The Wyndham Deerfield Beach Hotel and Resort

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As a Lifestylist, location is everything when I go on vacation. If I am going to a mountain destination I like to stay in the mountains, and if I am going to a beach location I want to be as close to the water as possible. Part of the experience is hearing the waves break and waking up to the sun rising over the water. A lot of times I have to pay a premium for these vacations, but to me it’s worth it.

When my son was getting married in Boca Raton 5 years ago I asked for hotel suggestions and he recommended The Howard Johnson. The price was great, it was right on the beach and I could get ocean views for less than what I would have spent at an inland hotel. We had a great time so when we were heading back for a family reunion and my grandson’s christening I thought we’d stay there again.

I knew it was too good to be true the first time -it was now remodeled and had become the Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort but the price was still reasonable so we decided to give it a go.

Calling this hotel a resort is a stretch – there is a small pool, a bar / cafe, restaurant and a fitness center but that’s it. The beach is a public beach and you have to pay for umbrellas, chaises and chairs. Parking is available for $12.00 / day, but there is free wifi.

We ate the first night at Cafe Med which has a great patio looking out at the ocean and pier. The food and staff were mediocre – our caprese salad had mealy tomatoes and a lack of flavor and basil. The rigatoni was supposed to be made with house made pasta but was very disappointing.

The rooms are small but cozy, and I love the fact that they had wood floors – we constantly were tracking in water and sand from the beach. The beds are divine, complete with feather pillows. the rooms had full glass walls facing the ocean and pier which made for great people watching.

We are already planning a return trip – the location and price make this one of the best values in the West Palm Beach / Boca Raton area.

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.

Great Expectations

In some ways this Lifestylist is a creature of habit. I’ll try new things, but when I find something I love, I’ll keep coming back for more.  When I’m fortunate enough to fly through Buffalo, NY I immediately head to Ted’s Charcoal Hots – I know I can expect a perfectly cooked hot dog grilled over a wood fire for under $3.00. In over 30 years they have not done me wrong. I stepped out of my comfort zone lately and tried their cheeseburgers and it was one of the best cheeseburgers I’ve ever had, and again I think it was under $3.00.

Since I live in Texas there’s no chance of getting a Teds burger any time soon, but a few years ago Central Market would every once in awhile fire up a charcoal grill outside their Lover Lane location and served cooked to order burgers. They were awesome! Since it is a gourmet grocery store, they always served the best beef and fresh onions, tomatoes, lettuce and pickles to make it your own. This month they are hosting “Burger Revolution” and I was thrilled to see the grill was back in business. I went up there today just to spoil myself with one of their creations, and after placing my order and waiting 45 minutes, I realized I was going to be disappointed. The grill “master” clearly didn’t have a clue what he was doing – he let the fire burn down and the burgers were raw, plus at 1 pm. they said they were out of pickles, onions, bacon… but you are sitting in front of a grocery store with a 20 ft. long sign advertising your burger revolution! I left burger-less, disappointed and hungry.

Last week I wanted to do something nice for my kids and grandkids so I decided to book a night at the Hilton Resort on Singer Island. I have expectations when I stay at a Hilton, and I’m willing to pay the price for the service that is promised. The location was fantastic, but when we checked into our room the phones and TV didn’t work, the the bathroom had mold growing by the floor, the robe hook had been pulled out of the back of the door, and the clothesline to hang wet bathing suits on was broken as well – a problem when you have 4 people planning on enjoying the pool and beach. Will I go back? Probably not – I’ll try out the Marriott that is a few doors down and hope I have a better experience. I also thought it was interesting how interested Hilton was in why you were booking at their hotel when you made your reservation but there was no follow-up to see how your stay was afterwards.

My clients have high expectations of the services and work that I do, and my first priority is to always live up to those expectations. And I’m not afraid to ask – if I don’t I might lose a cherished customer because I didn’t make the effort to show them I care about their business.

 

The Official Lifestylist® Channel

Are you looking for new housing trends, photos from the New American Home,travel destinations, or decorating ideas? We know the place to go!

Check out The Official Lifestylist® Channel – a place where we are putting together videos and information that can help you find the answers you are looking for.

