Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Trailer Diva'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.

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.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Manufactured Housing Design Trends

It’s been a busy month! I’ve been traveling coast to coast to see the latest trends in housing, interiors, and furniture.

I get lots of emails about the differences in decorating a manufactured home vs a site built one, but truly there shouldn’t be any difference unless you are dealing with a manufactured home that has board and batten walls instead of tape and textured drywall. What’s amazing to me is how often manufactured housing drives or starts trends that then are used in site built homes. Due to the sheer volume of how many homes we build there is more of an opportunity to try out new things and see how they work.

One of the biggest trends I am seeing in manufactured and site built housing is islands in the kitchens that continue to grow in size and importance. Using a different stain or color on the island is a great way to make it stand out and to really add some impact and storage to a space. An area that manufactured housing has always offered more for your money is in the cabinets that are offered - many times you have twice as many cabinets in a manufactured home as what is offered in a comparable site builders home.

Stainless appliances have been around for quite awhile now, but they can also break the budget of many homeowners. What has become very popular are black appliances - they are usually priced more reasonably than stainless, I find them easier to keep clean than white or bisque ones, and they really can make a statement in any size kitchen.

Being a Lifestylist is all about understanding the lifestyle of a potential homeowner and what their needs are. Sharing what I see and learn is one of the favorite parts of what I do. I’m hoping to spend more time this year talking about upcoming trends and how they can fit into your lifestyle.

Friday, June 6, 2008

I admire Lisa Garza of the Next Food Network Star

I just don’t understand the firestorm around Lisa Garza and the fact that Gasp! she likes to dress well, look professional and act like a manager. Seeing and watching her has made me rethink my image - are “casual days” really such a good thing?

Food Network loves to show the voluptuous Sandra Lee of Semi-Homemade Cooking by Sandra Lee in costumes (I just can’t bring myself to call them just clothes) that have included flowing sleeves dragging in food and long hair swinging freely over the food she’s preparing. There are a few “stars” that could probably use a stylist or new stylist. Sandra Lee got an Emmy nomination for hairstyling? On a food show? I would be so proud.

The one thing that they really didn’t go after Lisa Garza for were her skills and her food. It was the first challenge and she wasn’t eloquent about her “platform” but I’m thinking that will be something that will evolve.

If you want the truth about Lisa, read what Nancy Nichols at DMagazine has to say. I know and respect Nancy, and trust me she won’t write it if it ain’t so. Nancy is a food critic and has known Lisa for awhile.

No matter what happens in reality land, Dallas knows the real Lisa and will stand behind her. Great food, great style, period. What else do you need?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Street Vendors

One of the bonuses of living in an ethnic-diverse neighborhood is getting to experience other people’s cultures. My Hispanic neighbors know how to entertain, and I think that some of their grilling skills could put The Food Network’s Sandra Lee of Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee to shame. Oh wait - my grand-daughter’s cooking skills are better than hers so probably bad comparison.

When it gets hot around here we start having these street vendors come around that have bicycles with a cooler on the front. They sell various Hispanic goodies, but my favorites are the ice pops that are made locally with great gourmet flavors. Pineapple, vanilla with raisins, and my favorite - mango with chilies. They typically cost $1.00 and are filled with fresh fruits and juices, little or no added sugars and are around 100 calories each. You just can’t beat them. I just got back from walking the dogs and passed a vendor so now I’m treating myself with a mango chile. Fortunately I like hot, spicy foods because these really pack a punch!

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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Giving Back

