5/31/10

Celebrating Summer

Summer is definitely here, and I decided to celebrate this Memorial Day weekend by trying out my Lifestylist® skills making something I've been craving - homemade ice cream. Lucky for me JC Penney had a great sale on so I got a great deal on my new Cuisinart Flavor Duo and it's exactly what I wanted - easy prep and cleanup and you don't need a bunch of items that you already wouldn't have around the house. No rock salt needed - this uses two freezer bowls that easily fit and can stay in your freezer. I LOVE that it has the two separate bowls so you can make two different flavors at the same time without making more than you can eat in a weekend.

For my test run I opted for a fresh peach ice cream using peaches grown at the wonderful Lemley Farms in Tyler. They have a stall at our local Farmers Market and I couldn't pass them up. I like a custard style ice cream which means you have to do some cooking but it was well worth it. There are some recipes in the instruction manual for ice cream where you just add ingredients - no cooking necessary.

The entire process could not have been easier, and sitting on the porch eating fresh ice cream brought back such great memories of the times our family shared when we all got together of all of the holidays. Now I can't wait for my grandkids to visit so I can make some ice cream and memories with them as well.

5/23/10

Buying Local

Today was a great day - I got a lot of work done on my gardens then we went to our local farmers market to pick up some goodies for the week.
The Home Idea Factory is in an area of Dallas called Oak Cliff and we are very fortunate because we are close to town but it's an older established area that is really coming into it's own. Some amazing restaurants have opened, I've heard there is now an organic coop and now we even have our own coffee company - Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters. So today we picked up some coffee, and sampled our way through the local farmer stalls at the Dallas Farmers Market. Local peaches were just coming into season and there also was a bounty of tomatoes, onions, squash and cucumbers. It's going to be a healthy tasty week around here!
Some vendors are only there weekends and we discovered the Lucky Layla Farms which had amazing cheeses. I bought the Fresh Campesino which was perfect with my tomatoes, avocados and cucumbers for lunch. I'm going to make some homemade ice cream to use with the peaches for dessert.
One of the best things about being a Lifestylist is getting to explore what's out there and figure out how to make it approachable and accessible. I was amazed how much I saved by buying at the farmers market vs. a typical grocery store - I got 5 huge beautiful tomatoes that were picked that morning for $1 each! My goodies helped me make a quick and healthy lunch for under $1.50 per serving.
We have got to support our local farmers and businesses. The Lemley family has been bring exceptional tomatoes, peaches and other produce to the farmer's market for over 30 years. I know that a lot of the better restaurants in town also buy from them and I can't imagine a summer without their goodies. It's exciting to have all of these choices now and I plan on supported them so they are here for years to come.

Buying Local

Today was a great day - I got a lot of work done on my gardens then we went to our local farmers market to pick up some goodies for the week.

The Home Idea Factory is in an area of Dallas called Oak Cliff and we are very fortunate because we are close to town but it's an older established area that is really coming into it's own. Some amazing restaurants have opened, I've heard there is now an organic coop and now we even have our own coffee company - Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters. So today we picked up some coffee, and sampled our way through the local farmer stalls at the Dallas Farmers Market. Local peaches were just coming into season and there also was a bounty of tomatoes, onions, squash and cucumbers. It's going to be a healthy tasty week around here!

Some vendors are only there weekends and we discovered the Lucky Layla Farms which had amazing cheeses. I bought the Fresh Campesino which was perfect with my tomatoes, avocados and cucumbers for lunch. I'm going to make some homemade ice cream to use with the peaches for dessert.

One of the best things about being a Lifestylist is getting to explore what's out there and figure out how to make it approachable and accessible. I was amazed how much I saved by buying at the farmers market vs. a typical grocery store - I got 5 huge beautiful tomatoes that were picked that morning for $1 each! My goodies helped me make a quick and healthy lunch for under $1.50 per serving.

We have got to support our local farmers and businesses. The Lemley family has been bring exceptional tomatoes, peaches and other produce to the farmer's market for over 30 years. I know that a lot of the better restaurants in town also buy form them and I can't imagine a summer without their goodies. It's exciting to have all of these choices now and I plan on supported them so they are here for years to come.

Andrew Davis Signs with Bradley Braves

I am so proud of my nephew Andrew Davis - this week he signed with Division 1 team Bradley Braves to play college basketball on their team. I've known him since the beginning and I can honestly say not only is he a great basketball player but he's also an amazing human being. Intelligent, funny, caring, and always a delight to be around. My grandchilden absolutely adore him and he always makes time for them, even when it involves Andrew being a human jungle jim!

If you haven't seen Andrew play you should make a point this year to watch some of the Bradley games. I know one of the reasons he decided to go to Bradley was the quality and integrity of the coaching staff and I can't wait to be front and center at some of his games. Go Braves! This Lifestylist® promises to be one of your biggest fans.

