Sunday, November 27, 2011

On The Record With The Lifestylist®


One of the questions I get asked the most is how I ever decided to become a Lifestylist®, and where did I get my training.
I've been called a storyteller many times and it's an accurate assessment - I use my talents and materials to tell a story in a home. Hopefully this story explains to the potential homeowner why their lives would be better by living in this home, and what they can expect from the community, the builder, and from the experience. To tell the story, I collect thousands of items - old and new - that I incorporate into my LifeStyled homes.
This weekend I decided it was time to go through some of the things I've collected, and it's been quite a trip down memory lane. I discovered a trunk I forgot about that had family photos from the early 1900's that gave me a glimpse into my family history I hadn't been aware of. Through this discovery I'm finding I come from a very artistic family full of risk takers. This ostrich photo with my great aunt will now always be one of my favorites.
It seems I've been in the media longer than I remembered for my decorating skills. My mother and both grandmothers were very talented in the design fields, and I was lucky enough to be nurtured and inspired by them. This article from 1969 shows me as a 13 yr old showing off some of my skills with my mother and sisters. Apparently I also had my own booth at the church bazaar selling paper flowers and copper enameled jewelry that I made. What's funny is that after seeing this, I may have to try this again - it's really a fun idea!
I'm honored to be a Lifestylist®, and I love having the opportunity to help others find their passions in life. This holiday season remember what makes you happy, and share that passion with your friends and family - you might even find a new career by doing it!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Lifestylist® Companies Support Small Business Saturday


We are so proud to be involved in the home building business, and many of our customers are small privately owned companies that build homes for local families.
All of our Lifestylist® companies are built around the idea that if we buy from local companies and support our local businesses we help them to become homeowners and live the all American dream of owning a home of your own.We loved the 8 years that we were the Lifestylist® for Patriot Homes - we always did at least one Patriotic themed model home, and I think they were my favorites.
I'd like to say that I'm an example of dreams coming true - I married early, never finished college but here I am owning my own business and being able to help others.
If you are looking for a Lifestylist® to help merchandise and add Lifestyle to your homes, please contact us at: answers@lifestylist.com, or take a look at our website at: www.lifestylist.com
Let's all support locally owned businesses and bring jobs back to America!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Being Thankful





Happy Thanksgiving! This holiday is about food and family, but even more than that I like to use it to remind me how thankful I am for what I have, and for those around me.

For over 25 years my parents were very active doing disaster relief with The Salvation Army, and even raised the money for a state of the art canteen for the Tyler Texas location. Whenever there was a disaster or need and my parents got a call they dropped everything and hit the road. One of the most memorable phone calls I ever received was when Hurricane Katrina hit and my parents answered the call. They called me when they were outside the Super Dome not having a clue what was going on inside. For six weeks they were in the French Quarter feeding the volunteers - my Dad always joked he always wanted to have a restaurant in the French Quarter and he finally got his wish!

Whenever this Lifestylist® could I joined them on the road helping my Mom cook up to 2,000 hot meals a day and seeing first hand what mother nature can dish out. People were so sweet and hospitable, even though many had lost everything that they had. It was always hard to leave - I wanted to stay there and help rebuild.

This year I have been blessed to be involved with three amazing organizations - Shared Housing, Genesis Women's Shelter and HomeAid/Homebuilders Care. I am always so drawn to the kids - many of them have seen things we can't even imagine, but they always have the best manners, always say please, thank-you and give the best hugs :)

It's harder than ever to make a living, but even if you can't make a donation to a worthwhile charity think about donating your time -you'll be very thankful that you did.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tricks and Treats From The Lifestylist®

Even though it's been a very busy month, we made a point of catching up with one of our favorite Jr. Lifestylist's to see what he was doing for his annual Halloween party.
Sam Davis' parties are legendary, and this year was no exception. With over 75 kids attending this year's bash we wanted to create fun, themed treats that he could serve outdoors. Take a look at what we came up with  - Witch Hats and Krispy Pumpkin Treats.
We also worked on some tabletop ideas for the Fall holiday season that were inexpensive but would put our guests (and ourselves!) in the mood. The Lifestylist® Designed homes for SE Homes of Texas were full of ideas that visitors could do in their own homes.
While we were on the road we discovered the Great Pumpkin Patch in Clarence Center, NY - if this doesn't get you in the mood nothing will!
Have a wonderful Halloween and be sure to "like" our videos on our Lifestylist® YouTube Channel.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dear Steve Jobs: Thanks for the iMemories

