25 Years of Gratitude

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the team at FDG and myself!


I love this time of year and have SO MUCH to be grateful for including each and every one of you. 

In honor of the season, our 25th Anniversary this year, and Christmas being on the 25th after all, I want to share with you 25 things I’m grateful for this year. 

Gratitude is a value I hold very dear to my heart and brings us straight to number one on my list:

Lee Brower and the Empowered Wealth program. 

My coach and friend who taught me about going BIG amongst so many other values.  Every Monday we start our staff meeting by going BIG, meaning, “Begin In Gratitude”.  Lee’s work has been a huge influence on my life and I like to share that knowledge with everyone here and start our week from a place of thankfulness.



I am grateful for TODAY. 

When looking at the big picture, this moment, right now is all we really have.



My family.

I have two beautiful boys and am lucky to still have both of my parents! Their spirits and energy give me strength.



My health… to be above ground!

When I was first asked what 25 years of FDG meant to me, my immediate response was, “has it been that long!?”, but I can honestly say I am incredibly blessed to be at the helm of a continually exploring company.



The opportunity to start FDG in 1992 on just a wing and a prayer! 

I didn’t have a clear vision or goal to create the 41st largest interior architecture and design firm in the country; I just knew I could better serve clients not working for someone else.  I’ve learned to balance what the company needs with client requests, something I believe we have to continue carrying on to younger generations.



My very first client.

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Troy Aikman.



That my desk is no longer a dining room table! 

I started in my very own home.  It’s been UNREAL to see just how much our company has grown.



Surviving two BIG office moves in 25 years

And on top of all our regular day-to-day work and installs.



Designing and moving into our beautiful new office this last year.

It's still a work in progress. We learned first hand the familiar trope of the cobbler's children having no shoes!



I get to transform lives every day.

I coined the term “Designing Environments That Transform Life™,” meaning, we’re in the business of creating successful communities for our clients, and, in creating their successes, we find success ourselves, which is the true meaning of our journey.



To be surrounded by really talented people who are smarter than me.  

I continue to be very humbled about what I learn each and every day from being surrounded by such fun, talented, and creative people! I added “Group” to the Faulkner company because we come together as a team, supporting and affirming one another.



Amazing leadership growing our future leaders! 

Faulkner wouldn’t be what it is without all of these wonderful leaders who have developed our company into one that is not only highly respected and sought after, but, one that has earned the allegiance of our employees.



I get to work with some of the largest developers and financial partners in the nation! 

25 years ago, I couldn’t have dreamed of being where we are now!



The ability to be pushing boundaries, dedicating myself and my team to transforming the lives of our clients, their residents, and their constituents. 

We are dedicated to sustainability and holistically making the world a better place, striving to think outside the box and finding creative solutions to each and every challenge in an environment that celebrates our achievements.



Our most award winning year ever!

We’ve been named in nearly 30 different achievement categories in 2017!




I’m excited to be learning from younger generations while at the same time passing on my knowledge to them.  Together, we can create environments that are conducive to the inter connecting of generations allowing Platinums (aka seniors) the opportunity to receive inspiration and joy from younger people while the younger are able to gain insight, wisdom, and joy as well.



I have a passionate team that truly believes we work hard to play hard.

A value I love to share!



Being part of a team that is moving FORWARD. 

We spend a huge percentage of our lives working, therefore it’s important to like the people on our teams.  It’s important to uphold and honor the same mission, the same vision, and the same values.  We want to constantly be going forward, moving, and growing each day to be a better reflection of who we were yesterday.



Green Lab:

Building a LEED Platinum Universally Designed model home that will serve as a guided platform on what needs to be happening in the construction and development business.



The opportunity to travel!

I was able to visit Italy this year and bring a taste back to the office.  I’m looking forward to sharing more about this experience and others on how they relate to FDG and our design process!



Meeting new people and making new connections! 

