The Oak Cliff Lifestylist Resolutiosn 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.


Hospitality at Hatties

The best thing about living in a neighborhood like Oak Cliff is that it truly is a neighborhood. We have our own bakeries,meat markets,artists,and best of all we have restaurants that serve everything from thick juicy burgers (Hunkys) to vegetarian (Spiral Diner).

I feel very fortunate to be able to drive less than a mile and be able to experience food and dining that I think is some of the best in the US. As a foodie I've had some remarkable meals but when I want to "come home" I go to Hattie's. Imagine an experience where you can feast with your eyes as well as your palette. Hattie's is an anchor of the Bishop Arts District of Oak Cliff and is a destination not to be missed. The restaurant is very Southern - from it's hospitality to it's menu but with a contemporary twist. The owner is usually there to welcome you, we have fallen in love with Sam who fixes us the best drinks in town (and remembers us the next time we visit and what we love to drink!)and the wait staff has always been very knowledgeable about the menu and generous with their recommendations.

The menu? Heaven on a plate. If you have never sampled Fried Green Tomatoes, this is the place to experience them. I've ordered them more times than I care to admit and they have been perfection every time. Even something as simple as the house salad is something to fall in love with, and I have.

Don't overlook the specials, because they are typically designed around the freshest ingredients available. I went in last week planning on ordering the prerequisite fried green tomatoes and a salad, but after hearing about the Porterhouse steak and bean medley I had to try it. And I wasn't disappointed -the portions were large enough that I had some to throw some on the grill and enjoy the next day.Call me crazy, but I have decided my personal diet plan is if I am going to put it in my mouth it is going to be something I enjoy and the freshest, best, most favorable item that I can find. Hattie's makes it easy, and that is one of the reasons I go back as often as possible.

If you aren't as fortunate as I am to live in the neighborhood you should at least check out their website. The photography is spectacular and it will give you a great excuse to come and visit.


The Brodies

One of the families that have been targeted by the investors are Ramona Brodie and her son Woody. Ramona has Emphysema and has to have oxygen 24/7. Her son was in a motorcycle accident years ago when he was a successful roofer in the Dallas area. The accident caused him to lose the use of his right arm, his speech, his wife and his child.

I first met Woody when I was looking for someone to fix my Montgomery Ward tractor that I had the bad habit of running into things. A neighbor let me know about Woody and even though communicating can be tricky sometimes, I've begun to learn "Woody-speak" and he has kept all of my yard and garden motors humming ever since. he is a sweet, kind soul and I couldn't ask for better neighbors. So when Woody came out of his home one day and told me he was "going down the road" I was floored. Selfishly I hated to lose them from the neighborhood, but I was also worried about where he and his Mom would go.

After speaking to Mrs. Brodie I learned that one of these investors had talked Mrs. Brodie into selling them her home but telling her if she didn't the city was going to come the next week and tear it down. Terrified about what would happen to her and her son she agreed to sell it for a price that was much less than even the lot was worth. Mrs. Brodie had no idea what her property was worth and the investors weren't about to tell her.

Mrs. Brodie was very worried about the condition of her home -neither she or Woody can work and because of the physical limits both of them have the house has fallen into disrepair. Not knowing where to turn, they gave up.

The Brodie family needs help, and I'm hoping that we can come together as a community and find that help for them. No one deserves to be taken advantage of or to lose their home. The great news about all of this is that Oak Cliff is a wonderful neighborhood, and that finding out about the needs that Ramona and Woody have and sharing that story has helped me to meet some amazing people. Every neighbor that I have shared this story with have offered to help - unconditionally. We've started looking out for each other and the word is now out about the unscrupulous people who are preying on our neighborhood so that what happened to the Brodies won't happen again.


I should have called a Realtor®

One of the things I love about Oak Cliff is that there are people who have lived in this area for generations which is very unusual for a "new" city like Dallas. My home was built in 1942 and it's been really fun to meet people who know the entire history of my home.

Because these people have never been active in the housing market they have no clue about what their home is worth, and to be honest most have no interest in moving but are at the age they are worried about what will happen to their dependents. This lack of knowledge about what their properties are worth is creating unfortunately a perfect opportunity for so-called real estate investors to prey on these people and talk them out of their homes.

I've heard from various neighbors about real estate investors coming to their doors, telling them that because of the condition of their homes the city wants to condemn them. But because these folks want to be good citizens they are willing to help them out and buy the home for literally pennies on the dollar so they won't lose their homes.

Honestly some of these people might be better off selling because they are getting to an age where keeping up a home and large piece of property is too much for them. But where the problem lies is that these companies are not offering fair market value so they are intimidating the owners into selling at a price that allows these groups to "flip" the homes before they even close on them for a 50% to 100% and up profit.

If these homeowners had any idea about the services that Realtors® offer, they might have been saved from the heartbreaks they have had to endure. A Realtor® is a professional that makes their living off of the sale of your home at a fair price - they are willing to do the research to let you know what your home realistically is worth and an honest expectation of what you can expect to receive at the closing table .Their interests are your interests and by doing the homework and the legwork if you do want to sell they can help you get through the process in a stress-free, positive way.

My favorite Oak Cliff Realtor® is Lisa Kleypas a team member of the very successful Cox + Partners team. I would say that Lisa loves Oak Cliff as much as I do, but honestly she probably loves it more. When I first got to really know Lisa she had a career and was a success story that most of us can only dream of achieving. But to find out more about Lisa and how she ended up helping people find the perfect home you will either have to contact Lisa or come back here :)


Living in Oak Cliff

Oak Cliff Texas is a wonderful historical part of Dallas, and is just the other side of the Trinity River from downtown Dallas.

What makes this community so unique is the cultural diversity of the homeowners here, and that there truly are neighborhoods. The Bishop Arts District has some of the best restaurants in town and there are great shops and art galleries to explore while you are waiting for a table.

The goal of this blog is to share the stories of some of the wonderful people who live here.