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.

The Museum Tower in Downtown Dallas is Blinding

One of the best things this Lifestylist® ever did was to buy  The Home Idea Factory. Not only do I have space to try out new ideas and to foster lots of rescue animals, but I’m also only a few miles from the Dallas Arts District. – This wonderful gem is tucked away in downtown Dallas and you can experience the best in the culinary arts, discover new artists or ones that you have always read about, and appreciate what Mother Earth has graced us with in the Nasher Gardens or at the new Klyde Warren Park.

When I was driving to one of my favorite events – ‘Til Midnight at The Nasher – I was literally blinded while I was driving over the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. I’d heard about all of the controversy surrounding the new Museum Tower, but it wasn’t until I seriously couldn’t see while I was driving 45 miles an hour on a highway because of it did I realize how dangerous it is – not only to the Arts District but to motorists driving down the various highways beside it.

Not only is the Museum Tower getting a reputation for being a bad neighbor – it’s going to kill someone.

Let’s hope that The Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund -owners of this $200 million dollar building do something about this issue before someone gets hurt.

Gaylord Texan Chef to Be Honored at James Beard House

Chef Joanne Bondy, Executive Chef at The Old Hickory Steakhouse at the Gaylord Texan has been asked to host a special evening at The James Beard House for the third time. This Lifestylist® was honored to be able to help prep the last dinner in the James Beard kitchen, and then stay behind the scenes to capture the experience on film.

Chef Bondy treated member of the Gaylord Food and Wine Society along with other guests to a preview of what will be served at the October event recently, and this is definitely going to be a meal to remember. Palmaz wines will be featured and served with the dinner.

For information on how you can attend this very special event, contact the Gaylord Texan team at: 817-778-2210

Tricks and Treats From a 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.

Multitasking

Being a Lifestylist® isn’t as easy as it looks. Especially with all of the regulations they make when you fly now, it’s become harder to look pulled together and actually look like a Lifestylist® when you can only have two carry-ons and they are charging you for checked luggage. Because of what I do, I have to travel with my laptop, ipad, iphone, jewelry, cameras, flashes, etc. with me on-board, so I’m always looking for ways to cut back on what I need to bring with me on the road. Daryn DeZengotia is the brains and beauty behind Scatter-Brain – a resource that is devoted to the struggle AGAINST work/life balance. She really knows her stuff, and is funny as well! Be sure to check out her Facebook page and “like” it so you can get her great tips directly. Daryn was one of the top selling consultants at Avon, and she knows how tough it is to keep yourself pulled together 24 hrs. a day. She’s been helping me find some great information to share here, and just told me about a great article on Oprah.com about 13 of The Best Beauty Multitaskers. These look like great solutions that will let me cut down on what I carry, and many are well priced as well. I’m going to try some of them – let us know if you do as well and which are your favorites.

The Trailer Diva Gets a New Home?

This Lifestylist® is proud to be a Trailer Diva – I love factory built housing and think it is the way that most housing will be built in the future. I was shopping at NorthPark Center the other day and saw something I have to have – a playhouse that is the cutest trailer I have ever seen! It was part of the Parade of Playhouses they do every year, and every year’s homes are better than the year before.

The event benefits Dallas CASA – a 30 year old organization with over 500 volunteers that are advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children. What an important organization that needs every dollar that this amazing event raises. I went online today and saw the playhouse that was being auctioned off online was at $8,500 and it was worth it!

To be the lucky owners of the rest of the homes you bought raffle tickets, and winners were chosen today at NorthPark. Rumor has it that my favorite had some of the most bids of any of the other playhouses – I guess there is a future for factory built housing! I didn’t win my dream trailer, but the real winners were Dallas CASA, and that’s what  is really important.

But, if the winner of my dream trailer decides it doesn’t fit in with their decor, give me a call – I have the perfect place for it!

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 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!