I hosted a friend from India from the company Mahindra and Mahindra a few years ago around New Year’s.  I toured them all over Dallas, setting up site visits, going to dinners, etc.  He and his son had just given $10 million to the Harvard School of Economics and on one of our tours of a senior living residence we met the first female graduate of the Harvard School of Economics! I love it when people come together in that way.



The vendor and client relationships we’ve made over the last 2.5 decades. 

I’ve made a lot of wonderful life- long friends from these connections.



To have 2018 just around the corner already brimming with projects and opportunities!

I am so thankful for our professional partnerships and relationships.



The many role models and coaches in my life who have helped make all of this possible!

With them, my life has been richer with knowledge that I have been able to share with my team; I owe a lot to them.



last but not least, what I want for all my friends and family whom I am forever grateful for is to have GRATITUDE!

Stop complaining and don’t sweat the small stuff. Look at the beauty that is in your life, look at the silver lining, be appreciative of the sun that’s shining, and be appreciative of the little things.  Don’t miss the little things!


10 Things Mentally Strong People Won't Do


Life has a way of testing your mental strength when you least expect it. The true sign of mental strength doesn't lie in what you do; it's what you don't and absolutely won't do. The greater the challenge, the more difficult it is to respond with mental fortitude.

It's hard to be mentally strong, especially when you feel stuck. The ability to break the mold and take a bold new direction requires that extra grit, daring, and spunk that only the mentally strongest people have.

Thomas Edison provides an interesting example. When his factory burned to the ground in 1914, destroying one-of-a-kind prototypes and causing $23 million in damage, Edison's response was simple:

"Thank goodness all our mistakes were burned up. Now we can start fresh again."

Edison wouldn't allow himself to wallow in his misfortune. Instead, his reaction is the epitome of mental strength-seeing opportunity and taking action when things look bleak.

You can improve your mental strength by studying the 10 things that mentally strong people won't do under any circumstances:

1. They don't dwell on mistakes.

Mentally tough people know that where you focus your attention determines your emotional state. When you fixate on the problems that you're facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress, which hinders performance. When you focus on actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy, which produces positive emotions and improves performance. Mentally tough people distance themselves from their mistakes, but they do so without forgetting them. By keeping their mistakes at a safe distance, yet still handy enough to refer to, they are able to adapt and adjust for future success.

2. They don't hang around negative people.

Negative people are bad news because they wallow in their problems and fail to focus on solutions. They want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. People often feel pressure to listen to negative people because they don't want to be seen as callous or rude, but there's a fine line between lending a sympathetic ear to someone and getting sucked into their negative emotional spiral. Emotionally intelligent people avoid getting drawn in by setting limits and distancing themselves from negative people when necessary. Think of it this way: If a person were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke? You'd distance yourself, and you should do the same with negative people.

3. They don't stop believing in themselves.

Mentally strong people persevere. They don't give up in the face of failure, and they don't give up because they're tired or uncomfortable. They're focused on their goals, not on momentary feelings, and that keeps them going even when things are hard. They don't take failing to mean that they're a failure. Likewise, they don't let the opinions of others keep them from chasing their dreams. When someone says, "You'll never be able to do that," they regard it as one person's opinion, which is all it is.

4. They don't wait for an apology to forgive.

Mentally tough people know that life goes a lot smoother once you let go of grudges and forgive even those who never said they were sorry. Grudges let negative events from your past ruin today's happiness. Hate and anger are emotional parasites that destroy your joy in life. The negative emotions that come with holding on to a grudge create a stress response in your body, and holding on to stress can have devastating consequences (both physically and mentally). When you forgive someone, it doesn't condone their actions; it simply frees you from being their eternal victim.

5. They don't feel sorry for themselves.

Here's the worst thing about feeling sorry for yourself, other than it being annoying, of course: it shifts your locus of control outside yourself. Feeling sorry for yourself is, in essence, declaring that you're a helpless victim of circumstance. Mentally strong people never feel sorry for themselves because that would mean giving up their power.

