Top 10 Building Products for 2015

2015 was a very good year for the home building industry. Interest rates are still low and there are lots of new innovative products and designs being introduced to consumers.

Candy’sDirt.com asked Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber to create a LifestylistList for 2015, and to say it was difficult to narrow it down to 10 products is an understatement!

Here’s the LifestylistList for 2015.

In a few days we’ll be heading back to Las Vegas for the 2016 Design and Construction Week – be sure and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter , Pinterest and Google+ to see real time the new products and trends we discover at the show.

Creating Memories on Memorial Day

Smith35 copySmith201 copySmith tifScan 121030 0021 2 copyMemorial Day weekend has always been one of my favorites. It held the promise that school was almost over, Summer vacation was just around the corner, and we would be heading to the family farm in Erie, Pennsylvania to spend time with my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

I feel so blessed to have had such great experiences – our family has always been very close and full of role models that to this day I look up to.

I love every community I get to work on, but being asked to be the Lifestylist® for The Hammocks at Millcreek has a very special meaning to me. I’m in a way getting to go home – to share all of the reasons I love Erie with people who will be able to call The Hammocks home.

Please “like” their Facebook page and visit their website to learn why The Hammocks at Millcreek should be your new home.

Happy Mothers Day!

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Happy Mothers Day! I was reminded today as to why I became a Lifestylist® – my mother is the perfect example of who to live your life with style. We celebrated with homemade cinnamon buns and a cruise around their lake – how did you celebrate with your Mom?

Kitchen Trends in 2013

Thermador Oct 11 29t’s looking like this Lifestylist® is going to be spending a lot more time in the kitchen this year, and we couldn’t be more excited! Our test kitchen is coming along really well, and we have a lot of kitchens we are designing for clients which is always lots of fun.

January is going to be a month spent on the road. Besides working with all of our clients we have been invited to the beautiful Thermador flagship design center to see what’s new as well as work on new appliances for the future.

The International Builders Show will be taking place in Las Vegas, and it is always a great source of trends in home design.

We’ll have lots to talk about and share, and we are also anxious to know what you think about the new trend to brighter, whiter kitchens. Susan Serra, one of the premiere kitchen designers just did an article for Cultivate on Kitchen Predictions for 2013 that has lots of great information so we wanted to share. What do you think will be the top kitchen trend in 2013?

Shaw Living Debuts New Area Rug Collections

Today is an absolutely perfect day The weather has cooled off to where I’m thinking about changing my home decor to suit the cooler temperatures. – it sounds like a lot of work, but a few changes can make all of the difference in how you enjoy your home. One of my favorite ways to warm things up is with area rugs.

One of my designers with Shaw Living just sent me a copy of their 2010 introductions and they are stunning! Whether you are looking for a bold, urban look or a more classic pattern they have something for you and the colors are right on trend.They also have rugs in their Ever-Touch yarns which feel amazing underfoot or make a great place to lay down and watch the football games.

With hard flooring surfaces becoming more popular every day, and area rug is a great way to add color and warmth. This is a model home for American Custom Builders that was Lifestylist® Designed, and you can see what a difference it made adding this Shaw area rug. It was a long, narrow space and the rug helped add color and define the space. In The Home Idea Factory I have summer rugs that are lighter and in more coastal textures, and in the fall I bring out my area rugs that are in deep, rich colors. Add a few new pillow covers and a throw on the sofa and I’m ready to go!

Restrepo: A Must See Movie

I’m a huge believer that things happen for a reason. We may not know why at the time, but people, places, and events come into our lives because there’s something we need to learn or change.

The USA Film Festival has been a part of my life for over 20 years – a good friend was in the film industry here in Dallas and got me involved. It’s been a wonderful organization that my kids have grown up being a part of as well. We now have friends and memories that will last us a lifetime. When I got the screening notice for the USA Film Festival screening of Restrepo I was intrigued- not the type of film I would normally watch but worth taking an evening to stop working and go see. I had no idea how my life would change by this decision as it has with many of the other films I’ve been able to see as part of the festival.

If you haven’t been fortunate enough to hear about this film, I’m honored to fill you in. Restrepo is a documentary about a platoon that is stationed at a 15 man outpost in one of the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan – Restrepo. What this film isn’t about is politics. One of the reasons I love it so much is when I sat down in the theater I thought I’d be watching a film about a war, instead I was treated to a visual and emotional  rollercoaster which by the end had me experiencing every emotion and left me wanting to see the film again, and again, and again. I thought I could come home and write about what I saw, but it’s been really hard to put into words my emotions about what I watched. I just can’t stop thinking about the film and the men in it, but I consider that a great thing because it’s made me re-evaluate lots of things in my own life.

Directors’ Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger didn’t shoot this on a sound stage, have a 100 million dollar budget or spend their time interviewing generals – they personally spent 14 months with the courageous men of Restrepo doing the filming and everything the soldiers do except guard duty and shooting back during firefights. This is what makes the film so special – they became a part of the troop and were able to capture the very personal side of war.