I started writing this when I heard Steve Jobs was retiring from Apple, and now after I heard of his passing I thought it was time to share it. Rest in Peace Mr. Jobs - you've made the world a better, unforgettable place.
Dear Mr. Jobs,
Thanks to you, I have memories that wouldn't have been possible without your vision, drive, and ability to see the world like no one else could. Because of you, the consumer got a voice in the crazy world of computers and electronics, and you also gave us a company that would listen to that voice. We stopped being looked at as consumers that were a hindrance and not smart enough to understand code, but parents who want to stay in touch with their children and grandchildren. By creating the Apple Stores I know I am never alone, and there will always be someone there to guide me through the technology tunnel.  Questions become solutions with a "genius" by my side. There is no such thing as a stupid question, and not only have I found answers, I've also found life long friends.
Vacation photos became more than a stack of photos - you allowed us to make beautifully presented books that chronicled our dreams, wishes and aspirations. Because of your vision a dummy like me was able to put together videos using iMovie about a new animal rescue group that stirred the heart and soul, and made people understand what Animal Rescue Corps was all about. Because of you, 1,000s of animals have now been saved. I've been able to watch my grandchildren grow up on my iPad using FaceTime, and have been able to experience their first time to roll over, steal home base and fall in love. it seems if there is ever something you need, "There's and App For That".
You have not only changed the world, you have made it a better place to be. Your passion and vision has changed all of us, and I thank you. You will be missed, and never forgotten.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lush Cosmetics Fights Animal Cruelty Beautifully

One of this Lifestylist's favorite beauty stores is Lush Cosmetics. I discovered them years ago in England and Canada, and I'm thrilled they now have a store in NorthPark Center here in Dallas. They specialize in natural products, including Henna which is the secret of how I stay a natural redhead ;)
They are wonderful about bringing animal cruelty to light and promoting sustainable environmental practices and the humane treatment of animals. This summer they have been focusing on Shark Finning, and have partnered with Shark Savers to protect sharks from extinction.
To support this cause they have produced "Shark Fin Soap" - a refreshing blend of lime, lavender and seaweed. Stop in to your local Lush store and buy this great way to cool down this summer and support a great cause. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Shark Savers.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Life is a Beach

My grand-kids life in Orlando, so they have been to all of the theme parks and other venues there more times than I want to think about. This visit I wanted to do something different, and thought we would visit some of the local spots that are more about lifestyle appreciation and less about spending a large sum of money to be entertained.
Our first stop was the Morse Museum in Winter Park. When I was in Orlando this year acting as the Lifestylist® on The New American Home, one of the neighbors told me about this amazing museum. It was breathtaking, and their collection of Tiffany glass and jewelry was unbelievable. At first the kids didn't want to go, but once we got there they loved it and we stayed for over 2 hours. My daughter joined with an annual membership so they can go back often. I'm going to talk more about this gem in a later post, but it's a must see.
My son and daughter-in-law are expecting  a new baby into this world soon, so we all decided to go down to West Palm a day before their baby shower and spend a night at the beach. We chose the Hilton at Singer Island which was right in the beach, and under $200.00. This costs much less than 4 of us going to one of the Orlando theme parks, we could take our own food and snacks, and besides food and lodging it was free!
It was great to see these Jr. Lifestylists put down their video games and enjoy nature. Jenna and I went and explored a reef at low tide, and Christian and I ventured out on the full moon lit evening to search for the sea turtles that were coming in to lay their eggs. Magical memories that none of us will forget.
The baby is expected in a month - I'm thinking there may be some more beach time in our future while we wait!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Jr Lifestylists Help Collect Donations For Animal Rescue Corps

What an amazing week! Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber was able to be part of a very important animal rescue in Kaufman County, Texas that was planned and executed by Animal Rescue Corps. It's one thing to hear about puppy mills and the horrible conditions these poor animals have to live in, but it's another to actually be able to see it for yourself. The animals arrive terrified and filthy -many of them have never actually stood on solid ground before because they are kept in wire cages and are surrounded with urine and feces - even the ones with babies. After a few short days of love and attention they leave having hope, and there is no better feeling in the world!
We were able to interview Scotland Haisley - the leader of this amazing organization and find out how others can get involved, especially kids. Take a look at our interview, then go to www.animalrescuecorps.org and become a part of the solution! You can also get up to the minute information by "liking" them on Facebook.
These rescues are very expensive to make happen, and without very needed funds for this group we won't be able to end the suffering. I'm looking forward to the next rescue and being able to share the results here!
Thanks to Kristina Bowman for the photography of this amazing rescue.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Animal Rescue Corps Saves Animals from Puppy Mill

Animal Rescue Corps has been busy in Tennessee this week saving over 120 animals from a life of squalor and sadness.  Devoted volunteers have been working night and day to give these animals a better life, and the outpouring of love and compassion from the people of Tennessee as well as others from all over the country has been amazing.
One of these amazing volunteers is Rachel McAuley. She and her severely handicapped daughter run their own non-profit with horses, and Rachel has spent several days at the ARC shelter helping out with this rescue. Rachel decided to do a "Letters to the Puppy Mill Dogs" event, and her daughter Mary who is 9 years old shared the following:
Hello Puppy Dogs,
My name is Mary and I have Special Needs just like you have Special Needs. I can't walk because I am in a wheelchair and your past has kept you from walking due to cages, but don't worry because your little paws are about to hit the ground. I can't talk like you, but I can express myself with my eyes, sounds, and body language just like you. You have special needs that includes someone taking care of you all day with the respect that you deserve. I wear diapers and you use potty pads. I like the couch and you will like the top of a couch someday or a lap to lay on or a pillow to lay above your owners head. I like to be recognized, just like you want to be recognized. I love my parents arms and you are getting that feeling right now being in someone's arms. Isn't it nice, warm, and a safe feeling? Don't worry my friends because you are going to get to experience this world that includes grass, playgrounds, children, and the roam of a house.

