Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber advises you on where to have a fantastic customer experience, and where you might want to avoid. As a lifestyle expert she can tell you where to go to have the time of your life!

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The Missing Sandra Lee SemiHomemade Kwanzaa Cake Story

I am so disappointed! I learned today that the witty post written by Denise Vivaldo about Kwanzaa Cake is no longer up on Huffington Post. This story had over 8,000 views, 1,900 shares on Facebook and 270 comments. Someone sure was enjoying reading it. If anyone has a copy I'd love one -I always wondered how that holiday miracle came to be.
But the great part of this story is that it introduced me to Denise and I was lucky enough to get a copy of her beautiful book "Food Stylists Handbook". I'm totally motivated now to get back into the kitchen and come up some photo-worthy plates of my own. And I promise, no store bought angel food cakes, apple pie filling, "acorns" or oversized tapers will be harmed in the process.

The Sandra Lee Semi-homemade Kwanzaa Cake

Many of you may be familiar with Sandra Lee - the Food Network personality. On one of her first shows she introduced us to her infamous Kwanzaa cake, and I've been confused ever since. She assembles an angel food cake adding chocolate frosting, apple pie filling and "acorns" - which most of us call corn nuts.  To this day the recipe calls for acorns which is frightening since actual acorns aren't edible to my knowledge.
We got a very special holiday gift this year - the incredibly talented food stylist Denise Vivaldo has come forward in an article in the Huffington Post to let us know it was actually Denise who came up with the Kwanzaa cake, and the Chanukah cake as well. Her recipe did call for corn nuts - not acorns though, and she does give Ms. Lee total credit for the massive tapers that were inserted in the top.
For the record, Ms. Vivaldo is actually an incredibly talented food stylist -I'd dare to say one of the best. I would give anything to spend a few days and learn from her. Since that probably won't happen, I'll settle for the next best thing - a copy of her new book The Food Stylist's Handbook. It shows you the right way to pay homage to food, and I'd even dare to call it "food porn" - you'll be lusting after everything you see in the book. Denise can also be found on Twitter. She is very generous with her knowledge and also has a great sense of humor!
So if anyone wants to know what would be the perfect gift to give this Lifestylist®, now you know!

The Gift That Keeps on Giving - Noah's Magic Shoes

I feel so blessed that I have had the life I have, and because of that I feel compelled to give back every opportunity that I have. Giving people hope and helping others isn't that hard - sometimes it's as easy as just thinking about where you are shopping or making a purchase.
Nothing touches me more than violence to another living being, and the I have been very fortunate to have been introduced to the Genesis Women's Shelter in Dallas.The work they do is amazing, and what hurts me the most is how much of a need there is for safe havens like Genesis.
But back to giving back. Over a year ago Director Jan Langbein shared a story with some of her group about a boy who had come to live at one of the Genesis shelters. This six year old boy had never owned a new pair of shoes, and when he received the new pair of red sneakers he proclaimed that they were magic because the treads on them allowed him to walk up a slide backwards. From that story "Noah's Magic Shoes" came to be.
This beautifully illustrated book is truly a labor of love, and 100% of the proceeds benefit the Genesis Women's Shelter. You can purchase a copy for yourself or to share on the Genesis website. I shared my autographed copy that I purchased at the NorthPark Center event to my daughter who is a teacher. There are classroom lessons on the website prepared by Dr. Larkin Page, Professor of Children's Literature.
Make a difference this year by sharing the story of "Noah's Magic Shoes" - it is a gift that will truly keep on giving.

Excitement Builds Around The Opening of The New American Home

I just saw an article in Nation's Building News today about The New American Home.  This publication is the official online newspaper of The National Association of Home Builders, and is available to you if you are a member of this amazing organization.
If you are not a member, please feel free to contact us - we'll get the information to you that you need in time to join us at the International Builders Show and tour the home!