6. They don't hold grudges.

The negative emotions that come with holding onto a grudge are actually a stress response. Holding onto that stress wreaks havoc on your body and can have devastating health consequences over time. Researchers at Emory University http://www.forbes.com/colleges/emory-university/ have shown that holding onto stress contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease. Holding onto a grudge means you're holding onto stress, and mentally strong people know to avoid this at all costs.

7. They won't let anyone limit their joy...

When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from comparing yourself to others, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When mentally strong people feel good about something they do, they won't let anyone's opinions or accomplishments take that away from them. While it's impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don't have to compare yourself to others, and you can always take people's opinions with a grain of salt. Mentally strong people know that regardless of what people think of them at any particular moment, one thing is certain-they're never as good or bad as people say they are.

8. ...and they don't limit the joy of others.

Mentally strong people don't pass judgment on others because they know that everyone has something to offer, and they don't need to take other people down a notch in order to feel good about themselves. Comparing yourself to other people is limiting. Jealousy and resentment suck the life right out of you; they're massive energy-stealers. Mentally strong people don't waste time or energy sizing people up and worrying about whether or not they measure up. Instead of wasting your energy on jealousy, funnel that energy into appreciation. When you celebrate the success of other people, you both benefit.

9. They don't get lazy.

A study conducted at the Eastern Ontario Research Institute found that people who exercised twice a week for 10 weeks felt more socially, intellectually, and athletically competent. They also rated their body image and self-esteem higher. Best of all, rather than the physical changes in their bodies being responsible for the uptick in confidence, which is key to mental toughness, it was the immediate, endorphin-fueled positivity from exercise that made all the difference.

10. They don't get negative.

Keep your eyes on the news for any length of time, and you'll see that it's just one endless cycle of war, violent attacks, fragile economies, failing companies, and environmental disasters. It's easy to think the world is headed downhill fast. And who knows? Maybe it is. But mentally strong people don't worry about that because they don't get caught up in things they can't control. Instead of trying to start a revolution overnight, they focus their energy on directing the two things that are completely within their power-their attention and their effort.

Scared of Heights in the Wrong Shoes

Ok, I knew I had to have closed-toe shoes, but I forgot to put some in my car today. NOTE TO SELF: You also need to have 4-inch sleeves and it's helpful to have socks when wearing other people's boots!

So here I am scared of heights and 20 floors up in the construction elevator with Schaeffer Hill from Hill and Associates, wearing loaned construction and security gear including One Uptown t-shirt, construction boots, and hardhat!

The concrete platform you see here is part of the future pool area and today we're working with the owners on pavilions, cabanas, grills, and fire pits, and measuring for large comfy cushions. Also, shout-out to construction manager, JD Peel. He is THE BOMB!

#outfitoftheday #sweatfordays


Hiking Exit Glacier in Alaska

We hiked up 3500 feet through challenging terrain, including a lot of snow trail (very slick) to reach the top of Exit Glacier, part of the Harding Icefield outside of Seward, Alaska. Three 10-year-olds, too, including my son! Needless to say, it was quite an accomplishment after all my surgeries and injuries over the last year and a half!

We also had a close encounter with a large humpback whale while on kayaks in a pretty small cove. Very scary and awe inspiring! Thanks to my son for asking to go. Quite an experience. And I'm the oldest here by 3 years!

Random Acts of Kindness

I met this cute couple, Anna Mae and Fred, on the Katy Trail in Dallas while I was walking on Saturday. They live at Five Star Senior Living Premier Residences of Dallas a few minutes north of the trail and had driven down for a walk. Anna Mae was walking with a difficult metal walker so I asked if she wanted to upgrade! We just dropped off her new walker which even has a seat for resting! 

I told my boys that I want to be walking on the trail when I'm in my 90's like Anna Mae and Fred!!! So darling!! We have a rain-check for dinner!

Random acts of kindness are awesome!