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Blog Cabin

Oct 11

Meet the Blog Cabin 2013 Giveaway Winner

Blog Cabin 2013 Giveaway Winner

Mari Cabrera-Hickerson of Culver City, Calif., is the proud winner of the Blog Cabin 2013 Giveaway, a grand-prize package valued at almost $500,000.

Mari’s name was randomly drawn from more than 18 million entries. The Blog Cabin enthusiast, who has entered every year since 2007, admits that entering twice online per day, almost every day, became part of her routine. “That was the first thing I did in the morning with my coffee,” she says, “And then I’d take a look at what was going on at the home and what the crew did that day. I followed every part of the remodeling process.”

Mari, a former UCLA Medical Center administrative specialist, retired in July 2013 to devote her time to her husband, Ken, as well as her children and four grandchildren. Mari also finds fulfillment in travel and hobbies, including hiking, watersports, cooking and yarn arts.

Although Mari is a fan of eclectic interior design, the North Carolina cottage drew her attention for its waterfront location and coastal-chic cottage style. “I love the beach,” says our winner, who was born and raised in Havana, Cuba, before emigrating with her family to California in 1966. “My mom would come home from work and take us to the beach every day when I was a kid. The beach is part of my soul, I guess.”

As one would expect from a die-hard Blog Cabin fan, Mari is quick to list her favorite room in the home (the spa-style master bathroom) and her favorite furnishing (the reclaimed wood dining table). And she’s most excited to see the compass floor medallion, which proved her top pick during the People’s Choice portion of the Blog Cabin 2013 project.

When Mari and her family arrive at Blog Cabin 2013 for their first visit, the water’s edge will certainly prove an irresistible draw. What does Mari plan to do first? “That’s kind of hard to say,” she admits. “I think I am just going to go room by room and check everything out. And sit on that porch in that rocking chair and look out onto that beautiful water scene. That view is just so gorgeous.”

Mari is still shocked about her stroke of good fortune and looks forward to sharing her prize with friends and family. “I just want to say thank you. This is just a wonderful gift that I never thought in my lifetime that I would receive,” she says. “It’s an amazing opportunity to have someplace where my family can go and be together, relax , have fun and just enjoy.”

  • Posted at 8:50 am on October 10, 2013
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1,806 Comments

  1. Today's post for Mari and Ken is on the joys of minor home repair and the perils of importing preferences acquired elsewhere when living in the Crystal Coast. Todays challenge. A toilet flapper. Just a toilet flapper. Thats all. The lady who remodeled my place was from the area originally but lived in CA and France. She had a fondness for Kohler products. Which use their own special flapper. In a size not like any freaking universal flapper on the market. So despite the hundreds of flappers available at the two closest, and very good, independently owned hardware stores, I still have no flapper and have ordered one rather than keep driving out to the big box stores. Moral of this story? Take inventory of the make and model of those things in your new home that require special sized replacements/filters/etc on a regular basis, and do not assume that they will be easily available locally. And bring some patience.

    Lulubelle13 on October 22, 2013 at 3:20 pm
    • Thank you for the heads-up Lulu…we will certainly have to make some adjustments but are looking forward to a healthier more spiritual way of life out in the BC beach cottage…Enjoy your stay in the Crystal Coast!

      Macusina on October 24, 2013 at 2:55 pm
    • No toilet flapper yet, but I did manage to snake my own drain. Those things will be Ken's job at BC I hope…

      Lulubelle13 on October 24, 2013 at 7:23 pm
  2. Right on Mari! Right on!

    Alex on October 23, 2013 at 12:07 am
    • Thanks Alex!!!

      Macusina on October 24, 2013 at 2:55 pm
  3. Sounds like this cabin is a perfect fit for you! Congratulations!

    Lynette on October 23, 2013 at 8:17 am
    • It's my dream-come-true, thank you :)

      Macusina on October 24, 2013 at 2:56 pm
  4. Congrats Mari! I'm jealous…but cant wait to find out where Blog Cabin 2014 will be!!!

