Getting a Healthy Start to 2013

Fiesta Salad 33With just a few more hours until 2013, we wanted to get an early start on some healthy recipes for the New Year.

We love using as many local foods as possible in our cooking, but winter limits what we can find.

Our New Beginnings Fiesta Salad uses Rotel - a great spicy tomato and chili mix that is low on calories but adds lots of flavor. When we make this in the summer we'll use fresh tomatoes, peas, and chilis but this is the perfect way to pay homage to the southern tradition of having black eye peas on New Years for luck.

You can find the recipe on our Lifestylist® recipe page. Happy New Year!

Keeping Your Favorite Products On Hand™

Help! The holidays are right around the corner, and I know I've got holidays items stashed from last year that I don't want to buy again.

Getting and keeping organized is not one of the things I'm best at, but as a Lifestylist®  I'm always trying out new products and ideas to help me stay focused and de-cluttered. And I found one that is so brilliant I can't believe someone hadn't thought of it before - On Hand™ by ODL.

With houses getting smaller and square footage being at a premium, ODL came up with a great way to go vertical and use an area that you already have in your home -doors. On Hand™ fits into a flush door and can be used in a solid core or specially braced hollow core door. It makes use of both sides of the door - one side gains valuable storage space and the other side become a display and communication area. Everything is adjustable and can be customized for your lifestyle.

I love this product because I am able to get smaller items out of the "mystery drawers" and put them in a place where I can actually find them. It's the ultimate way to organize spices, my canning supplies, and all of those kitchen gadgets I can't live without.

The drawers and cabinets in my bathroom always become a black hole as well - On Hand™ made it easy to find all of my girly stuff that I have to keep buying because I don't know where it went, bath products and even makeup.

In the utility room it became the pet organizer where I was able to hang leashes, collars, treats and there other goodies where they were easy to find and keep together.

The other side become a message center where you can write to do lists or phone messages on the glass with a erasable marker, and put soccer and bulky trash schedules behind the glass to keep up with everyone's schedules. I'm thinking it might also be the perfect place to display all of the Christmas cards we get this year as well.

I'm in love with this product, and I can't stop thinking about all of the fun ways I could incorporate this into The Home Idea Factory. My clients are loving it as well, and Reidman Development will be one of the first builders to offer it to their customers in their new Hammocks at Canandaigua.

This is a brand new product, but can find more information on the ODL website or feel free to contact us at: and we'll be happy to help you find a place that you can purchase this in your area.

Color Swatching

Color can be a very intimidating thing. The choices are limitless, and making a bad decision can haunt you for a long, long time.

When I first started doing model homes, the thought of making color selections terrified me. These colors would be in these models for years and could truly affect how well the homes sold. After I got over that initial fear I found out it's something that I'm really good at and by putting my Lifestylist® philosophy to work and listening to the client I was able to do some really exciting homes, including winning a National award from The National Association of Home Builders for Best Model Home Merchandising.

Lifestylist® Design has been a team member with Riedman Development for the Hammocks communities for over 10 years, and their latest community, The Hammocks at Canandaigua I think is going to be one of my favorites. It's in a beautiful area, and every time I visit I don't want to leave. I very much want the interiors and colors to reflect how truly special this community is, so finding the perfect paint colors has been top priority.

The way that I chose colors can be used by anyone, and it's a great way yo make sure that before you commit to painting an entire room you are sure that you've made the right choice.

1. Go With What You Love Most good paint stores can do color matching these days. If you have a favorite dish, leaf, piece of fabric, or even a photo of a home where you liked the wall color take it to your paint store and see what they can come up with. They will usually have a wall of paint chips that you can select from as well - before you buy choose your favorite chips and take them home to see how they look in your surroundings.

2. Try Before you Buy I thought I knew which color I wanted at the Hammocks, but after I brought it home and painted the actual color on a wall I realized it was too green. Most paint companies will now let you buy a little sample size - Sherwin Williams who is my favorite paint sold me a quart sample for around $6.00 which was a great investment. I painted some approx. 2' x 2' squares of each on my kitchen wall, because it got lots of direct and indirect light during the day and also because I knew if I made this commitment  it would force me into finally repainting this wall! I also walk by this wall all of the time, so by observing the colors in different weather and light I made a decision I'm thrilled with.

3. Prep Your Walls Properly They always say you get what you pay for, and this is especially true with contractors. When I first moved into the Home Idea Factory this wall wasn't finished, and the contractor I found did a lousy job tape and texturing it. The paint highlighted the flaws, so before I spend the money to re-paint it I'm going to be sure that the wall is taped properly and that all flaws, holes, etc have been filled in.