Lifestylist Advisory: Delta Airlines and Baggage

Every time I fly, I wonder why I even think of working with clients that aren't close enough to drive to. I love the amazing clients that I have, and I am very grateful for them. And I tell them how much I appreciate their business every chance I get. It's something I don't take for granted, and I know they always have other choices.I'm not sure if I have the worst luck when it comes to flying, or if my experiences are more common than the airlines let you know.
This week I was meeting with a client in Michigan, and I had a big trends presentation that I have been working on for months. I have visited model home communities in 5 different states and had hundreds of brochures and floorplans to share. They were bulky and weighed a lot so I had to put them into my checked luggage, along with the Christmas gifts that were handmade especially for them. Because I fly so frequently, Delta put one of those coveted yellow tags on my bag to let the baggage handlers know I was a VIP and to take my bag off first.It was an uneventful set of flights - no unexpected 4 hour stop in Augusta like last time - and besides snowy weather in South Bend I was good. I stood there patiently with everyone else on my flight and all of the bags without the bright yellow tags came out, but not mine. Even the woman who sat next to me on both flights received her luggage, but mine was no where to be found. South Bend  doesn't have a baggage office  so I went up to the ticket counter and she looked up the info on my bag - she assured me that it was put on the plane in Dallas, but after that there was no record.She said the usual I'm so sorry and I believed her - she was trying and it wasn't her fault. I had a two hour drive to my destination and there was no way I was getting my luggage that evening so she said I have something for you, and gave me this little blue bag.
So what's in the blue bag? As you can see, a comb, shaving cream, razor, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste. If I was a gentleman this would be great, but wasn't much in it for me.
Delta Airlines needs a Lifestylist®, and they need this Lifestylist®. The only people who would be gifted with this bag would be someone who would be pretty upset about now because their luggage was lost, and this bag really doesn't give the impression that someone cares. I had paid a premium to fly on their airplane to make a business trip that they lost the materials for, and all they could do was say we'll try to find it. THEN they sent it to the wrong airport after two people in their corporate office said it was on the right flight and would be arriving shortly. When that didn't happen they told me to write a letter and send it through their website!
I'm doing better than that -I'm blogging about it. That's what consumers do these days when they feel like they aren't being heard, and if you have a business you had better be prepared to communicate to this new consumer - especially to listen. It amazes me how many businesses are afraid to use social media because they are afraid an upset customer will say something negative about them. Chances are pretty good if they are upset enough to take the time to write about it it is getting posted - it just may be some place that you aren't paying attention to. An interesting side note though is that when I FourSquared, Tweeted and Facebooked about the fact that I was at the South Bend Airport I got a reply tweet from the airport saying thanks for flying through South Bend and come back soon. This made me feel really good about the airport choice I had made, and that someone had cared enough about my business to acknowledge it.
How does a Lifestylist® handle a situation like this? We listen, process, and come up with a better solution. I have a great one for Delta, but they are going to have to contact me to find out what that solution is!
May all of your travels be stress free, your luggage arrive when you do and whatever airline you choose to use remembers who the customer is.

Giving Thanks

I just returned from a magical week in Orlando. Someone said they scatter pixie dust at the airport when you arrive, and I'm starting to believe them. Not only was I able to take part in a home that will probably be one of the the high points of my Lifestylist® career, but I was also blessed to spend some very special time with my kids and grandkids and share my Lifestylist® approach with them. Being a Lifestylist incorporates life and style, and getting creative in the kitchen is definitely part of that.
As part of the staging for The New American Home, I purchased a large amount of beautiful granny smith apples to add color and lifestyle to the kitchen. After we were finished with the shoot, I thought why not recycle them and make a pie with the grandkids? Neither of them had tried making a pie before, and with Thanksgiving being only a week away I thought this could be a great time to make their first.
Jenna may only be 8 yrs old, but she loves to cook and is really good at it. She has taken part in the Jr Chef Camp at the Gaylord Texan that Chef Joanne teaches, and was excited about trying out her culinary skills making a pie. Many adults would be daunted by this task, but Jenna dug right in. After teaching her some basic knife skills and precautions, she peeled and cored all of the apples herself. Brother Christian decided to help us make the crust, and we made a huge mess (sorry Trish!) but I'm sure it was a day that they will always remember.
I am so grateful to have the loving, supportive family I have, and the amazing clients that believe in me and what I do. Here's to the start of a holiday season filled with hope, happiness and lots of pixie dust!

