Referrals are Priceless

Nothing can hurt or help more than words and they are something that’s truly priceless.

I was checking my LinkedIn page today and saw that a few people had given me recommendations including Sam Weidner Jr who was the VP of Patriot Homes and who had written the following:

“I have had the honor and the privilege to see a true artist at work. I hired Suzanne Felber to help Patriot Homes take a new, innovative, and aggressive role in helping redefine manufactured homes as people knew them. Without question she tackled that task with enthusiasm, and a creative vigor unlike anyone had seen in our industry at the time. Suzanne has a brilliant mind for knowing design trends and how to present her designs in a way that attracts buyers from all walks of life. With her help Patriot was able to win over 9 housing design awards including an award for best marketing campaign awarded by the NAHB. If you want your products to look the best the hire the best, Suzanne Felber.”
Service Category: Professional Lifestylist
Year first hired: 2002
Top Qualities: Great Results, Good Value, Creative

It’s one thing when you think that you have given a job your all, but when you receive something like this out of the blue it makes you want to go out and work that much harder, and give that client a big hug!

I’m honored to have worked with Sam and his company, and I’m looking forward to working with him even more in the future!

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!

Greatness is Personal

DSC_0196Today many of us gathered to say goodbye to a great man – Norman Brinker. Most people know of Norman as the mind who started and refined the trend of casual dining and the founder of Brinker International, but to me Norman will always be a horse lover, polo player and wonderful father first.

In my horse days I had a barn behind Norman’s equestrian center – Willowbend Polo Club. We would ride back and forth between barns and most of my horses came from owners at Willowbend that owned horses that were too much for them and wanted to unload them. Those were wonderful days and how fortunate we all were to be able to watch Norman streak across the polo field doing what he loved. Norman had an uncanny knack of knowing and remembering everyone’s names from the grooms to the owners and he treated everyone equally.

When I had two very young children I decided to work as a waitress at Steak and Ale – a concept that Brinker owned and was fairly new at that time. I helped open the Plano location and Norman spent an amazing amount of time with us learning what worked and what didn’t. He also wanted to make sure that we knew our jobs inside and out and we did a lot of wine tastings to learn about what we were serving. That was my first exposure to wine and it’s an experience that I still enjoy. His passion about the company made us passioniate about what we were doing, and we took our jobs personally and wanted to make Norman proud of us.

Our lives continued to intertwine – my sister was married at Willowbend and went on to work at the corporate offices at Brinker International. Being a “Brinkerhead” she loved being a part of that culture and was always amazed when she would visit a Chili’s and Norman would be there often by himself just enjoying a burger. He always remembered my sister and made her feel special.

What Norman and many great self-made leaders understand is that to succeed it has to be personal. Your own integrity, how you treat people and love of what you do  is not a small part of why these people have succeeded and why so many people people love and respect them in return. I wish I had taken a pen and notepad to the service because the wisdom and stories that were shared were incredible. Ross Perot and Mr. Brinker were good friends for many years and I can understand why – they are a lot alike, and both have a great, dry sense of humor that I love. Mr. Perot spoke and he was able to capture what made Norman so special. Even though he had been in a coma and had health issues from a polo incident and had other obstacles, nothing was going to keep Norman down and no matter what he did it was always with an amazing positive attitude and a love for life and everyone around him.

We’ll miss you Norman, but know that you are happily playing polo on the most heavenly fields any of us have ever dreamed of.

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.

Simply Summer

Simply Summer  1258Summer is here! I was fortunate enough to start mine off with my kids and grandbabies in Florida last weekend and it reminded me of those wonderful innocent summers I enjoyed when I was growing up. Special days of running free at my grandparents farm sitting in the raspberry patch stuffing ourselves with delectible juicy fruits, spending time on the rocky shores of Lake Erie floating under the summer sun in an innertube with not a care in the world, and evenings of family dinners featuring fruits and vegetables that we had helped raise and pick on the farm.

Spending time with the kids reminded me how uncomplicated life can be sometimes if we let it and that the more simple our lives are the more sometimes we can enjoy those special times.

Victory Gardens

06.LasVegas 01106.LasVegas 012We’ve been having a cool, rainy Spring and my garden is loving it! This year it’s truly a victory garden, bursting with plants I brought back from my grandparents farm in Pennsylvania, daisies my mother gave me from her garden and heirloom hollyhocks, delphiniums, tomatoes, and herbs, squash and cucumbers that can’t ripen soon enough.

My grandmothers gardens were always freeform – she’d throw out seeds or add plants here and there and just see what would come up. She also kept dairies of what was new and the weather every day as well as what was new in the garden. My grandfather on the other hand was the keeper of the vegetable gardens and everything had to be in straight, organized rows and carefully documented so he’d know what to plant the coming years. We spent many happy summers shucking peas, lima beans and corn on the front porch.

I guess I favor my grandmother. Part of the fun of having a garden for me is letting some things go to seed and see what comes up the next year. Plus I love the organized chaos   that rewards me every year with gifts that I can enjoy and share with friends and family.

With this economy and the challenges we all face, being able to have my home and being able to enjoy it is truly a victory that I intend to enjoy and appreciate every day.

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.