4. Paint Finishes Paint comes in different finishes including flat, eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss. Flat is usually the least expensive, but is also the most absorbent as far as fingerprints, grease, etc. and the hardest to clean. I usually go with a satin finish because I like the way it plays with light and is the easiest to keep clean, and use semi-gloss on my trim work it make it stand out. Keep in mind though that the more sheen the paint has, the more any imperfections you have on your walls or trim will stand out.

5. Tools Before you start, be sure that you have the right tools including a drop cloth, paint brushes, blue tape for masking off areas and a paint roller and pan. There are lots of cool products on the market to make painting easy for everyone.

Now that I've made my decision I can't wait to get started on my new projects - which paint color do you think I decided on? Which would you have chosen?


Factory Built Homes Offer The Best in Island Living

There's nothing I enjoy more than getting to go visit my kids and grandkids in Florida, and I'm always interested in what housing trends work for their lifestyles. My son-in-law made a great observation - they built a home that has a large open kitchen with an island, and he said they thought the kitchen was huge when they built it, now they wish it was larger - especially with a more functional island.

Factory built housing has been a trendsetter in this area for years, and the islands that you can find in a manufactured and modular home exceed what you find for the same value in site built homes. Besides being large they are functional and often offer seating, storage for small appliances, bookcases and enough countertop space to be able to cook for a crowd.

SE Homes excels in their island design, and the use of Formica's new 180f/x® laminates look like you have a granite or marble countertop without the price. SE Homes of Texas now offer a backsplash in their homes that looks like tine ceiling tiles - and the mix of these metals with the dark cabinets and granite-look countertops is stunning.

Factory built housing is all about achievable design, and many of the kitchens you find in these homes make you wonder why you would have considered anything else. Offers Design Intervention

This Labor Day weekend I'm laboring - but it's a labor of love. We just got floorplans for 5 new Lifestylist® Designed model homes for SE Homes of Texas so I'm busy looking through catalogs, websites and magazines looking for inspirations.

One of my favorite new places to go and look for new ideas is Houzz - a website that features the work of professionals and proud homeowners as well as showcasing cool new products for the home. Unlike other sites you won't find recipes or beauty secrets here - just great ideas on how you can create the home of your dreams.

I really like the people behind the scenes here as well - they featured a room that we LifeStyled in The New American Home, and afterwards I was fortunate enough to have a phone conversation with some of their marketing team. They won't share exactly how many subscribers they have to their site, but I can personally say I've been thrilled with how many people have discovered the Lifestylist® Brands there and have added some of our images to their Ideabooks.

If you need your own Design Intervention and are looking for some new ideas, take a look at out projects and Ideabook on our Houzz Lifestylist® page and let us know which images inspire you the most.

Are New Homes Becoming Bigger or Better?

This Lifestylist® spends a lot of time trend tracking so I can help my clients decipher what current fads and forecasting really applies to what they do and their customers. Something that seems to be getting a lot of "Buzz" recently is that people are no longer interested in the smaller sized homes that have been so popular in the last couple of years, but they are back to wanting more square footage.

This may sound good in a news article, but in fact what we are seeing is people want more liveable space - in other words, what they want is every square foot of their new home having a function and no wasted space that they have to heat, cool and clean. Living in a Home Idea Factory like I do may sound glamorous, but with all of this square footage comes a mountain of cleaning that needs to be done every day and maintenance that never ends.

Factory built housing has always been a great example of great use of space. Since every home is engineered, I'm always amazed with how large and functional the kitchens are in a small amount of space. Using as little space as possible for hallways can make a huge difference in the footprint of the home, and taking the time to "space plan" - seeing what furniture will work where and the traffic flow that will happen because of that furniture placement - can alleviate a lot of problems after the home is built.

This Champion Home is a great example. It is a model home in Hobbs, NM and I was asked to re-merchandise it so potential customers would get a better feel for the lifestyle that was possible with this home and how they could live and entertain in it.

What we changed was so successful they sold this home the first day! A rancher bought it and loved the mud room, large flowing entertainment areas, and the ranching lifestyle featured in the model.

When you are looking for your next home, have a seat in the model home and really think about the flow of the home and how your family will utilize every square foot of the home. You might be surprised at what you really do and do not need.

Seeing Red


























The trend lately seems to be warmer colors in home interiors, but when a home is all browns and neutrals it can lack character and personality.

Lifestylist Design® just finished merchandising a show home for SE Homes of Texas that was shown in Tulsa, and by adding some red furniture and accessories it completely changed the way the home felt and looked. Red is a color that I'm seeing more of in different design elements, and it is a great way to make a home memorable and to stand out.

Even a great barn red color on an exterior can be stunning, and a red door will always get attention. At the recent International Builders Show ODL had a very cool new door design - ARRAY - that was done in red. It was one of the stars of the show and I'm hoping to buy one for the Home Idea Factory and have it painted in red as well.