There are lots of new projects in in production – we would love to hear from you and know what you’d be interested in seeing. Next week we are off to Arizona to visit The Mosaic Cafe, Sabino Canyon and Old Scottsdale! We will also be getting some advice from Thermador on what are the best appliances for my cooking style.

Lifestylist® Designed homes are becoming something that consumers are asking for, and we will be sharing some of our latest designs soon as well. Visit our new channel often to stay in touch – we’ll see you there!

Staying Warm During Super Bowl XLV: It’s Always 72 Degrees at The Gaylord Texan

This Lifestylist® got a lovely thank-you note the other day from a reader. I had recommended The Gaylord Texan as the place to stay during Super Bowl XLV, and they couldn’t agree more! With North Texas having the coldest weather we’ve had in years, being in the wonderful atmosphere of The Gaylord Texan with all of it’s attractions, shopping and dining under one roof is definitely the place to be.

We have had the wonderful opportunity to meet with John Imaizumi – Senior Vice President and General Manager. It is obvious from the moment that you meet him why his “Stars” (what the employees are considered) and guests love him so much. His honest compassion and love for this group shines through, and you can see his attention to detail everywhere you turn.

Even if you aren’t staying at this hotel, it’s the perfect place to just go spend the day during your Super Bowl XLV visit. The Gaylord Texan is the official hotel for The Dallas Cowboys and is close to the stadium and DFW airport. There is great shopping for those Texas themed items, and coffee shops for you to just sit and people watch from.

The Old Hickory Steakhouse is our favorite restaurant in North Texas, and not only is the food spectacular, the staff knows how to make everyone feel important as well.  Executive Chef Joanne Bondy prepares her signature dishes including her Habanero Cream Corn that I can’t get enough of! They also have tableside service for their artisanal cheeses and desserts.

If you want to get some lighter fare and focus on a wine tasting, be sure and visit Old Hickory’s upstairs wine bar and veranda. It features an Enomatic wine system, and you can get flights of wines that you have always wanted to try in as little as a one ounce pour.

Ready to kick up your heels? The Glass Cactus Nightclub that is also part of the Gaylord Texan is the place to be. It boasts 39,000 sq. ft. of indoor floor space and has 13,000 sq. ft. of outdoor decks overlooking Lake Grapevine. They’ll be having a special “Big Game” viewing and After-Party on the 6th.

We’d love to hear about your experiences at the places we recommend – feel free to let us know at: answers@lifestylist.com

Make sure and let people know that The Lifestylist® sent you – we love sharing our favorite destinations.

NY Times Says Oak Cliff is the Place to Be Seen During Super Bowl 45

They say it’s all about location, location, location, and I love that the NY Times had an article today about the place to be seen during Super Bowl XLV is Oak Cliff! The Home Idea Factory has been located in this historic district for over 10 years, and we couldn’t agree more. The Bishop Arts District of Oak Cliff is truly a neighborhood and we love living and working in this diverse community.

Part of the Lifestylist® movement is about buying local, and there’s no better place than in Oak Cliff. Dude Sweet Chocolate is a must visit destination for anyone with a sweet tooth – their artisan chocolates are the best I’ve had anywhere in the world. Great live music? Check out Jack’s Backyard – a little bit off the beaten path but still in Oak Cliff. They have a wonderful “backyard” with fire pits where you can enjoy great food and great local musicians in the company of friends. And a little known fact is that they have one of the best brunches in town with bottomless mimosas – the perfect way to start game day!

We will be sharing as many of our local favorites as we can here before the game. If you need a referral just for you, feel free to email our Lifestylist advisory services at: info@lifestylist.com

See you at the game!

Giving Thanks

I just returned from a magical week in Orlando. Someone said they scatter pixie dust at the airport when you arrive, and I’m starting to believe them. Not only was I able to take part in a home that will probably be one of the the high points of my Lifestylist® career, but I was also blessed to spend some very special time with my kids and grandkids and share my Lifestylist® approach with them. Being a Lifestylist incorporates life and style, and getting creative in the kitchen is definitely part of that.