Spring has finally come to the Rochester New York area, and now is the perfect time to tackle those spring
cleaning projects that never quite got done last year.
@Home Builders and The Ronald McDonald Charities of Rochester are providing the perfect opportunity
for you to de-clutter your home while possibly having some of your well-loved items featured in this
years Homearama.
David Riedman of @Home Builders believes in giving back, and decided to continue this philosophy in
their Homearama house this year. The builder is teaming up with the Ronald McDonald team and will be
furnishing and decorating the entire home with merchandise that has been donated for the ABC sale
which is held every fall by the Ronald McDonald House.
Lifestylist Suzanne Felber is never one to back away from a challenge, and was thrilled to be chosen as
the designer for this project. “Not only will this home show consumers how they can blend a new home
with their favorite possessions, it will also show a type of recycling people overlook – donating items
they no longer need to a group like the Ronald McDonald House so others can use them in their homes.”
With the sale being held in the fall, many people don’t think about donating items until later in the year
so the dedicated volunteers of the sale are putting the word out now that donations are accepted all
year long. “This is the perfect time to start cleaning out those closets and extra rooms” stated Felber
“and I think people will be surprised about what we will be using in the home.”
A few items still on the wish list for the home are an interesting master bedroom suite, upholstered
chairs, area rugs in jewel tones, and a breakfast table and chairs. If you have items that you would like to
donate, please contact the team at:
The home will be debuting June 14th during the opening of the 30th Homearama at the Magnolia Manor
community in Perinton. The home will continue to be open to the public until June 29th when all of the
furnishings and accessories will be auctioned off with proceeds benefiting the Ronald McDonald House

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Customer Service?

This has been quite a month - I've been busy finishing up some really exciting projects and getting ready to start on some new ones that I can't wait to share with you. As a result of all of this I've been doing a lot of traveling and putting together various marketing materials. As always seems to be the case, if you have to get something done or be somewhere at a specific time Murphys Law comes into effect.

One of the new opportunities I am working on is an incredible opportunity in many ways. One of my favorite clients - @Home Builders is building a home in Rochester NY that will be part of the 30th Homearama that the Rochester HomeBuilders Association puts on every year. What makes this home so special is that we (yes, I've been asked to be part of the team!) will be decorating the home entirely with furniture, artwork and accessories that have been donated to the Ronald McDonald House for their annual ABC sale. The concept is to show people how you can blend old and new with fantastic results as well as being able to save more of your budget to invest in your new home. I traveled this week to Rochester to meet the rest of the team and to start choosing which items I want to use in the house, and it couldn't have been a better example of the best and the worst on hwo to treat yoru customers.

Northwest Airlines used to excel in how they treated their patrons which is why I gave them my loyality in the past, but for some reason remembering that as customers we have a choice of how we want to spend our hard earned dollars has doesn't seem to be as important anymore. Out of five different flighta that I had booked for this trip, so far 2 have had employee or maintenance issues that have made me miss my connecting flights. How as this handled? Poorly, especially since they lost my luggage on the way to Rochester, and on my 6 am flight this morning the flight attendant that was old enough to be my father couldn't figure out how to use the coffee maker so we all spent the should have been 50 minute turned into 2 1/2 hour flight caffine free. Instead fo making an effort when we landed to help us make our connections we just got a "sorry, we'll try to get you on the next one".

And then we have a company like @Home Builders. I don't think I've ever met a more devoted, delightful team who obviously enjoy what they are doing. One of my sayings is that "no is not a word in the English vocabulary" and the @Home team is a perfect example of this philosophy. I heard stories of how they have gone above and beyond to help their customers get what they truly want in their new homes. They also understand giving back to the community, and the Ronald McDonald House showhouse is a perfect example. I'm thinking when I come back to instal the home I may be driving instead of taking Northwest again though - not only because of how I've been treated on this trip by them but also because I'm seeing a UHaul in my future to bring back some of the treasures I all ready have my eyes on from the donated items!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Defining FEMA Trailer

It seems like FEMA trailer is a term that won't be missing from our vocabularies for quite awhile, but what truly is a FEMA trailer?

When the media discusses FEMA trailers it seems to be trying to lead the public into believing that that the manufactured homes built to house survivors of Katrina and Rita are the issue, but the facts are showing that the issues coming to light are with the RV's that most survivors were housed in, not the manufactured homes.

This Lifestylist® has visited the affected areas and has seen how many RVs are housing people vs manufactured homes, it's hard to believe that people are still being housed in recreational vehicles that were never meant (or tested) to be used as long term housing.

One of the great things about Manufactured Housing is that besides the homes being built in climate controlled,under roof facilities, they are also built to very strict national codes dictated by HUD.

Patriot Homes is a great example of a home builder doing the right thing, and offers great design, quality and value quickly and efficiently. Check them out and be prepared to change yoru opinion of manufactured housing!