    Amanda on October 23, 2013 at 11:58 am
    • Thanks Amanda! I am curious too, I am addicted to this program and now to the blog :)

      Macusina on October 24, 2013 at 2:57 pm
  5. Just stopping by to say hello mari and ken….and congratulations again…:):)

    twoTERRIERs on October 23, 2013 at 1:06 pm
    • Howdy Two!!! Cheers! :) <3

      Macusina on October 24, 2013 at 2:38 pm
  6. Congratulations Mari and family. I am sure you will have a wonderful time getting to know your new home. I bet you can't wait until the grapes are grown and ready to harvest, maybe make some homemade wine.

    Love NC on October 23, 2013 at 1:51 pm
    • Hello there! Thank you for your congratulatory message! I am going to love trying to make some wine : :)

      Macusina on October 24, 2013 at 2:42 pm
  7. Greetings from Atlantic Beach. It is 69 degrees. Partly cloudy. Everyone is in shorts. Ocean is active and there is a goodly breeze. That is all. Come quick you two.

    Lulubelle13 on October 23, 2013 at 4:48 pm
    • Now I wish I had a vacation planned out there this week. It sounds like heaven!

      TwoCorgis on October 23, 2013 at 5:15 pm
    • Fall is the best here! Starting September ish. Trying to light a fire under Mari and Men to get moving before it gets cooler.

      Lulubelle13 on October 23, 2013 at 6:32 pm
    • I hope you get Mari and Ken there soon. I loved your home repair advice. So true. It would be nice if you could show them around the area depending on how long you will be there this time. Enjoy

      Straybird on October 24, 2013 at 10:10 am
    • Yes, living without a working toilet flapper, but I will survive this first world problem. Of course I will show them around when they are ready. I am only three hours away when I am not here. And I too wish to move here full time, but will need another place to do that. I will be a big change from the LA area for Mari and Ken, but I think they will love it.

      Lulubelle13 on October 24, 2013 at 2:26 pm
    • Thank you for the offer to show us around :) You're so sweet <3

      Macusina on October 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm
    • LOL that's too funny our water heater broke, try living without hot water for three days brrrr.Enjoy Mari and Kens company.xD;)

      MaryPA on October 29, 2013 at 8:57 pm
    • Not sure we can get there that fast…it takes time…

      Macusina on October 24, 2013 at 3:04 pm
    • I am sure. There will be some balmy days throughout Winter. But you don't have to move in on your first visit! You can borrow any supplies you need, or I can point you to the best stores to get things.

      Lulubelle13 on October 24, 2013 at 3:43 pm
    • :)

      Macusina on October 24, 2013 at 4:46 pm
    • lulubelle13, How helpful you will be for Mari and family!! It always helps to know someone who is familiar with the area. Sounds like this is the perfect time to be there. Not a lot of crowds and pecan picking/harvest time should be here or right around the corner.
      Not much is new here. Have my Halloween decorations up and getting ready for the 150 or so trick n treaters next week here in FL. Bought new fishing poles and caught some mangrove snappers last week. yummy.
      take care and best wishes to one and all!!

      Holidaygal on October 24, 2013 at 9:41 am
    • Hi Holiday! It will be fun to have new friends here, and i enjoy showing my state off to first timers. Mmm to the snappers. I don't fish, bit I'd love to learn.

      Lulubelle13 on October 24, 2013 at 2:31 pm
    • we'll be there and we can learn to fish together: :)

      Macusina on October 24, 2013 at 2:43 pm
    • That would be fun! My family are city people, though Dad grew up on a farm. I think if he had not died so young he might have taken up fishing later in life. So I have never learned. I want to learn to spearfish too.

      Lulubelle13 on October 24, 2013 at 3:45 pm
    • Me too…been a city girl all my life but always pinned for a simpler life (read closer to nature)…Ken would spend his summers growing up at his grandparents' farm in Missouri so I'm going to be leaning for (and learning) survival skills from him. ;)

      Macusina on October 24, 2013 at 4:45 pm
    • Amen to that. I am not sure if it is the things i have been through or reaching the middle years, but I have found the simpler life here on the Crystal Coast and I quite like it. Now to figure out how to do it full time…

      Lulubelle13 on October 24, 2013 at 7:22 pm
    • Mari, I have, sorry – had – kin in Missouri. They've all died out now and the youngsters (aged 50 to 70) have moved on to other places. Where did Ken's kin hale from? All mine lately hailed from SE Mo, but I've been in SW Mo. visiting & working at cousins' dairy farm there. I know 'The Bluff', Ellington, Monet and Pierce City intimately. If Ken was farther north, then we have no connection. I'm just curious.
      WCG

