meal so they depend on eating out, take out and convenience foods.

Last week we were invited to visit the spectacular new Thermador Culinary Experience in California. Not only are there beautiful kitchens displayed with the cool new products that Thermador offers, it also has working kitchens where Chef Kyle will help you experience first hand what a difference these appliances can make in creating your own culinary creations.

Being a Lifestylist® is all about Life Celebrating Style, and we love being in the kitchen and sharing that time with friends and family. When we got ready to prepare our lunch in the Culinary Center they asked us to pair up with someone. Holly said that she would love to cook with me, but she didn't know how to cook.

Holly and I looked at the recipe for Pecan Pie and we jumped right in. We quickly realized how much easier it is to cook with the right appliances and tools, and working together our pies were in the oven in no time! By the time lunch was over, Holly no longer was afraid of cooking and she couldn't wait to share her new culinary skills with her daughter and family.

Cooking should be a labor of love, and it can be lots of fun to spend time in the kitchen. Try taking a cooking class with friends and I think you might be surprised how much you might begin to enjoy spending time in the kitchen.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Dishing Up a Great Breakfast at The Original Pancake House

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It's so nice to find a restaurant that not only has great food for the adults, but they also provide ways to keep the kids busy so you can enjoy your meal.

The Original Pancake Houses in the Dallas Ft. Worth area are those places. We went for brunch today and even though it was busy and had a long wait, adults enjoyed some of the best coffee I've had in years while the kids were entertained by the very talented balloon artist. The food was amazing - so many great choices! The staff was very patient and helpful -they gave great recommendations. You could tell that they enjoyed working there, and everyone had a smile on their faces.

Great news - they are open 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays so it's a great choice for a late date night.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Tracking Your Fitness Goals With Nike+ FuelBand

Nike Fuel 7This Domestic Lifestylist® loves how seamlessly technology is blending with our homes, and after reading about some of the developments at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, we are going to have lots to talk about!

The Nike+ FuelBand has been out for awhile, but apparently other companies are now bringing versions of this to market. We have been using one for almost a year and love it! The Fuel Band keeps track of pretty much every step you take and converts it into "fuel points" as well as calories burned. You will be surprised how many calories you can use up doing housework or basic chores. YOu set a goal, and such it to a site online that will tell you how you are doing on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

It looks like a rubber bracelet and also functions as a watch. The only thing I don't like about it is that it doesn't work on a bike, but I'm sure that they will have something new soon.

I'm adding this to the LifestylistList as a great way to work on a healthier 2013.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Simple Soups For The Weekend

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This is going to be a busy week! I leave tomorrow to do some new model homes for SE Homes of Texas in Louisiana, so while I'm enjoying all of that Cajun cuisine I wanted to cook up some healthy meals my Lifestylist® family could enjoy.

Ro-tel® (tomatoes and diced green chilies)is a staple in my pantry. It is low calorie, low fat, and full of spicy goodness and is an important part of my vegetarian chili and my vegetable soup.

I make this in my slow cooker - it's a perfect weekend dish because you can prep all of the vegetables and let it cook up on it's own. Use vegetables that your family prefers or ones that are fresh at the farmers market - my version changes with the seasons.

You can find the recipe on my Lifestylist® Recipe page - enjoy!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Cleaning Up and Giving Back as a Domestic Lifestylist®

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It always seems like when it gets colder I start nesting. It's so dreary outside now is the perfect time to clean out closets and do those tasks I don't want to do when it's gorgeous out.

The domestic side of the Lifestylist® Brand is not only about what I do for myself and my family, but what I can do for others.

There are great sales right now on clothing and home items, and the colors that are available are gorgeous. There were some deals that I couldn't walk away from, but we have a rule in my family - if something comes in, more needs to go out.

There are lots of important non-profits that help women "dress for success" and give them the skills and clothes to be able to successfully interview and land a new job. We are also very involved in groups that help homeless families and abused women get back on their feet, including Shared Housing and Genesis Women's Shelter. Knowing that I'm going to be helping others by cleaning out my closets helps me to dig a little deeper and let go of things I might have held on to than can have a better use with someone else.

Today was a great day - I got some great new looks in my closet and helped a lot of women in the process. Recycling at it's finest!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

How To Find The Perfect Contractor

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You would think that finding a contractor or designer to do work on your home would be easy, but take it from this Domestic Lifestylist® it's not. When I decided to add a test kitchen to The Home Idea Factory I started thinking about having people in my home, and trust became even more important than the cost. Fortunately for me, I found Mike Clark and his team, and my test kitchen is closer than ever to being a reality.

Here's some tips for hiring a contractor.

Kitchen Trends in 2013

Thermador Oct 11 29t's looking like this Lifestylist® is going to be spending a lot more time in the kitchen this year, and we couldn't be more excited! Our test kitchen is coming along really well, and we have a lot of kitchens we are designing for clients which is always lots of fun.

January is going to be a month spent on the road. Besides working with all of our clients we have been invited to the beautiful Thermador flagship design center to see what's new as well as work on new appliances for the future.

The International Builders Show will be taking place in Las Vegas, and it is always a great source of trends in home design.

We'll have lots to talk about and share, and we are also anxious to know what you think about the new trend to brighter, whiter kitchens. Susan Serra, one of the premiere kitchen designers just did an article for Cultivate on Kitchen Predictions for 2013 that has lots of great information so we wanted to share. What do you think will be the top kitchen trend in 2013?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Great Plates

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I love it when my kids call me for advice - especially when it has to do with looking for a source or product they need for their homes.

My daughter decided to start out the New Year with some different plates -the ones that she had were chipped and a bunch of them had gotten broken.

I am a frugal Lifestylist®, and as luck would have it I found some great plates at The Dollar Tree that are an amazing deal! They had dinner plates, bowls, and mugs all for $1.00 each. I love that they are a simple white with a raised beading around the edge, and at that price they are almost less than paper plates! It's a good thing she's in Florida because I think I bought up every one in Dallas.

White is a great choice for your table - it doesn't fight with whatever color your food is, and you can easily add color to your table top with napkins, placemats, and flowers.