ArchivesAuthor: Amanda Paret


Best Practices Network, a national organization of professional interior design firms, of which I am a pioneer member, recently surprised and honored me as their Designer of the Year. Presenting the award is my business mentor and BPN’s founder, David Shepherd. He is the author of a life-changing book entitled,

This year the award was presented to the member who demonstrated significant advancement in the balance of business and personal growth. Thank you David, and to all of my dear friends at Best Practices Network for your support. Ashley


You must see these incredible vintage outdoor pieces we are purchasing for one of my clients!  Their styling takes me back to simpler days in Grandma’s backyard, but the colors are much more vibrant.

These classic pieces are back, sporting  an updated and energetic color palette that is sure to draw everyone outside for summer fun.
For die hard Texans, the units can also be purchased in a Lone Star pattern.

My favorite!  I stumbled on one of these retro refrigerators in a San Antonio gift shop.   I immediately sent a photo to my client.  She is now ordering one to be used in her outdoor kitchen in HOT PINK!  If you can think of a color, it can be made to order.  May be ordered in large or small, with or without ice makers.

Look at this lovely jewel!  I’ve found a company here in Texas that locates and fully restores these gorgeous gliders.  Each is one of a kind and can be customized to your color combination preferences.

The picnic cooler and this outstanding Flamenco Umbrella  are just two  more delightful elements we are adding to the outdoor entertaining area.


What an amazing experience!  I set out to finish my first Triathlon before 40!  We’ll guess what, I won’t be 40 until next summer, and I finished my first Sprint Triathlon Sunday, June 6th, in Austin, Texas.  It was the Danskin Women’s Tri, and it was a blast!  The distances for a Sprint Tri are as follows:  half mile swim, 12 mile bike, and 5 k run.  My time including transition times was 1:49:37.  I placed 22nd in my wave of 228 athletes, and 559 overall out of 1573 athletes.  My original goal was just to complete my first Tri, so I am feeling super for having finished in the top third! And to be ranked 127 of 1573 athletes in the swim!  Here are some pictures to enjoy of my first experience!  What’s next?  I’M READY!!!! I will be working with my trainer from Play Tri, Roberto Florencia, to find the next event that fits for me!  More to come for sure, it’s a life changing experience, and will be something I plan to be doing for the rest of my life!

Lined up and Ready to Go!

My Race #1550, Getting Ready to line up for the Start

Swim Start

Coming in from the bike

Mile Two

Finish Line with friend and client, Robyn Stevens


Heidi Verges and me on the site for the affordable housing project in Honduras

VITA Consulting Team with Episcopal Bishop Lloyd Allen on site of Affordable Housing Project in Honduras

As some of you know, I have recently returned from a trip to Kenya and another to Honduras with The Small Equity Initiative working on Affordable and Sustainable Housing project planning.  My partner Heidi Verges and I have formed a non-profit organization called VITA Developments that will be working to build sustainable housing initiatives in emerging markets around the globe. VITA is partnering with SEI in Honduras and Kenya on affordable housing projects that will combine charitable and for profit resources to make homes affordable while empowering residents to generate sustainable income.

“The greatest humanitarian challenge we face today is that of providing shelter. One in seven people live in a slum or refugee camp, and more than three billion people – nearly half the world’s population – do not have clean access to clean water or adequate sanitation.”
From the amazing and inspiring book “Design Like you Give a Damn – Architectural Responses to Humanitarian Crisis”
- Cameron Sinclair and Kate Stohr

Here are a few photos to pique your interest in some of the precious people that will be involved in benefiting from VITA Development’s work, stay tuned for more detail.

Honduran Children to Praying

Honduran Children to Benefit from Affordable Housing

View of Kibera Slum in background, Kenya's largest slum consisting of 600,000 people


Blogging is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.  And right now seems to be an appropriate time to get it started.  2009 was one of the most challenging years of my life on many different levels.  Of course, it was a very difficult year for our industry as a whole, and I feel blessed to have survived.

But 2010 is shaping up to be an adventurous year for me!  The year is young, and already some very exciting events have taken place. Fabulous trips to Honduras and Kenya have already occurred.  China, New York, potential new business ventures, and my first Triathlon are just a few of the things I’ll be talking about.   I want to share my adventures with all of you.

Please stop by my blog often to stay caught up.  To subscribe and have my blog posts sent directly to your inbox, please click on the link at the top right of this page. You may even find a little free design advice from time to time.