It’s Homearama Time!

RMH TabletopRMH LivingRMH LibraryWhere did the year go? It’s hard to believe that once again it’s time for Homearama in Rochester, NY. We had so much fun last year, and the best part was that @home Builders was able to raise a lot of money for the local Ronald McDonald House.

The Home Idea Factory was honored to be the Lifestylist® for the first Ronald McDonald / Homearama House and as always David Riedman and @home Builders was the first builder to step up to the plate. This year @home Builders will be building a “Barkitecture” home that will also be shown and sold at Homearama. As someone that runs a sanctuary for animals I applaud the Rochester Home Builders Association and @home Builders for making people aware of how many animals need homes.

Lollypop Farm is a wonderful organization that helps put loving pets and families together – congratulations to  the Rochester Home Builders Association for this wonderful partnership.

Make a difference – attend Homearama and purchase some of the incredible items that Ronald McDonald House has for sale or bid on the @home Builders pet mansion. With your help we can make a big difference!

The Green Evolution

So you say you want an evolution… well it looks like the Green Evolution is here, and here to stay. No matter what industry you are in, everyone seems to be getting on “The Green Train”. But what does this really mean to you, and the world you live in?

Defining Green is not an easy task, and the definition seems to be changing every day and mean different things to different people. It can be as simple as putting your trash in the appropriate container or as complex as an off-grid solar home. The important thing is that you do something and incorporate a green lifestyle into the way you live today and in the future.

I heard an excellent example this week at the Manufactured Housing Conference where we were blessed to have Mark LaLiberte as a speaker. He used the example of a green builder in Connecticut who was bragging about the great granite he was able to get inexpensively in China. Being that New Hampshire – the granite state – borders Connecticut Mark asked why he didn’t source the product there. Sometimes we have to look at issues besides price – think about all of the energy that was wasted getting the product from China as well as the jobs locally he might have saved – and those employees that might have become customers – and to me it puts a different spin on how we forgo value for price many times.

I see the greening of America as being an evolution instead of a revolution because it’s not going to happen overnight, but if everyone starts asking the question about what their choices are going to mean for ours and our families quality of life in the future hopefully we can start turning things around.

The Ultimate Fan

I have a favor to ask of all of you that really doesn’t have anything to do with this blog but it does – my 10 year old nephew is learning an important lesson about marketing and the power of the internet.

Sam lives in Oklahoma City and is the ultimate sports fan – he is crazy about the OKC Thunders and goes dressed to show his support to almost every game. His parents have always been wise enough to let Sam find his own calling, so his enthusiasm (and his outfits) are all his idea. Because of this, Sam was nominated to be part of the Ultimate Fan Finale.

He is also a great well rounded child (and I am a proud aunt!),does very well in school and loves to cook with me – we entered the State Fair of Texas Cooking contests this year and Sam won two 2nd place ribbons!

If Sam wins this contest he gets to go to Boston and see his team play there as well as learn some valuable history lessons when he gets to tour the city.

Please help me encourage Sam to follow his dreams. The link for where to vote on the NBA site is here, and you can vote was many times as you would like. Most of the others that are up for this honor are adults so I’m even more proud of what he’s accomplished. Please vote for Sam Davis and vote often!

Empty Bowls


There’s nothing better than giving back, but when you are also able to discover new trends and products for yourself it’s a bonus!

Not only did I come home from the Empty Bowls event with a beautiful, handcrafted new bowl, I also discovered a company that sells “pantry staples” – pre-measured ingredients that you can easily make up into homemade meals quickly and in a cost-effective manner.

Homemade Gourmet offers meal solutions that make it easy for anyone to whip up a great meal, even if you think you can’t cook. They had Lemon Sandwich Cookies at the event, and they were divine! I thought they came from a restaurant and I was thrilled to find out they were something I could make at home.

Fortunately they had one of their catalogs in our goodie-bags along with a sample of their Fire Grilled Salsa Mix so I can get some of the mixes for myself. I’m also anxious to try the salad mixes, especially the Cilantro Lime Chicken Salad mix – it sounds like a perfect meal to enjoy outside on the patio soon.

Savor Dallas

I’m so excited that it’s almost time for Savor Dallas! This is the 5th year for the event, and I’m proud to say that I’ve attended every one and wouldn’t miss it this year for anything.

This two day event features the best in food and wine, and it’s the perfect opportunity to sample those wines that you’ve always wanted to try. As a Lifestylist® I always view this as a great opportunity to find out what the latest trends are in food, wine and beverages as well. Last year there was a grapefruit infused vodka that they mixed with grapefruit juice that was fantastic – not too sweet, and the perfect option for a unique spin on a Mimosa.

wp-boxes1tartsPhotographer Lisa Stewart is responsible for the photography of this event – be sure to take a look at her images from previous year and I promise you you’ll wish Savor started tomorrow!

Alas, the event won’t be held until March 6th and 7th in the Victory area, Arts District and downtown Dallas. If you can’t wait until then to sample what will be offered this year be sure to take a look at th elist on the Savor Dallas site of who will be attending. There are also “Tasting Notes” by some of the wines that will be offered that will give you a preview of what to expect. Tickets can be purchased on the website for all of the events.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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!