Recycling Model Homes

Welcome to my world. With budgets getting tighter every day, builders are looking for ways to cut costs but still increase sales. One way to do this is by renovating and recycling model home furniture and accessories they already have.
This makes a lot of sense, but when employees or decorators are used for this task that don't understand merchandising, there's a good chance you won't get the desired results.
Youngs Homes in Hobbs, NM asked me to come down and help them with their model home center a few years ago and had the right results - sales and traffic increased without it costing them a fortune.  Since then they have brought in some new models, and realized it was time to look at re-modeling what they had. Employees had helped where they could to decorate the new models, but they just weren't getting the desired results. The Home Idea Factory was given the task of creating some Lifestylist Designed models using only the furniture that they already owned to keep costs down, but we did add some "personality packages" of artwork and accessories to add the lifestyle that was missing and keeping buyers from becoming emotionally involved with the homes.
I'm going to share a few examples of what we accomplished in the next few weeks, but this will give you an idea of the results.
This beautiful Champion Home has everything a buyer could wish for - 9 ft. ceilings, transom windows, a fireplace, and a dream kitchen with  stainless appliances and vent hood, and an island. From the inside and out, people would never guess this is a factory built home. As a matter of fact, it offers more options and upgrades than most site built homes do! The family room had a rock fireplace, and they even showed a front bedroom as a study. The house had furniture in it, but needed some lifestyle added to it.
By raiding the warehouse (notice the gold parsons chairs in the warehouse photo) we were able to pull the colors together more and add warmth to the home. Artwork and accessories highlighted the buyer profile for the area - ranchers - and furniture was re-arranged to emphasize how livable the floorplan is.
This is one of the higher priced homes that Young's sells, so we wanted it to feel that way. Buyers are now comfortable enough in the home to sit down and enjoy the home, and interest in the home has increased dramatically.
If you would like to discover how a Lifestylist Re-Designed model can help your sales, contact us at: answers@lifestylist.com

The Louisville Manufactured Housing Show is Back!