5/21/10

Wegmans Celebrates 13 Years on the 100 Best Companies to Work For List

I know I've shared my Wegmans love here before, but it's great to see I'm not the only one who is crazy about this company and the great people who work there.
On my recent visit to Rochester I stopped in at the Pittsford store to get my goodies to take back to Texas with me - whenever I get the chance to head that way I bring an extra suitcase and cooler so I can bring all of my favorites back with me. One of my new favorites is the Nance's Hot Mustard that I haven't seen anywhere but there and now that my Texas friends have tried it they all want me to bring back some for them as well. I had probably a dozen of them in my cart and I think 3 or 4 employees stopped me and joked about I must be from out of town if I'm buying that much Nance's, and we talked about what a great store Wegmans is and how lucky Rochester residents are to have that resource in their own back yard. After grabbing my Killer Brownies, Ultimate Chocolate Chip cookies, Carrot Cake, and the classic slice of Ultimate Chocolate Cake, I checked out and headed to the airport. Trust me, the minute you walk into a Wegmans no matter what store or city you are visiting you can feel the positive energy and enthusiasm these team members bring to work. I'm not sure many of them even think of it as work, more like a calling. You can't not be in a great mood by the time you leave, especially if you were fortunate enough to bring home some of the fruits and vegetables straight from the Wegmans farm or a beautiful bunch of fresh flowers.
It was great to see on my receipt that Wegmans was on the Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work for list for the 13th year. I know if I lived in Rochester I would love to work for them. Congratulations to the entire Wegmans team for this great honor. If you see someone strolling through the aisles with a basket full of Nance's mustard, it's probably this Lifestylist - please come over and say hello!

Cavco Industries Named Manufacturer of the Year

Congratulations are in order for Cavco Industries that was just named 2010 Manufacturer of the Year by the Manufactured Housing Institute. Cavco recently acquired Fleetwood Homes and I'm excited to see what the blending of these two great companies will mean for our industry.

I've had the pleasure to work with General Manager Craig Calkins and the team at Cavco Homes of Texas - they build an amazing home that is a great value. Their show houses and decors last year were Lifestylist Designed and I couldn't be more proud of what we were able to accomplish.

If you haven't taken a look at what Cavco and Fleetwood have to offer, now might be a great time to do so - I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

5/16/10

Lifestylist Designed Home Debuts in Frisco, TX

American Custom Builders is inviting neighbors and interested buyers to it's Sneak Peek Sunday today from 1-3pm. Take advantage of the opening to view our latest Lifestylist Designed home and see for yourself this fresh approach to home building and design. All of the furniture is from the local Ashley HomeStore and consumers can go and purchase almost everything they see in the homes themselves. This new marketing approach to model home merchandising is proving to be very successful - come and see the results!

Sneak Peek Sunday at Frisco Ranch

American Custom Builders is inviting neighbors and interested buyers to it's Sneak Peek Sunday today from 1-3pm. Take advantage of the opening to view our latest Lifestylist Designed home and see for yourself this fresh approach to home building and design. All of the furniture is from the local Ashley HomeStore and consumers can go and purchase almost everything they see in the homes themselves.

5/10/10

Champion Homes of Texas Debuts new Model

Our latest Lifestylist Designed Home debuted at the Great Southwest Home Show a few weeks ago and the response has been tremendous. The home was for Champion Homes of Texas, and it was a chance to show what the new Champion Homes is all about, and if you haven't take a look you need to  - great homes with great value and style.
Take a look at the article we wrote for MHMSM about the show to learn more about where the factory built housing market is heading.

5/4/10

Lifestylist Designed Merchandising

What a busy, busy month so far! Three models and a design center for three different clients in three different states - it looks like the Lifestylist Designed concept is gaining momentum.

Yesterday I was out working on the new model home for American Custom Builders in Frisco, TX and was fortunate enough to have the very talented Lisa Stewart of LAS Photo join me to take some preliminary photos. The home isn't done yet but we wanted to get an idea of what it would like like in photos. This has ended up being one of the more difficult homes that I've done, but I think it is going to also be one of the most successful. Using the Lifestylist Designed philosophy we have merchandised this home with items that can be purchased at stores within 10 miles of the home or online - all being within the budget of what a prospective homebuyer might want to spend. Drapes and rods are JCPenney or Bed Bath and Beyond, all furniture is from the Ashley HomeStores, and a lot of the artwork and accessories is from Wisteria - a great catalog resource. Pottery Barn Kids helped the children's rooms come to life, IKEA helped us stay in budget, and we even found a very cool resource here in Dallas - a consignment pool table company that got us an incredible deal on the pool table and they even picked it up and installed it for us!

American Custom Builders will now be working with the Ashley HomeStores so that their customers can go in and purchase what they see in the model, and we will be providing purchasing information on most of the items in the home. More information and photos to come - I'd love to have your feedback on what you think of the home and our concept.

5/3/10

Talented Friends

Be sure to check out the article in Elle Decor about Alice Cottrell's apartment this month. I'm honored to have this very special designer as a friend, and this is someone who get's the lifestylist concept. Her apartment is beautiful, but is also designed to make her beautiful rescue puppy Charlie feel right at home. Home Interiors that are right sized is definitely a growing trend - this home is only 700 sq. ft. but is designed to accommodate every need of the residents.