Home Tips

Backyard ‘Staycation’ Safety Tips

Summer brings more opportunities for outdoor activities around the house.  Why not plan a “staycation” in your own backyard; but play it safe:

  • Keep your grill on a level surface away from your house, garage and any flammable objects.
  • Don’t step away from a grill while it’s on, and keep children and pets at a safe distance from the flames.
  • When using charcoal, extinguish properly by breaking up the embers with a long stick or grilling tool, then covering the grill to cut off the oxygen.  Or, slowly sprinkle the coals with water.  Once the coals are cooled completely, dispose of them in a metal container.



  • Before mowing, clear the yard of any loose objects that could fly out from under the lawnmower.
  • When using power tools for yard work, wear protective gear and cover your eyes with goggles.
  • Wear protective clothing when using pesticides etc and don’t spray around children or pets and precisely follow directions.
  • Before you dig a hole in your yard for any reason call your local utility company to avoid underground gas or power lines.


  • Install four foot high fence around the pool area and include self-closing gates with latches out of reach of children.
  • Keep the pool area clear of toys and other objects that someone may trip over.
  • Never allow children to swim without adult supervision.
  • Place a sturdy pool cover over the pool when it’s not in use.


  • Place swing sets and other play equipment on level ground, and make sure legs are properly
  • Inspect play sets regularly for any sharp bolts, screws, nails or rot.
  • When celebrating with fireworks, wear safety glasses when handling fireworks, and have water handy to soak spent fireworks before disposing of them.

Be careful of becoming over-exposed to the sun.  Drink plenty of fluids, and seek air conditioning if you become overheated, and have fun!

Ideas taken from: https://www.horacemann.com/insurance/property-insurance/summer-backyard-safety-tips
Categories: family, holiday, Home Safety, Home Tips, Organize, Real Estate | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cacio e Pepe – The Simplest Pasta Recipe

22eat4caciopepe-articleLargeIt is among the most basic, simplest pastas there is, and suddenly trendy to boot. Why? Because when made right, it is incredible.


  • Salt
  • 1 ½ cups finely grated pecorino Romano, plus more for dusting completed dish
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper, plus more for finishing the dish
  • ¾ pound tonnarelli or other long pasta like linguine or spaghetti
  • Good olive oil


  1. Put a pot of salted water on to boil. In a large bowl, combine the cheeses and black pepper; mash with just enough cold water to make a thick paste. Spread the paste evenly in the bowl.
  2. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta. The second before it is perfectly cooked (taste it frequently once it begins to soften), use tongs to transfer the pasta into a skillet, put some of the pasta water there and slowly add the cheese while flip mixing the pasta to create your sauce that sticks. You have to do this for a good 1-2 minutestir vigorously to coat the pasta, adding a teaspoon or two of olive oil and a bit of the pasta cooking water to thin the sauce if necessary. The sauce should cling to the pasta and be creamy but not watery.
  3. Plate and dust each dish with additional pecorino and pepper. Serve immediately.


Categories: family, holiday, Home Tips, meals, Real Estate, Recipes | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Tips to Shop Safely Online

online-shopping-conceptShopping online this holiday season could leave you with your identity stolen, or at least an expensive surprise when a thief charges a ticket to Fiji on your credit card. Swearing off online shopping isn’t necessary, though. You just need some simple steps to protect yourself from online fraud, which ticks up this time of year as more people shop.

1. Strong passwords and phrases

Using a hack-free password may sound elementary. Many people, however, continue to use passwords that are too easy for attackers to figure out. To make a strong password, use some special characters, numbers or, better yet, a phrase. Phrases like “Iamthegr8est” are harder for a dictionary attack to break. Also, using different passwords for different sites is never a bad idea. So don’t leave all of your accounts open to a single password.

2. Beware of free Wi-Fi

Sometimes you’re sitting in the coffee shop, and you think, “Now would be a good time to get that gift for someone.” Don’t do it. Unsecured Wi-Fi networks are vulnerable to people listening in. A fraudster can just let his or her computer gather up all the data flying around the room, and sort out the usernames and passwords later. If you’re going to shop online, do it from a password-protected network. “A lot of people connect to Wi-Fi and don’t think anything of it,” Hanson said. “Every single thing that you type is vulnerable.”

