Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Would You Live in a Mobile Home or Trailer Park?

Words can be such powerful things. Every time I hear "trailer park" or "mobile home" I cringe - mostly because of the stereotypes that go along with these two phrases. I've become intrigued lately with land lease communities - the beautiful areas that factory built housing can be sited and you lease the land that your home sits on. Many of these communities have pools, golf courses, clubhouses - everything you need for resort style living. Plus many of these are in dramatic locations such as Oceanside, near ski slopes or in the mountains in areas you could never afford.
Today's factory built housing hardly resembles the mobile homes of yesteryear - the only constant is that they both arrive on wheels. Factory built homes are built to national specifications, and are built to last using the same products that are found in most site built homes. The biggest difference I tend to see is that factory built homes usually offer more cabinets and counter space in the kitchens and baths!
I'm looking forward to sharing my journey with you as I discover some of the finest land lease communities, and I'm hoping to be working on some Lifestylist® Designed Homes just for these communities as well.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sweet Dreams

Nothing is more important than a good nights sleep. If we don't have the right support from the mattress, the right pillows or the right temperature in the room, sleep might not come easily.
When LifeStyling the corporate apartments for The Hammocks at Timber Banks and Southern Hills, I wanted to be sure that the they truly felt like a home away from home and the clients would enjoy their stay. I stayed in some of the apartments designed by other companies to get a feel of what worked and what didn't, and spent a lot of time speaking with residents and getting a feel for the lifestyle of each and what made them unique. Having a comfy sofa and a flat screen TV was important, but nothing was more important than the bed.
As a Lifestylist® I always take into consideration how a bed fits into a room, and Ashley Furniture now offers beautiful beds with a low foot board or platform that makes any room still feel spacious. Many companies (and consumers)use just a metal frame and no headboard with their beds, but by using a headboard, foot board and rails you create a much more stable platform for your bed which adds support to the mattress. Plus it looks so much better! Be sure to check out the new options that Ashley Homestores offer - great value and style.
An area that I won't ever compromise on is the mattresses and pillows. We use a pillowtop that offers a great nights sleep that was manufactured to our specifications by a local company, and I found pillows that I love at KMart - under $10 but they feel much more expensive.
One of my biggest surprise finds was Sears - I found a "Bed in a Bag" they offered for under $50.00 online! A Bed in a Bag includes a comforter, dust ruffle, shams, and a complete set of linens. Something to always watch out for when choosing a comforter that you will use every day is to make sure it is washable, and this set was. When they arrived I was thrilled to see that they were well made, and in beautiful, happy colors.
As I always say, great design doesn't have to be expensive, and these are great examples of that. I know I'll be adding Sears and KMart to my shopping resources now, and I'll be sure to share with you other great buys that I find.

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!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Thermador Shares Recipe for all Ages

As a Lifestylist®, I am always on the go. I have opportunities coat to coast, and often get to spend evenings with friends and family experiencing their homes and their lifestyles. There is nothing I enjoy more than an evening at home - either mine, or my friends. For these special evenings I like to have recipes that are my "go-to's" that I can prepare and share.
I'm honored to be on the Design Council for Thermador Appliances, and on a recent visit to their amazing Thermador showroom in Scottsdale, AZ -they put us to work. We got to experience these appliances first hand, and prepared a fabulous dinner that we all enjoyed. My favorite item of all things that we prepared was the Creamed Spinach - who knew? Thermador shared the recipe with me, and since then it has become one of my favorite recipes to share. When I just got to spend some time with my grandkids we prepared this together and they loved it! Thank you Thermador for sharing this great, simple recipe that everyone enjoys. I'm going to return the favor and share it with you here.

Creamed Spinach
5 lbs. of fresh spinach, cleaned of stems and rinsed
1/4 cup butter
1 shallot, fine dice
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. nutmeg
1 C. heavy cream
shredded Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste
Bring a large stockpot full of water to a boil. Blanche the spinach for only 10 seconds.
Put blanched spinach in a colander and press out as much liquid as possible, then chop.
Melt the butter in a large rimmed skillet over medium heat and add the shallot and garlic. Cook until tender, about 4 minutes.
To that, add the drained spinach, nutmeg and heavy cream. Bring to a light simmer.
Transfer to a bowl and using an immersion blender, blend the ingredients to a uniform consistency.
Place in a heat proof serving bowl and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Place under broiler until cheese is golden brown - enjoy!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Corn Season Arrives in TX

Right now it's corn season in Texas! The Dallas Farmers Market has a great selection, and even many of the grocery stores are featuring locally grown sweet corn.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy this seasonal favorite is Chef Joanne Bondy's Habanero Cream Corn. Joanne is the Executive Chef at the Old Hickory restaurant at the Gaylord Texan. Part of the summer series at the Gaylord is Jr. Chef Camp, and this dish is always one of the favorites that that kids prepare.
If you can't get to the Gaylord Texan to enjoy this dish, Chef Bondy has shared the recipe here so you can try it at home.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Farm to Market

This Lifestylist® is so fortunate to be close to a great farmers market. The Dallas Farmers Market is open 365 days a year, and I love how they make sure  you know which the local farmers and produce are.
One of my favorite farmers is Lemleys which has had a stall for as long as I can remember. If you want great tomatoes and peaches, this is definitely the place. They are so nice, and Mr. Lemley is often there on weekends sharing his knowledge.
Not only does buying from farmers help support the local economy, it also is an excellent way to save money and eat healthy. Search out your local farmers market and find out what a difference it can make in your lifestyle.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Non-Logic of Delta Airlines

I knew it was too good to be true - my last flight on Delta Airlines I had a great pilot who actually made me feel good about giving Delta my hard earned dollars. The honeymoon didn't last long - less than a week later and their lack of logic rears it's ugly head again.
My next flight is an exciting one - I'm getting to go and visit my kids and grandkids, and attend the shower for my soon to be new grandson! Fares have dropped since I booked it, and I thought I'd try to get in a little earlier so 10 days out, I tried to change my reservations. Keep in mind I've flown almost 1,000,000 miles and I'm part of their "elite" group.
First I went to their website and they only showed flights with crazy connections, so I called and tried to change it the old fashioned way. I won't bore you with the details, but they informed me that it would cost me over $450.00 even though the cost of the flight had gone down! So I said that I would just buy a one way ticket which was now $114.00, but Janelle replied she would still charge me $450.00 because I would be "flying out of sequence". I asked then why I was being penalized for paying for 2 tickets and only using one, and she said it was because there would be an empty seat, and they might have been able to sell it for over $300.00. When I said none of this was logical, she said to fly with someone else then. Did I mention this was a supervisor?
If I ran my business like this I'd be out of business. A Lifestylist® understands that it's all about you, the customer - Your Life. Your Style. Your Way.  This is why Southwest Airlines is so successful - they appreciate you and make flying logical!