It's a show that always ignites the industry and the Midwest region with new designs, new ideas and new initiatives …the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show is coming back in 2011 and promises to be even better than before. The 2011 Louisville Show will bring back a positive energy to the Midwest region and will show why manufactured housing is the "best way to sell and the best way to build."
Enduring the economy has been the ultimate challenge, especially for everyone in housing. Now, a new year ushers in the return of a show that reluctantly took a year off as manufacturers weathered times like most of us have never seen in the industry. Now, the show kicks off the New Year Jan. 12-14 at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC), the best show facility in the nation. The show is back and we welcome all of the retailers, builders/developers, community owners/operators and exhibitors back to Louisville. The Louisville Show was a significant part of the Midwest region for over 50 years. We are excited about bringing back this important event!
Show hours:
Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011 – 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011 – 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 14 , 2011 – 9 a.m. until noon.
Note: Registration opens each morning at 8 a.m.
Off to an Amazing Start
As we head into Fall, there is already positive and exciting news to report as we approach "Sold Out" as the status for the manufacturers/exhibitors who plan to join us at the Louisville Show. We'll be ready to name this select list soon and we hope your business is included in that list. As of October 1, just a few manufacturer spaces remain. In addition there will be 85 service and supplier exhibit spaces for the host of businesses that bring so much to the manufactured housing industry. Manufacturers and suppliers across the region are making the move to bring back our industry momentum, and the show is one of the greatest ways to fast-forward these efforts. Don't wait – put your company at the forefront of the new year's industry success!
The Exceptional Experience of Louisville
Start with the Kentucky Exposition Center, a show venue that is considered the best facility of its kind in the nation, where you're assured of a show that offers ample exhibit space and amenities. Couple the great venue with the Louisville Show's headquarters hotel, The Crowne Plaza, located directly across the street from the exhibit hall, and you have an unbeatable combination of convenience, easy access and key amenities all around you. Hotel rates will be affordable, and reservations can be made very soon. A new registration company will be able to offer web-link registration for this year's show, helping make both pre-registration and on-site registration easier than ever before.
The airport is within three minutes of the show site, and there is ample and controlled parking at KEC. As everyone knows, Louisville offers a multitude of fine restaurants and other entertainment venues, including the popular '4th Street Live' area. Discover why Louisville makes the best place for our show. When you exhibit at Louisville, you will give buyers the luxury of an actual walk-through of your home, service or product in a unique hands-on environment. You will be able to relate to your customer base; understanding their wants and needs, as well as answer on-the-spot questions or concerns. With this premier venue as your backdrop, it is time to outshine your competitor and close the big deal. This is a great opportunity for your business to get a grasp on where the future of the industry is headed.
Sign Up for Industry Seminar
The 2011 show will feature an industry seminar with George Allen of GFA Management Inc the 2009 MHI Man of the Year. George has put together a seminar program that will appeal to the industry. Seminar points of interest will include:
How to Price Point a New Manufactured Home  for Private Property and/or Landlease Community Placement. Given an  individual's Annual Gross Income, and/or a local housing market's Average  Median Income, how to calculate maximum "affordable" & "risky" sale prices  for new homes, to be sited on realty owned fee simple, or leased. This topic  is timely for HUD Code home manufacturer "reps", Business Development Managers  ("BDM") and LLCommunity owners/operators selling homes on-site.
Community Series Homes. Their genesis,  definition and description; who manufactures them for in-LLCommunity siting  (with specific reference to appropriate manufacturers and models present at  the Louisville MHShow); and, how to properly meld them into any local living  environment.
Property Owner, or Self-finance, of New  Homes Sold On-site in LLCommunities, with emphasis on the differences  between "captive finance" and "buy her – pay here" methodologies, as well as  other possible alternatives. Moderated by Ken and Donna Rishel of Rishel Consulting Group and Precision Capital Funding the 2010 winners of the MHI Service Supplier of the Year Award.
Three 45-minute seminars provide an opportunity to learn how to start the two processes, evaluate and improve present practices and where to go for assistance and resources. These special seminars will be held at KEC in conjunction with the show.
Industry Comments: We have received these comments from interested industry representatives
Fantastic news on the show – we learned so  much and met so many new vendors – products I had no idea even existed. Great  news – and congratulations on keeping our business alive and well. There is  certainly massive demand right now for affordable housing.
I think the return of the Louisville Show is  GREAT news. It comes at a time when the industry is starting to make a  comeback and could go a long way toward boosting sales in the Midwest. I hope  all of the regions' manufacturers give the show the support it deserves.  Without these shows, the road back would be longer and more difficult.
I agree, I've missed the show. It was the best  event and it's early enough in the year so you could sell the homes ordered,  re-order, and sell again.
I'm so excited to hear about the Louisville  Show in 2011! This was always one of the most important shows of the year for  our industry and we will need to support its return to show consumers and the  media that manufactured housing is here to stay! It sounds to me like this  could be a great start to the image campaign that we've all been talking  about!
If you have any questions regarding this year's Louisville show, please call Dennis J. Hill, Show Coordinator, at 770-587-3350.

Model Homes That Sell

Anyone who has ever spent time in a model home has heard a buyer ask the sales person where they can purchase something that they see in the home. More often than not, the builder and sales team don't have any idea, and that memory point is lost.
Lifestylist Design recently did a home for American Custom Builders that was a "ready to go home" - everything in the home was purchased within 10 miles of the home or was available online. By keeping the number of stores used to a minimum, buyers were easily able to see how they could make their new home look "just as good as the model home". All of the furniture used was from a local Ashley Home Store, and buyers purchasing one of the homes received a discount on their own purchases after they closed on their home.
Take a look at a video we just completed of the home and see for yourself how beautifully this concept can be accomplished.

The Great Pumpkin Farm

Being a Lifestylist sometimes means getting off the beaten path, and when you do you never know what you'll discover.
This week I was in Western NY for the opening of the Riedman Development and @home Builders Design Center, and decided to take a different route back to the airport. When I did I drove past The Great Pumpkin Farm and knew I had to check it out. If you are in that area it's a must visit, if not take a look at the video we put together.  Happy Halloween!

Good Guys Do Finish First - Congratulations to Sandlin Homes

Sandlin Custom Homes was named Builder of the Year last week by The Texas Association of Builders, and I can't think of a company more worthy of that title.
One of the first model homes I ever worked on was for this family, and after over 20 years I still remember what a great experience it was, and can even tell you the color palette and theme of the house!
Sales Manager Alan Sladek was named Sales Manager of the Year, and they also received awards for model home merchandising, product design, print ad, direct mail piece and billboard!
This company isn't just about winning awards though, it's about building a great home. There aren't many family owned and run companies that have been in business for over 50 years, and there is a reason why this is the case for Sandlin Homes. You can tell everyone who works there takes it personally and it shows in every home that they build. If you are in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area take a look at these beautiful homes and discover what makes them so special.