What 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 about "Life Celebrating Style". Our 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. They wanted to stylishly celebrate their interests and love of their home team and we did!

I just spoke to a friend who’s dog just dug up their 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. - we will be launching a new food line this Spring!

Hartford Insurance Penalizes Designers - MetLife Supports Them

Just when you think you have heard it all - I received an over 500% increase on my insurance rate with Hartford Insurance even though I have never filed a claim and there was no increase to my benefits! What's next - they provide insurance to the AARP - are they going to consider aging a high risk proposition as well?

They want to increase my rate by over $10,000 for no reason other than they can. This is money that could be used to help the worthwhile non-profits we are involved in like Animal Rescue Corps , HomeAid and Genesis Womens Shelter.

I just spoke with Louise Dunne, Assistant Director of Business Compliance with Hartford. She did not want to go on record or have me use her name, but she said that "my business had performed well with them" and the problem wasn't me, it was that I'm classified as a designer. What she shared was really disappointing as far as how Hartford views the design community, and she made it clear that they don't really understand what our industry is about or what we do.

Unlike Hartford, Met Life has chosen to embrace the design community and has been very supportive of The National Association of Home Builders, The National Sales and Marketing Council, the 50+ Housing Council and has also been a major sponsor of The Nationals - the competition that recognizes design and marketing excellence in the home building industry. Guess who I'll be giving my business to?

Lesson learned? Do business with an agent and an insurance company that you have a relationship with so they will take the time to understand you and your business. Saving a few dollars up front is not worth the headaches and frustration that can come with those savings down the road.

Palm Harbor Homes Showcases Great Style in Small Packages


The International Builders Show just ended in Orlando, FL and by the end it was apparent that the show home that attendees were buzzing about was the Net Zero Eco-Home by Palm Harbor Homes.

The home was part of the Professional Builder Show Village and was one of three that the Palm Harbor group brought to the show. Designer Tony Lucas out-did himself this year by creating floor plans and exteriors that gave builders another reason to take a look at factory built housing.

The Net Zero home was actually a "park model" which means that it is under 400 sq. ft. and is built to the RPTIA (Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association) building codes. Cavco Homes has always been a dominant participant in this type of building, and their acquisition of Palm Harbor last year has helped expand their presence in this market. It seems to be a team that is working - they delivered a home that was achievable to many of the attendees of the show and I heard many of them discussing how and where they would live in this home if it was theirs.

To see more images of this home, please check out our Facebook album at: and "like" us to let us know you want to see more!

Redefining Trends with Pinterest

Have you discovered Pinterest yet? The site describes itself as "an online pinboard where you can organize and share things you love". But it is truly so much more than that - words don't do justice to this site, it is definitely a visual experience.

Pinterest lets you do your own digital wish books where you can browse through thousands of images, recipes and inspirations that others have shared and "pin" them onto your own boards. You can also follow people's who have a style that you like, and share your favorite finds using Facebook or Twitter.

Our boards can be found at: take a look and let us know what you think. We'd love to see what your boards look like as well. Email us at: with your Pinterest name and we'll take a look.

The Lifestylist® Welcomes in 2012

Happy New Year from the Lifestylist® family! We are really excited about 2012 and the opportunities that will come with it.

A lot of being a Lifestylist® is about being a trend tracker and doing research. Today I read something that was written by someone else titled "Social Media Lifestylist Guidelines for 2012" - boy does that sound dull! The first thing that comes to mind is a big dusty manual full of rules and regulations, and that is exactly what social media (and being a Lifestylist®) is not about.

The tag line I have always used for my Lifestylist® brand is "It's All About You". I didn't want the brand to be about me telling people what to do - I wanted to listen to people's wants, needs, and dreams, and help them achieve those even when they didn't know that's what they were really searching for. I don't want to dictate, I want to educate. I've learned that listening is so much more important than anything I will ever have to say, because sometimes if you let people express their thoughts they will find their answers.

Social media is such an exciting new frontier because it gives everyone the chance to tell their story to the universe. It's become a great equalizer because almost anyone  on any budget can get access to a computer and a free site and share their thoughts.

There's a down side to this though as well -there's not as much editing as we've seen in the past. We have to learn that even though someone may have written it, there is the possibility it might not be true. Before we share or depend on information we find we have to be sure and check the facts. As the guardian of the Lifestylist® trademark for almost 10 years now I've seen how many people want to tie into my brand but aren't willing to go through the legal process to acquire a brand of their own.

So what are the real Lifestylist's guidelines for 2012? Never call them guidelines, live your life to the fullest, listen to those around you and you can never laugh too much or have too much great food and wine!

Here's to a boisterous 2012!