As part of the staging for The New American Home, I purchased a large amount of beautiful granny smith apples to add color and lifestyle to the kitchen. After we were finished with the shoot, I thought why not recycle them and make a pie with the grandkids? Neither of them had tried making a pie before, and with Thanksgiving being only a week away I thought this could be a great time to make their first.

Jenna may only be 8 yrs old, but she loves to cook and is really good at it. She has taken part in the Jr Chef Camp at the Gaylord Texan that Chef Joanne teaches, and was excited about trying out her culinary skills making a pie. Many adults would be daunted by this task, but Jenna dug right in. After teaching her some basic knife skills and precautions, she peeled and cored all of the apples herself. Brother Christian decided to help us make the crust, and we made a huge mess (sorry Trish!) but I’m sure it was a day that they will always remember.

I am so grateful to have the loving, supportive family I have, and the amazing clients that believe in me and what I do. Here’s to the start of a holiday season filled with hope, happiness and lots of pixie dust!

The Louisville Manufactured Housing Show is Back!

It’s a show that always ignites the industry and the Midwest region with new designs, new ideas and new initiatives …the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show is coming back in 2011 and promises to be even better than before. The 2011 Louisville Show will bring back a positive energy to the Midwest region and will show why manufactured housing is the “best way to sell and the best way to build.”
Enduring the economy has been the ultimate challenge, especially for everyone in housing. Now, a new year ushers in the return of a show that reluctantly took a year off as manufacturers weathered times like most of us have never seen in the industry. Now, the show kicks off the New Year Jan. 12-14 at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC), the best show facility in the nation. The show is back and we welcome all of the retailers, builders/developers, community owners/operators and exhibitors back to Louisville. The Louisville Show was a significant part of the Midwest region for over 50 years. We are excited about bringing back this important event!

Show hours:
Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011 – 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011 – 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 14 , 2011 – 9 a.m. until noon.
Note: Registration opens each morning at 8 a.m.

Off to an Amazing Start

As we head into Fall, there is already positive and exciting news to report as we approach “Sold Out” as the status for the manufacturers/exhibitors who plan to join us at the Louisville Show. We’ll be ready to name this select list soon and we hope your business is included in that list. As of October 1, just a few manufacturer spaces remain. In addition there will be 85 service and supplier exhibit spaces for the host of businesses that bring so much to the manufactured housing industry. Manufacturers and suppliers across the region are making the move to bring back our industry momentum, and the show is one of the greatest ways to fast-forward these efforts. Don’t wait – put your company at the forefront of the new year’s industry success!

The Exceptional Experience of Louisville

Start with the Kentucky Exposition Center, a show venue that is considered the best facility of its kind in the nation, where you’re assured of a show that offers ample exhibit space and amenities. Couple the great venue with the Louisville Show’s headquarters hotel, The Crowne Plaza, located directly across the street from the exhibit hall, and you have an unbeatable combination of convenience, easy access and key amenities all around you. Hotel rates will be affordable, and reservations can be made very soon. A new registration company will be able to offer web-link registration for this year’s show, helping make both pre-registration and on-site registration easier than ever before.

The airport is within three minutes of the show site, and there is ample and controlled parking at KEC. As everyone knows, Louisville offers a multitude of fine restaurants and other entertainment venues, including the popular ‘4th Street Live’ area. Discover why Louisville makes the best place for our show. When you exhibit at Louisville, you will give buyers the luxury of an actual walk-through of your home, service or product in a unique hands-on environment. You will be able to relate to your customer base; understanding their wants and needs, as well as answer on-the-spot questions or concerns. With this premier venue as your backdrop, it is time to outshine your competitor and close the big deal. This is a great opportunity for your business to get a grasp on where the future of the industry is headed.

