6/7/06

Wedding Bells!

I am so excited - my middle sister let us know that wonderful guy she's been dating has asked her to marry him and she said yes! Never one to waste time, the wedding is going to be on the 4th of July at my parents lake house near Tyler, Texas. They both have kids, so this union will be a blending of hearts, homes, and families. My mother is in heaven - she's always wanted one of us to get married at the lake. My youngest sister came the closest so far - she was married at her in-laws home that has a spectacular back yard and is part of the annual Azelea festivities in Tyler. We tend to be a very laid back family- she was having so much fun water-skiing the morning of her wedding she was almost late. I wasn't much better - I spent the night before my wedding at the stable with my horse and my best friends.The ceremony is going to be in the morning so we'll all still have plenty of time to water-ski, and my sister is letting this lifestylist make the wedding cake! I'm also going to be helping with the catering and I will promise you that nothing will be Semi-Homemade and everything will probably be made from scratch!

6/4/06

What the heck is a Lifestylist?

One of the questions I always get asked is exactly what is a Lifestylist, and what is unique about the Lifestylist Lifestyle. The second most asked question is what makes me a Trailer Diva!The Lifestylist philosophy is that "It's all about You" - the clients life and style is what dictates how a Lifestylist works with you. My favorite example is I had a client in Phoenix, Arizona that was a major Phoenix Suns fan, and their team colors are orange and purple. The client wanted their entire home done in these colors. What they wanted is what they got, complete with a child's room with a hardwood floor striped like a basketball court. I just spoke to a friend who's dog had just dug up her entire garden and her daughter slammed the door on the neighbor's hand - all in about 30 minutes time. Her needs and lifestyle are completely different from my Son - no kids, no dogs, and lives in front of his computer. What my style is wouldn't work well for either of them which is why I need to understand the client and what their "hot buttons" are. It's takes extra time and sleuthing to achieve this - many times the client has trouble putting into words exactly what they are looking for but they know it when they see it. I take the responsibility very seriously - a person's environment can truly change their lives in a positive or negative way. If someone is happy in their home their quality of life improves.Next to being a mother, becoming a Lifestylist is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. I'm looking forward to expanding the concept and what it offers in the years to come.

Building a Brand: Company, Culture and Creativity

So many times we are truly judged by the company that we keep, and by someone’s perception of who we are -even before we ever get to meet them. Having yours or your company's name associated with someone having a less than stellar reputation can make the difference of landing a dream client or never getting your foot in the door. There are lots of examples of companies doing it wrong - we all know about firms that had a change in corporate culture and it affected the entire branding experience.An example of a company doing it right is the Container Store.

I've been fortunate enough to be able to hear the founders speak about their corporate philosophy and I know from personal experience they don't just talk about it - they do it. I've visited and shopped at their store coast to coast and in every store I visited the experience was the same. I was greeted by team members who genuinely seemed happy to be there and they knew their stuff. I've never been told "that's not my department" - if they didn't know an answer they walked me to someone else who did. This is also a company who knows the value of a loyal and long time employee, and treats their team members with respect and equality. I have a good friend who has worked with them for quite a few years in the corporate office, and even when he is "off the clock" he's raving about their corporate culture, how they give back to the community and how there is no where else he'd rather work.This is also a company that understands branding and how important having the right product mix is. Having the right computer bag is critical to me - I travel constantly and don't go anywhere without my computer. I'm also on smaller commuter flights a lot and needed a bag that would fit in the overheads or underneath the seats on these planes. After looking for years Container Store came to the rescue with the perfect bag - a stylist black rolling one by Eagle Creek. After using it for 2 years it's still in perfect shape and I couldn't be happier with it.
Now that I'm getting ready for my international flights, I'm going to be heading over to my local store again so I can be an organized traveler. They also have a wonderful website that is very easy to navigate so if I can't find the time to shop in person I can order online.

The Lifestylist concept goes International!

This is turning out to be a very busy summer - Patriot Homes is opening quite a few new communities with developers and I'm helping out with the merchandising of their models. My sister is getting married! We are all very excited, and it's going to be a wonderful family affair and really be about the kids.