Sharing is Caring

One of my favorite things to do every year is entering the State Fair of Texas cooking contests. Being a Lifestylist to me is about all of the ways you can live your life with style - not just design.Not because I want to win, but because I really enjoy sharing all of my entries with different workers at the fair afterward. These are the people who really enjoy my cooking and know it's made with love. Officer Stevens is usually by the entrance we use every day, and after she tried my peanut parries she was hooked. I've never won a ribbon with these, but I keep entering because they are the favorites of Chuck and Linda at the Chili Parlor and we've become good friends because of them.
When I brought Officer Stevens her cookies on the last day she said that we had no idea how much our sharing meant to her - and how nice it was just to have people appreciate her. There is no ribbon that can ever top that great feeling when you know you are doing something for the joy of it, but others get to share that joy as well.

Champion Homes Gets Social

I just found out today  Champion Homes has a Facebook page that they are getting ready to add a lot of information and photos to. When I went to check it out, I found photos of the Lifestylist® Designed home we merchandised for them at the Tulsa show and heard that there will be more photos to come of the Texas Show. If you haven't "liked " this page yet be sure to do so - that way you'll be one of the first to see all of the exciting new changes.

Lifestylist® Designed Models on You Tube


Lifestylist Design Inc. has been flooded with requests for more information on the new models we've done for Champion Homes this year. There have also been lots of questions on how models can be merchandised cost effectively and still enhance the home and be a selling tool.
We have two new videos on You Tube that can help you see what a Lifestylist Designed® home is all about. The Champion Homes of Texas video highlights the 8 homes that we have merchandised for them this year and also gives you an idea of the variety of homes that Champion Homes of Texas builds.
We also have a video that is of the show home we did with The Ronald McDonald House for @home Builders. This home raised a lot of money for this wonderful charity and showed visitors how a new home can be merchandised using their existing treasures. A perfect example of this is the amazing collection of vintage cameras that were used in this home. All were donated and auctioned off at the end of the show.
Please be sure to "like" our videos if you enjoy them and share them with your friends. We are looking forward to adding to these in the near future. Let us know what you might like to see.

It's State Fair Time!

Finally - The Great State Fair of Texas is less than a week away! Honestly, I'm way behind on testing recipes, but I'm ready to get started. One of the great things about entering a lot of the cooking competitions is that if you do that for 3 consecutive years you get a season pass! We live only a few miles away from the fairgrounds so many evenings we'll head over to the fair to have dinner.Talk about being a Lifestylist® - I can't think of a better lifestyle than people who are involved with the state and local fairs, and how interesting and diverse the people are who attend them.
After spending so much time on my fair entries, I've come up with a new concept that I've started working on - The Lazy Cook. Note I say cook, not chef -it drives me crazy when people call themselves chefs yet they have no professional training or work experience. To me that totally takes away from how hard these people have worked to earn the title of chef. I love to cook, and as the years go by I'm even more concerned about eating well.
Keep your fingers crossed that this will be a good year - I plan on sharing not only my entries but also the unique (and sometimes weird!) food you can find at a fair.

Lifestylist Advisory: Using Area Rugs to Add Warmth to a Room

Today is an absolutely perfect day The weather has cooled off to where I'm thinking about changing my home decor to suit the cooler temperatures. - it sounds like a lot of work, but a few changes can make all of the difference in how you enjoy your home. One of my favorite ways to warm things up is with area rugs.
One of my designers with Shaw Living just sent me a copy of their 2010 introductions and they are stunning! Whether you are looking for a bold, urban look or a more classic pattern they have something for you and the colors are right on trend.They also have rugs in their Ever-Touch yarns which feel amazing underfoot or make a great place to lay down and watch the football games.
With hard flooring surfaces becoming more popular every day, and area rug is a great way to add color and warmth. This is a model home for American Custom Builders that was Lifestylist® Designed, and you can see what a difference it made adding this Shaw area rug. It was a long, narrow space and the rug helped add color and define the space. In The Home Idea Factory I have summer rugs that are lighter and in more coastal textures, and in the fall I bring out my area rugs that are in deep, rich colors. Add a few new pillow covers and a throw on the sofa and I'm ready to go!