      Wind Chime Girl on October 26, 2013 at 11:05 pm
    • Good morning WCG, Ken's family lived in Vandalia, between Mexico and Hannibal…I believe that's North East. It happens that sometimes you can find a long lost friend and/or family member in these social sites…I found many HS friends on FB. :)

      Macusina on October 27, 2013 at 11:52 am
    • OK, today was a bit cooler, started out this morning at 44, was a nice 58 by midday. Sunny and less windy on the beach, I was a bit hot walking in my sweatshirt! Lots of fellas fishing. Some combat exercises out of Atlantic. Loads of fat seagulls. Perfect.

      Lulubelle13 on October 24, 2013 at 7:30 pm
    • We are having 50 MPH+ wind gusts, bringing in a snow storm. What happened to Fall? I must of missed it.

      vicki_in_Utah on October 28, 2013 at 1:06 pm
  8. Aw, Lulubelle, you and Mari have made friends already I see. How wonderful. Both of you sound like wonderful peeps (aka people). Even I wish I could know you both (Michigan).
    I hope you Mari and hubby Ken can go soon just to be able to see/feel it. Mari, you said you wonder how 'you' won-think again-God knows what you and family have been through, and He has his ways of trying to make you feel better. Just take that all in and don't question it. I will pray for your strength in the near future with the trial and all that taxing stuff.
    God Bless both of you and have fun at Core Sound!

    Peggy SO on October 23, 2013 at 10:29 pm
    • Wish I could donate tax money to help Just for this b.c. and Mari. This property and the owner has really touched my heart. I'm very tight with my money (ask my kids) but I would give a few dollars for this one

      cynthia ussery on October 24, 2013 at 9:31 am
    • Dear Cynthia, what a sweet thought. I believe in the power of prayer and good thoughts and I know that by all the good energy that you have sent me things will work out…we're also working on it of course :) May God bless you always!

      Macusina on October 24, 2013 at 2:47 pm
    • Michigan is beautiful…. In summer. And all of my cold weather skills were learned from my roommate from Ann Arbor. I have been enjoying this area for a long time, and wish to make it my full time home. It is a special place. Be sure to let me know if you are visiting NC and I will show you around.

      Lulubelle13 on October 24, 2013 at 2:36 pm
    • Dear Peggy, It has been great to get to know such nice people as you on this blog. Thank you for your vote of confidence and prayers… I know that God is all-seeing and all-powerful, I have placed all in His hands. I appreciate for all your prayers for the challenges ahead and if you get down to NC give us a holler :) God bless! Mari.

      Macusina on October 24, 2013 at 2:50 pm
    • A+ on the proper southern response.

      Lulubelle13 on October 24, 2013 at 3:46 pm
  9. Hi fellow bloggers, Haven't been online for a bit. Nice to see that it looks like a lot a positive thoughts are flowing here. Had a cold front come through yesterday and it is 61 degrees here in FL brrrr!!
    Haven't looked back too far, so have not seen if there are any more hints (other than on a certain hosts FB) about where BC2014 will be located. Looking forward to that and enjoying helping select certain items for the next year's winner!!

    Holidaygal on October 24, 2013 at 9:49 am
    • Haven't seen temps in the 60's for a few weeks now. :( A little snow last night and more flurries on the way for this weekend. Enjoy your 'cold' weather. Maybe we'll learn about the location of BC 2014 next Friday? :)

      AnniesOwn on October 24, 2013 at 1:04 pm
  10. Congratulations Mari!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you and your family enjoy this beautiful home with health and happiness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    zisan on October 24, 2013 at 12:55 pm
    • Many thanks Zisan for the kind wishes! Mari.

      Macusina on October 24, 2013 at 2:37 pm

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Blog Cabin is the groundbreaking multimedia experience based on a very simple idea: You Design It, We Build It, You Could Win It! This truly interactive series asks Internet users to vote on the design features for a real vacation getaway. Expert hosts from DIY Network series will be on hand to rebuild the 1920s lakeside house that will become a luxurious home for a lucky sweepstakes winner. Plus, a one-hour Blog Cabin special, hosted by tool expert Chris Grundy, will highlight the incredible transformation.
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