As a Lifestylist® I spend a lot of time listening and watching to understand the needs and lifestyles of the client. Watching the film and having the opportunity to meet some of these courageous men has given me an entirely new insight on the sacrifice the men and women of our military make for us every day. National Geographic Entertainment is presenting this film and the director’s uncanny gift of showing you details that you normally would overlook but you’ll now never forget reminds me of the style I love in their media. Bullet shells falling into the soldiers shoe during a gun fight, children in the middle of a burned out war zone in brightly colored clothes, soldiers struggling to carry on after losing one of their own, and most of all looking into the faces and eyes of these very brave men – many who don’t even look old enough to drive but are protecting our country.

We were so honored to have director Tim Hetherington and two of the soldiers from Restrepo at the screening to share their thoughts and experiences with us. Respect is something that is earned, and you could tell that all of these men respected each other. Another thing I loved about the film was the way it portrayed the personal side of these men, and even though they were in a war zone they still loved to play practical jokes on each other and just laugh sometimes. USA Film Festival hosted a reception after the film and we were able to ask more questions and learn more about the film and the people. During the Q&A a woman stood up that has a husband stationed in Afghanistan right now, and she said that she wished that every soldier’s family member could view the film. It helped her understand what her husband is dealing with on a daily basis.

Restrepo isn’t a big budget, big studio film, but it has a story that needs to be seen and told. Show your support and help get this important message out by joining the Restrepo Facebook page and by letting your local movie theaters know that this is a film you want to have come to their venue.

I had mentioned that Restrepo is a life changer, and for me it has been. From now on when I see someone who is serving I’m going to thank them for serving and protecting myself and my country. There is so much we take for granted, and I’m going to try and change that in my own life. With this being the 4th of July weekend Restrepo has given me a lot of think about and be thankful for.

Greatness is Personal

DSC_0196Today many of us gathered to say goodbye to a great man – Norman Brinker. Most people know of Norman as the mind who started and refined the trend of casual dining and the founder of Brinker International, but to me Norman will always be a horse lover, polo player and wonderful father first.

In my horse days I had a barn behind Norman’s equestrian center – Willowbend Polo Club. We would ride back and forth between barns and most of my horses came from owners at Willowbend that owned horses that were too much for them and wanted to unload them. Those were wonderful days and how fortunate we all were to be able to watch Norman streak across the polo field doing what he loved. Norman had an uncanny knack of knowing and remembering everyone’s names from the grooms to the owners and he treated everyone equally.

When I had two very young children I decided to work as a waitress at Steak and Ale – a concept that Brinker owned and was fairly new at that time. I helped open the Plano location and Norman spent an amazing amount of time with us learning what worked and what didn’t. He also wanted to make sure that we knew our jobs inside and out and we did a lot of wine tastings to learn about what we were serving. That was my first exposure to wine and it’s an experience that I still enjoy. His passion about the company made us passioniate about what we were doing, and we took our jobs personally and wanted to make Norman proud of us.

Our lives continued to intertwine – my sister was married at Willowbend and went on to work at the corporate offices at Brinker International. Being a “Brinkerhead” she loved being a part of that culture and was always amazed when she would visit a Chili’s and Norman would be there often by himself just enjoying a burger. He always remembered my sister and made her feel special.

What Norman and many great self-made leaders understand is that to succeed it has to be personal. Your own integrity, how you treat people and love of what you do  is not a small part of why these people have succeeded and why so many people people love and respect them in return. I wish I had taken a pen and notepad to the service because the wisdom and stories that were shared were incredible. Ross Perot and Mr. Brinker were good friends for many years and I can understand why – they are a lot alike, and both have a great, dry sense of humor that I love. Mr. Perot spoke and he was able to capture what made Norman so special. Even though he had been in a coma and had health issues from a polo incident and had other obstacles, nothing was going to keep Norman down and no matter what he did it was always with an amazing positive attitude and a love for life and everyone around him.

We’ll miss you Norman, but know that you are happily playing polo on the most heavenly fields any of us have ever dreamed of.

The Ultimate Fan

sam-cheersI have a favor to ask of all of you that really doesn’t have anything to do with this blog but it does – my 10 year old nephew is learning an important lesson about marketing and the power of the internet.

Sam lives in Oklahoma City and is the ultimate sports fan – he is crazy about the OKC Thunders and goes dressed to show his support to almost every game. His parents have always been wise enough to let Sam find his own calling, so his enthusiasm (and his outfits) sam-mascotare all his idea. Because of this, Sam was nominated to be part of the Ultimate Fan Finale.

sam-chefHe is also a great well rounded child (and I am a proud aunt!),does very well in school and loves to cook with me – we entered the State Fair of Texas Cooking contests this year and Sam won two 2nd place ribbons!

If Sam wins this contest he gets to go to Boston and see his team play there as well as learn some valuable history lessons when he gets to tour the city.

Please help me encourage Sam to follow his dreams. The link for where to vote on the NBA site is here, and you can vote was many times as you would like. Most of the others that are up for this honor are adults so I’m even more proud of what he’s accomplished. Please vote for Sam Davis and vote often!