Z Gallerie: From Soap to Sofas

Finally! The cooler weather is almost here and the stores are filling up with beautiful new accessories and goodies to seasonalize our homes with. As a Lifestylist® I like to constantly be on the prowl for what's new and exciting, and get an idea of what people are really buying for their homes.
I love Z Gallerie - they are my favorite "go to" source when I am working on a new model home. They are masters at offering personality pieces that help make a room or home memorable, and they also stock those big exciting works of art that you can never find when you need them. But on a recent visit they made me think of them for something I hadn't purchased from them in the past - furniture.
Z Gallerie started out in 1979 as a family run poster shop which has quickly grown to include 54 locations in 18 states! Their beautiful stores have expanded into becoming a one stop shop which make it easy for consumers to get everything they need for their home in one place. The stores are organized into different color stories which make it easy to find everything you need. They offer great accessories and furniture that are so unique people would think you had them custom made.
Speaking of personality pieces, as soon as I walked in the store I fell in love with two chairs I think I'm going to have to have - "Eddie" and "Bella". Eddie was just stunning in leather that was the perfect shade of teal, and Bella was a pearl grey fabric that was just sexy. You know you found something you must have when you can't stop thinking about it, and that's the case with these two chairs.
Make Z Gallerie a destination for your next shopping trip, and let us know what you fall in love with.

Teresa's Mosaic Cafe Gets a Throwdown From Bobby Flay

I am so excited! I just learned that Bobby Flay traveled to Tucson and had a "throwdown" with the Matias family at Teresa's Mosaic Cafe. This is a restaurant that we did the interior of, and as with all Lifestylist® Designed challenges we spent a lot of time getting to know the family and their needs before we came up with a plan.
Teresa's is all about family and the wonderful handmade food so the interior had to have as much personality as the family does. To do this we designed tables made of handmade tiles - thousands of them all that we made by hand. It was an extensive amount of work but the results were definitely worth it.
The episode airs on the Food Network - check out dates and times for your area.

Homearama Returns to Rochester, NY

It's hard to believe it's already time for Homearama again - where does the time go? But this is the perfect time to visit Rochester - the produce season is in full swing, perfect weather and it's also a great time to be thinking about decorating ideas to warm up your home with.
This year this annual event will be held at WaterSong in Penfield August 14th - 22nd. Sponsored by the Rochester Homebuilders Association this 9 days will not only highlight these 5 beautiful homes but there will also be an abundance of wine tasting, cooking demos and decorating seminars.
Lifestylist® Design has teamed up with @home Builders three different years to participate in this great event, but my favorite home was definitely the Ronald McDonald Show House we did a few years ago. We teamed up with the amazing group of volunteers from the Ronald McDonald House and merchandised a home using furniture, artwork and accessories that were donated to Ronald McDonald for their annual ABC Sale.It was truly a Lifestylist® Designed home -  I spent three months going over images they would send me of new donations and digging through their warehouse to find the perfect items for this home and by the end we did!
It was a fun challenge to show how you can do a beautifully decorated home using only "gently cherished" items. The best part was @home Builders then did an online auction and visitors to the home could bid on each room. All of the proceeds then went to the Ronald McDonald House Charities. From this, the dinner auction prize and other events that @home Builders did with the home they were able to raise over $25,000 for the charity. To see photos and get more information about this show house, check out the website we designed for it.

