Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays From The Lifestylist®

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Lifestylist® Breakfast Biscuits

Anyone who reads this blog knows this Lifestylist® is not keen on mixes, but I'm going to make an exception with this recipe.
Breakfast is a hard meal for me, and I know that my daughter has a tough time getting something healthy into my grandkids before they all head out to school. This is the LifestylistFood® version of a recipe I found on Pinterest, and I'm crazy about it! It's easy enough that the kids can make them themselves. By adding the ham and cheese you get some nutrients that can hold you over until lunch, and these are so moist you don't need butter or anything else on them. Be sure not to substitute something else for the buttermilk - it gives these the moistness and kick that makes these so special.
Breakfast Biscuits
Ingredients:
1/4 cup lean ham, sliced and chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups Bisquick®
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put all ingredients into a bowl and stir just until combined. Scoop into buttered muffin tins, and bake 15-18 minutes or until tops are lightly browned.

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.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thermador and Sur La Table - a Perfect Pairing


It's hard to believe that this Lifestylist® made it  through another year of The State Fair of Texas cooking contests! I am thrilled with the ribbons I won, and even though I missed a few of the contests I usually enter so I could take part in the Thermador Design Council, the information I received (as well as being pampered and having a chef cook almost every meal for us) was better than any ribbon.
When I'm thinking about what I want to enter and I'm looking for those special tools, Sur La Table is always my first stop. After I bought a digital candy thermometer there I started winning in the candy contests and now I can't imagine life without it. I also know they will always have the perfect pan, cruet, or sea salt to make my entries stand out.
A few years ago I was fortunate enough to get to photograph an event at the Dallas Sur La Table that was a book signing with Martha Stewart! For three hours I had a chance to see this icon in person, and for the record she could not have been more gracious. The Sur La Table team made the event go seamlessly, and everyone had a wonderful time.
When I was at the Thermador Culinary Center last week I heard great news - Sur La Table is now featuring Thermador appliances in many of their kitchens! Now you have the opportunity to take some of their cooking classes and be able to try out the steam oven and many of the other innovations that Thermador offers.
Thermador and Sur la Table - I can't think of a better pairing!

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.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Portfolio Kitchen and Home Opens Flagship Store in Kansas City

Congratulations to Thermador and Geri Higgins for the opening of the Portfolio Flagship store in Kansas City. There will be a functioning Thermador Culinary Studio in the store and Thermador's executive chef Brad Peterson will be conducting cooking classes and demonstrations during the opening.
Geri is on the Thermador National Design Council with Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber, and we are hoping an invitation comes our way so we can see this beautiful new location in person!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Holy Guacamole!

VIEW VIDEO"Staycations" seem to be a trend that continues to be popular, and when we went to the Gaylord Texan this week to observe their Jr. Chef Camp it looked like the place to be! Of course "it is always 72 degrees at The Gaylord Texan" so with it being so hot outside, it's a great place to spend a summer weekend.
Chef Joanne Bondy and her team do an amazing job teaching kids what it's like to work in a restaurant kitchen, and one of the teams this week learned how to make guacamole. I loved the fact their wasn't a video game in site, and these kids were having a blast!
To learn more about Chef Bondy and the different activities that she does at the Gaylord, "like" her on Facebook or follow her tweets @joannebondy.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The American Dream

We all have our own version of what the American Dream is - for many that includes owning your own home.
My dream was to have my own Home Idea Factory - a place where this Lifestylist® could live and work, would have the character that would let me "practice what I preach" and have some room to garden. I was also hoping to have enough space to continue to help with the animal rescue groups I've joined. All of my dreams came true, and now I have a space that will never be "done", but always evolving.
My father told my mother when they got married that some day he would buy her a place on a lake, and he did! Their Hideway Lake home has been the place that many of our family holidays, wedding, and birthdays have taken place, and it is full of wonderful memories.
There are people who are looking for an affordable place with a yard to raise their families, use as a second home or retire to and land lease communities can be a great solution for these people. Land lease communities are those where factory built housing are placed in communities where homeowners lease the land the homes are placed on in a community - many times with amenities such as pools, clubhouses, and tennis courts. I have always believed this is the perfect solution for affordable housing because it can be so cost effective, and I've been wanting to be a part of this solution hands on.
The time has come! Lifestylist® Design has been asked to re-brand and enhance the lifestyle options of two communities in Florida - Parkwood in Port Orange, FL and Countryside Village in Tampa. I can't wait to get started - these communities are a great example of how affordable the American Dream can be. Be sure to get our updates on the progress at Parkwood and Countryside Village Facebook pages.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fresh Mango Coconut Cobbler

It's mango season! I was just visiting the Volman family near Boca Raton FL and they had a mango tree in their backyard that was full of fruit. I promised I'd share this recipe with them - it's one of my favorites. If you don't have fresh mangos try frozen or one of the frozen tropical fruit mixes you can find at the store.
Mango Coconut Cobbler
Ingredients:
1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
1/2 Cup Butter, softened
4 Cups Fresh or frozen mango, or Tropical Fruit - cubed (mango, papaya, pineapple and strawberries)
2 Cups Water
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Coconut, flaked
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl mic cake mix with softened butter - set aside.  In an oblong pan place tropical fruit, add water and sugar then stir. Crumble butter and cake mix mixture on top of fruit, then sprinkle with coconut.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

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

It's Time to Get Corny

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.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Perfect Pasta Salad

It's Memorial Day weekend, and lucky for me the Dallas Farmers Market is full of locally grown produce that offers me endless opportunities for fast, fresh meals. I've started making at least one trip there a week to stock up on what's in season.
This pasta salad is one of my favorite "go to" recipes, and can be changed by adding your favorite vegetables or what is in season. We made it a little more healthy today by using whole wheat pasta.
If you are in a lazy cook mood, try buying a cucumber tomato salad already prepared at your local deli and just add the pasta.

Perfect Pasta Salad
(1) fresh tomato, diced
(1) Avocado, sliced
(1) Cucumber, peeled and diced
1/2 Red Onion, chopped
1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped (dill is a great substitution if you prefer)
8 oz. pasta of your choice cooked, drained and chilled - I like rotini
3 T. Red wine vinegar
1 t. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 c. Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta in boiling water, drain and cool to at least room temperature. While pasta is cooling, chop and slice avocado then toss in lemon juice. Peel and slice other vegetables, then place in serving bowl. Add cooled pasta, oil and vinegar and toss, then add salt and pepper to taste.

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.