But the big news is that I've been invited to Belgium by Beaulieu Flooring to work on a new flooring concept they are "rolling" out! It's a very innovative product that is being distributed in the States by Patrick Industries, and it's availability in wider widths means less seams and better wear. I'll be bringing back lots of information and photos, so stay tuned!

This development will truly make me an Internationally Acclaimed Lifestylist - accept no imitations!

4/10/06

The USA Film Festival

When the weather gets balmy in Dallas you know that the
USA Film Festival can't be far behind.

This Dallas Institution has been around for over 30 years and has hosted directors, actors, and filmmakers ranging from Miss Piggy to Anthony Hopkins. This year the festival will be hosted at the new theaters at NorthPark and will be held April 28 - May 4th. Stay tuned to hear which films and stars will be in attendance!

4/8/06

Re-Moving

My home is a live-work space that was built in the 40's to house a printing company. When I drove past it the first time it was love at first sight - a large building (I originally thought it might have been an old YMCA) with a Southwest feel. It had only been owned by 2 owners and needed quite a bit of work but I had to have it. It has lots of light, cement walls, high ceilings and land that I can grow things on but it is also very close to Dallas.I've now owned "The Home Idea Factory" for four years and have accomplished some of the major remodeling projects that I wanted to do - a new kitchen and bath. Before I could start on those projects I had to rewire and plumb the home which lead to the bathroom being in the only area that had plumbing to it when I bought it - the kitchen. Finally, I have a real kitchen and a real bathroom! Thanks to the miracles of IKEA, there is hope that for the first time in years I can be organized. I'm also realizing that I am a creature of habit. When you move to a new home you don't have the history of where you "expect" something to be - when you remodel, you are used to going to the same spot for something for a number of years. I'm still going to the old spot where the refridgerator was even though it's now across the room, but it's a small price to pay for having my new, organized kitchen and bath.

4/1/06

I've seen Elvis

I've seen Elvis and he was in Tunica, Mississippi this week at the South Central Manufactured Housing Show. Not only was his nearby home Graceland designated a Historical site that week but he was there in the flesh to welcome people to the show.

I was chosen to do the interiors for 5 homes built by Patriot Homes of Alabama for the Manufactured Housing Show and I had a blast! The weather held out and for the first time that I can remember we had no rain.

With all of the news coverage about the Rebuilding of the Gulf Coast, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with a team consisting of Architect John Carricarte, Marketing Guru Sam Weidner and the Patriot Homes group. They were able to showcase homes that were ideal to fit into existing neighorhoods that were ravaged by Hurrican Katrina as well as homes that would fit into many neighborhoods in that region.

3/22/06

Star Sighting!

Last night I went to my favorite restaurant that happens to be in Dallas - Ciudad. The food is always incredible and Chef Joanne Bondy was in the kitchen. As we were happily enjoying our appetizer, a very handsome man walked past who looked familiar, and it turned out to be Val Kilmer!

Apparently he has been in New Orleans shooting a new film tentatively titled Deja Vu. Shooting was set to start just before Katrina ravaged the area, but the film and it's crew was one of the first to return and bring some much needed business to the area after the storm.

Great news - Mr. Kilmer was apparently a welcome guest - polite, engaging, you never would have known he was a "star" if it wasn't for that famous face.

One of the reasons that Ciudad is so successful even after 6 years is that everyone is treated like a star, and you never know when you'll see one!

3/18/06

Food is Love

I've been watching the Food Network FoodOgraphies this week, and the one with Paula Deen really struck home. Paula rules! It is so nice to see and hear about someone who gets it - she obviously loves what she does, her family, and her food. What can be more personal and intimate than food? It feeds us, it nurtures us, it can make us feel wonderful or horrible. What I have never understood is "Semi-Homemade"on the Food Network - great idea, bad execution. Why would you want to give your body fuel that was full of chemicals instead of the things that can nurture us? Cooking with love really doesn't take any longer, and the benefits last forever. And a skinny chef is just wrong - obviously someone who doesn't love food as much as I do.