Sign Up for Industry Seminar

The 2011 show will feature an industry seminar with George Allen of GFA Management Inc the 2009 MHI Man of the Year. George has put together a seminar program that will appeal to the industry. Seminar points of interest will include:
How to Price Point a New Manufactured Home  for Private Property and/or Landlease Community Placement. Given an  individual’s Annual Gross Income, and/or a local housing market’s Average  Median Income, how to calculate maximum “affordable” & “risky” sale prices  for new homes, to be sited on realty owned fee simple, or leased. This topic  is timely for HUD Code home manufacturer “reps”, Business Development Managers  (“BDM”) and LLCommunity owners/operators selling homes on-site.
Community Series Homes. Their genesis,  definition and description; who manufactures them for in-LLCommunity siting  (with specific reference to appropriate manufacturers and models present at  the Louisville MHShow); and, how to properly meld them into any local living  environment.
Property Owner, or Self-finance, of New  Homes Sold On-site in LLCommunities, with emphasis on the differences  between “captive finance” and “buy her – pay here” methodologies, as well as  other possible alternatives. Moderated by Ken and Donna Rishel of Rishel Consulting Group and Precision Capital Funding the 2010 winners of the MHI Service Supplier of the Year Award.
Three 45-minute seminars provide an opportunity to learn how to start the two processes, evaluate and improve present practices and where to go for assistance and resources. These special seminars will be held at KEC in conjunction with the show.

Industry Comments: We have received these comments from interested industry representatives
Fantastic news on the show – we learned so  much and met so many new vendors – products I had no idea even existed. Great  news – and congratulations on keeping our business alive and well. There is  certainly massive demand right now for affordable housing.
I think the return of the Louisville Show is  GREAT news. It comes at a time when the industry is starting to make a  comeback and could go a long way toward boosting sales in the Midwest. I hope  all of the regions’ manufacturers give the show the support it deserves.  Without these shows, the road back would be longer and more difficult.
I agree, I’ve missed the show. It was the best  event and it’s early enough in the year so you could sell the homes ordered,  re-order, and sell again.
I’m so excited to hear about the Louisville  Show in 2011! This was always one of the most important shows of the year for  our industry and we will need to support its return to show consumers and the  media that manufactured housing is here to stay! It sounds to me like this  could be a great start to the image campaign that we’ve all been talking  about!
If you have any questions regarding this year’s Louisville show, please call Dennis J. Hill, Show Coordinator, at 770-587-3350.

Lifestylist Speaking Engagement in Las Vegas

My bags are packed and I’m almost ready to go – tomorrow I’m off to Las Vegas to be a speaker at the 20th annual MHI Congress, and of course I made my reservations with the help of  my Travelocity Gnome.

Held every year in Las Vegas, this convention brings together that biggest and brightest names in manufactured and modular housing. This year keynote speakers will be Jim Clayton – founder of Clayton Homes and Harold Gross of Market Research Answers so I know everyone that attends will leave with lots of great new information to grow their businesses with. I’m honored to to speaking in from if this group for the 7th year and I hope to be invited back for many years to come.

This year I’m speaking on how a Lifestylist approaches the fast paced world of Social Media. I bought my first domain name in the early 90’s and I’ve always been intrigued with this very cost effective way of doing marketing. Now I have expanded the Lifestylist Brand to include a presence on various blogs, Blogger, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare,Yelp and You Tube. Is it worth the time investment to manage and update all of these? Absolutely! One of my great new clients, American Custom Builders found me through my Lifestylist Blog so I feel investing the time in keeping up with Social Media pays dividends to my brand and my business.

If you happen to be in Las Vegas next week, come and join us at Caesar’s Palace. If you mention that you read this I’ll give you a copy of my new Do-it-Yourself Guide to Social Media and Networking. See you there!

Lifestylist Marketing Article Published

What a busy Spring already! Houses to design, design centers to merchandise, and lots of great marketing ideas to talk about.

Last week I headed to Tunica, MS to attend the South Central Manufactured Housing Show which is held every year at Harrah’s Tunica. Considering the economy, the turnout was fantastic and it was fun to catch up with people I hadn’t seen in awhile. Let me tell you, the homes on display were not your grandma’s trailer – these homes compete in design and quality with any comparable site built home.

If you were not able to attend the show, MH Marketing Sales Management has my review in their virtual magazine and there is also a link to tell you where you can view the over 500 photos we took of these very exciting homes.

Please take a look and let us know what you think!