12/14/10

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.

11/26/10

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!

10/20/10

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.

8/1/10

Color Spots

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.

6/27/10

Lifestylist® Designed TX Lake House For Sale

Looking for the perfect home to enjoy lake front living all year long? Look no further - this beautiful 5 bedroom home is what you have been searching for!

Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber and photographer Lisa Stewart visited this week to stage, photograph and help the owner market their home. See why Lifestylist® Marketing can give you the edge you are looking for to help you sell more homes.

Take a look at the You Tube video of the home, or contact Norma K. Smith for more information.

6/1/10

Shades of Green

Tony Lucas, the designer for Palm Harbor Homes and I had a great conversation when we were in Las Vegas for the MHI Congress and Expo. We were talking about the green revolution and what consumers are willing to pay to "do the right thing" and Tony used a great term - Shades of Green. We all want to make a difference, we just do it in different shades.
Living and working in a 1942 factory helps you find out quickly how important energy efficiency is, and amazingly enough there were some ideas that were designed into my home that make a lot of sense today. I always wanted a concrete home, and the Idea Factory is made of cement blocks and stucco. It really helps with sound and it does tend to keep the heat in during the winter and the cool in during the summer. We had no insulation anywhere and with a flat roof it was hard to add but we did.
The Idea Factory came complete with a 1956 Carrier air condition that used water cooled freon - similar to what many commercial buildings still use. the water takes the heat away from the air by the freon, travels outside and is then cooled by traveling across fins that let the air cool off the water. The cooled water is then returned to the system and the process starts over again. This is a very amateur description of the process, but I knew nothing when I bought this place but after the first summer I quickly found this system was worth keeping.
Imagine doing the inspection of your new home and having the inspector see this wood, falling apart structure that is a main component of your air conditioner. Obviously they were not very excited - water and raw wood are not a great combination. I saw it as a Lifestylist® Designed challenge, signed all of the papers and it was mine! Fortunately I have great team members that are used to my ideas, and we came up with a new design sculpted out of concrete and metal that is not only functional but a work of art as well. With hard work, a lot of head scratching and even more creativity today we started it up and it is purring like a new machine!
This is my shade of green - incorporating form, function, elbow grease and paint to come up with a system that has cut my cooling bills by over 60%.  Plus it looks great and I love the sound of it outside my kitchen window. I can't wait to do more green projects to my home, but until I can afford more I am very conscious of  how shade can help my bills and letting the trees overhang my roof, keeping the cooling up or heat down to save on utility bills when I'm not there, and turning off lights if I'm not in the room.
What is your shade of green?

2/13/10

Night Lights in Oak Cliff

What a crazy week in Dallas! This town is all about the NBA All Star Game which is this weekend, but mother nature decided to steal the show and dusted us with over a ft. of snow!

The is the largest amount we ever had so we decided to take advantage of it and declared a snow day. The Lifestylists were all out playing in it trying to outdo each other with snowball fights and snow sculptures and when it got dark out I realized I had the opportunity of a lifetime to get some really unique shots of the Home Idea Factory. Fortunately I share the factory with the very talented Lisa Stewart of L.a.S. Photography and we headed out to see what we could find. After she used her magic and skills I love what we ended up with, and to me these really capture the personality of what The Home Idea Factory is all about - Your Life. Your Style. Your Way.