Simplify Your Life While Helping Others

It's hot as heck here today - the 1st day of August and it's supposed to reach 106 degrees! So today instead of even trying to do anything outside I decided to work on one of my new goals and start simplifying my life and style.
Have you noticed how easy it is to make impulse purchases now and how things just start piling up? I think I inherited a little of my parents recession-fear mentality and it's hard for me to pass up anything free like the little soaps and shampoos that you get in hotels.  As a Lifestylist® I'm always picking up cool and unusual items that I plan on using for staging or merchandising a model home - thanks heavens the Home Idea Factory has lots of storage or I'd be in big trouble!
Last week I was fortunate enough to be invited to The Family Place - an amazing resource for abused women and families. I serve on the board for HomeAid / HomeBuilders Care in Dallas and we just built new apartments, a clinic and a school room for them and it was so rewarding to see what we were able to accomplish. We were also able to meet some of the women who live there and what a difference the Family Place has made in our lives. As we toured we also found out what a great need they have for some of those things I've been collecting and today I'm going to start simplifying my life to help them with their fresh start.
Ronald McDonald House in Rochester, NY is another charity very close to my heart.  A few years ago we did a home that was merchandised completely with items that had been donated to the charity, then auctioned off to benefit Ronald McDonald House. I'll be forever grateful to the volunteers and Rochester community who donated such beautiful items to work with!
Towels, sheets, bath products, diapers... these are all things we may have an abundance of but don't want to throw out the ones that we don't use as much anymore. Stuffed animals that we tend to collect at fairs and in crane games would be cherished by a child that had to leave everything behind to get to safety.
It feels so good to clean away some of the clutter and know that these items are going to help someone else. The less you have to organize the easier it will be!

Color Spotting at Home Depot

I do love being a Lifestylist®, and getting the opportunity to travel across the country meeting new people and spotting new trends. Recently I was up in the 1,000 Island area of NY and spent a day just driving and looking at the magnificent architecture and natural beauty of that area.
When I found this little cabin tucked by the river I fell in love - especially with the brightly colored Adirondack Chairs in the front of it. Of course I took a picture and never forgot what a great, happy look this was.
Then the other day I was walking through Home Depot and found these bright, happy chairs and I had to have them! Especially since they were only $12.00 each and maintenance free. I love what a difference they made in the backyard of the Idea Factory - even when I'm not out reading a book or birdwatching on them I love just being able to look out the window and seeing the burst of color.
It's easy to use an accent of color to wake up any space. It can be done with pillows in a living room, towels in a bath or with plates in a dining room. Great, fun design doesn't have to be expensive - you just need to be brave enough to try different ideas out.

Getting Inspired by Your Surroundings

When I work on a model home, my first priority is bringing the outside in - what's going to make the buyer feel like what he experienced before he walked into the model continues into his model experience?
My son just gave me the perfect example - he is buying a new home in Florida, and was troubled after seeing the new model home because they didn't like the colors or feel of the home after it was merchandised. It bothered them so much they actually considered canceling the sale. The colors and the lack of lifestyle felt like they could have been in any city in any community, but it didn't have the warmth that they anticipated their home would have.
At Lifestylist® Design we focus on lifestyle, and what they buyer hopes to experience in his new life in your new home. We just finished doing a Lifestylist® Designed home for @home Builders in Baldwinsville, NY and I thought I'd share the thought process on how we came up with this home.
Timber Banks is a new incredible planned community near Syracuse, NY that features an 18 hole, Nicklaus designed golf course, river frontage with it's own marina, clubhouse, and a stunning, natural beauty all around you that you can call home. It seemed only natural that I would bring this lifestyle and the colors I saw all around me into the design of the model. We went with some of the foggy greys, clear blue sky, river rocks and eco-greens that we discovered on our walks and as a result when you are in the home it truly pulls the outside in.  Plan a visit to the Timbers yourself and see what we accomplished - contact Teresa Carpenter with @home Builders for more information at:  315-635- 6006.

Enviro-goodness: Boxal let's you Enjoy the Perfect Picnic

You never know where you will find a really cool new product or inspiration, and last week when I attended 'til Midnight at the Nasher Sculpture Center I was thrilled to discover the Boxsal. What the heck is a Boxal you ask? Excellent question! It's a great, green, creative way to pack up a picnic to enjoy at your favorite spot. Made entirely from recyclable materials, the Boxal includes cutlery, plates, bowls, napkins and glasses for four. Also included is a compostable trash bag so you can dispose of your items properly but you might want to keep the very stylish Boxal picnic box to use for your next picnic or any other use that you imagine. Boxals have three distinctive boxes that you can choose from, but my favorite is the Today's Date box. Reminiscent of a paint by numbers canvas from days gone by (do they still make these?) I can see how this would be the perfect project to keep kids or bored adults busy in any environment.
Your own Boxal can be purchased at the Nasher Sculpture Center Store at NorthPark or at the Sculpture Center. You can also check online at the Boxal site to find a location nearest you.