Make sure puppy dogs, that you Thank Animal Rescue Corps for coming to get each and everyone of you and the volunteers that are snuggling you up, by not biting when they put their hand in the cage to care for you.
You are Special!  Sleep Tight and Hang Tight because your world is about to be full of colors.
"God is always on your side, after all He created you."
Trust Me,
Mary McAuley (9 years old)
My mom can type my heart!

If this doesn't make you love and appreciate everything you have and cherish what an amazing role model Mary is to all of us...
Please help support Animal Rescue Corps and the amazing work they are doing. My very own special 9 yr. old Jr. Lifestylist® Jenna made her birthday party a fundraiser for Animal Rescue Corps - if she can help you can as well!
This Lifestylist® is trying to do her part by opening a store on eBay, and at least 10% of all of our sales will be donated to Animal Rescue Corps. All of these haunting photos were taken by the talented and compassionate Kristina Bowman.
Please join us in making a difference!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Good Manners Never Go Out of Style

The world lost a very special person today - Elizabeth Taylor. She always handled herself with grace and dignity, and was a wonderful role model for all of us who were fortunate enough to grow up watching her on the silver screen. As a board member of the USA Film Festival, I've learned never to form an opinion about someone until I meet them in person, and sadly Ms. Taylor is one that I would have given anything to meet but it wasn't meant to be.
Denise Vivaldo - who is one of my favorite writers as well as being my role model in the styling world just posted a story in the Huffington Post about her encounter with Ms. Taylor. It makes me love Denise and Ms. Taylor even more. The title of the story is Elizabeth Taylor: Good Manners Never Go Out of Style and I couldn't agree more.
This weekend I was working with photographer Lisa Stewart LifeStyling Savor Dallas- a special food and wine event that I enjoy attending every year. To make the shots Lifestylist® Designed, I take my own glasses, plates, and styling utensils and try to get at least 50 great food and wine shots in about a 2 hour time frame - and did I mention we do this while the event is going on and we have to work around 2,000 -3,000 attendees? It's quite a juggling act. What struck me the most about this year's event was the lack of courtesy shown to the chefs and wine makers by the attendees. The whole point of an event like this is to educate people about your food and your wines, and hopefully they will come to your restaurant or buy your wines after the event is over. You would have thought some of these people were trying to win a million dollars by snagging the most to eat and drink -we were literally getting pushed and stepped on when we were trying to set up our shots, and people were taking the food that I styled right off of the plate (my plate) before we got get it photographed. The wine makers didn't have a chance to tell about their wines, because someone else was already putting out their empty glass to be filled.
Good manners never go out of style, and I'm actually appreciating the manners that my parents drilled into me at an early age. I never want to be the one pushing for a glass of wine or a dime sized piece of cheese - I want to remain a Lifestylist® and savor every moment and experience that I get to indulge in. Thanks Denise for this wonderful memory I will now have of Ms. Taylor and the reminder to live our lives with the dignity that others have shown us.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Have You Joined Animal Rescue Corps?

Finally! A group that is focused on Animal Rescue. Animal Rescue Corps is a new group that was started by Scotlund Haisley and his talented team that has more than 40 years collective experience in animal protection. As a Lifestylist®, I'm thrilled to be involved with this wonderful, important organization.
To make people aware of the group, Animal Rescue Corps is holding a drawing. Simply share your email address with them if you haven't already, and you will automatically be entered into a random drawing for a Valentine's gift package that includes: ARC gear, dog & cat goodies, and movie memorabilia from ARC's own Elaine Hendrix.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Gifts From The Heart

Valentines Day is almost here! I love making gifts for my family, friends and clients, and this is the goodie they always ask for.
At the recent IBS Show in Orlando I had my granddaughter help me make up some cookies and candy that I brought to the NAHB staff and to my favorite clients - it was a huge success. That is one of the important parts of being a Lifestylist® to me - using my talents to bring joy to others.
I've been entering variations of this toffee in the State Fair of Texas for years and this is the version that everyone asks for.
The key to candy making is having a good thermometer, and when I invested in a digital one it made all of the difference in the world. As soon as the temperature gets up to around 250 degrees start watching very closely - it will get to the optimum temperature quickly and if it heats to even 5 degrees more than it should it will burn. Enjoy!

Texas Butter Pecan Toffee
Ingredients:
1 lb Texas pecans
1 lb butter + 2 tablespoons butter for pecans
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup light Karo syrup
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 lb chocolate chips
Directions:
In a skillet, stir butter and pecans together - cook over a low heat until lightly toasted. Remove from heat.
In a medium saucepan combine the rest of the butter, sugar, water and Karo syrup. Stir until mixture comes to a boil, then continue to cook without stirring until mixture reaches a temperature of 290 degrees. Stir in half of the pecans to mixture and turn out onto a 12” x 18” baking sheet. Sprinkle top with chocolate chips and spread after they melt - then sprinkle rest of pecans on top and allow to cool. Break into bite sized pieces.