3. Don’t be phish bait

Sometimes an email can look like it’s from a trusted company or bank. Many people don’t check before they click the links, or they send back Safe-Online-Shoppingwhatever information the institution asks for without first requesting more detail, said Hanson. “Sometimes you get an email that says ‘we’d like to expedite something, click here.” Remember that emails from major retailers or banks never ask for personal information or passwords. And when in doubt, call.

4. False friends

Scammers often take advantage of the clumsy typing skills of the average person, or the fact that few people pay close attention to the Web address of a site they are shopping on. For example, Amazon’s Amazon Payments site is hosted only on certain domains — and no others. If you see an email or are directed to a website where the Web address looks close, but doesn’t match, then it’s likely a fraud, and your information could be at risk.

5. Look for the lock

6.HTTPS_On browsers such as Firefox and Safari, there’s a small lock icon next to the site address, and the “https” on the address bar. The lock shows whether the connection to the site is encrypted. If you don’t see the lock, it’s probably not a good idea to send any credit card information over that link.


6. Credit cards, not debit cards

Sometimes it may seem like a good idea to use a debit card, because the money comes right out of an account and keeps you honest —gift_card_1no running up huge debts. However, credit and debit cards have different rules. Generally, it’s easier to get your money back (called a charge-back) from a credit card if you get scammed and a thief uses the card. It tends to be harder to do the same on debit cards, if they offer such protection at all.  Use gift cards. That way, you need not enter your personal information on a site, and you know that there’s a preset amount of money on the card. “Most of the time, we think of them as gifts for other people,” he said. “But they are really good for this.”


7. Check your statements

Checking your bank statements more often is never a bad idea, but doing so during the shopping season is even more important. That way, it’s easier to spot transactions that aren’t yours. Even better, sign up for the alerts that the credit card company will send, either by email or to your phone, whenever a purchase is made. This is a good way to guard against the fraud that happens when thieves buy blocks of credit card numbers online, because the only way to know if yours is among them is when it is used. This way you’d know when that happens and can call the credit card issuer right away.

Excerpts from: http://www.livescience.com/52982-tips-safe-online-holiday-shopping.html


Categories: Christmas, Cyber Safety, family, holiday, Home Safety, Home Tips, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Enjoy An Extra Hour of Sleep!


Contact me if you are in the Nashville Area!  Fall is a great time to evaluate you real estate needs.  With interest rates remaining low it is a good time to buy and with the growth taking place in Nashville your home may be worth more than you think.  Call me today for a FREE no-obligation market analysis.  My objective is to work diligently to assist you in realizing your real estate dreams.


Categories: Condo, family, For Sale, holiday, Home Safety, Home Tips, Real Estate | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Halloween! Some Pumpkin Carving Tips…

  • ?????????????Do not eat a pumpkin that has been carved as a jack-o’-lantern.
  • Choose a large pumpkin. The larger the pumpkin, the easier it is to carve. Pumpkins with a lighter color tend to be softer and easier to carve.
  •  When cutting out the top, place the knife at a 45 degree angle so the lid will have a place to rest when you replace it. If you cut straight down, the lid will fall through.
  • When cleaning the pumpkin, save the seeds. Toasted pumpkin seeds make a healthy as well as tasty snack. A 1-inchpumpkinseeds2x thickness of the pumpkin wall is optimum.
  • Print out or draw the pattern on a piece of paper. Use small sharp scissors or a razor knife to cut out the areas you will be carving into the pumpkin. Tape the template onto the pumpkin and use a marker to trace the carving lines. Cutting slits in the paper will help it to conform to the round surface.
  • As an alternative, you can tape the outline to the pumpkin and use a nail or large pushpin to score the carving lines onto the pumpkin. Connect the dots as you carve.
  • A long serrated knife or a pumpkin-carving knife with teeth will be necessary to cut through the thick flesh. Use a sawing motion and take your time cutting along the outside edge of the marker lines so there is no marker residue.
  • iStock-4639032_toothpick-teeth-pumpkin-carving_s3x4_lgConsider cutting off the bottom of the pumpkin, as well as the top. The pumpkin will be more stable and also easier to carve. If you plan on using a candle to light your jack-o’-lantern, be sure the opening in the bottom is large enough to fit over the candle. Place the candle on a fire-proof base large enough to accommodate the pumpkin. You can then easily lift off the jack-o’-lantern to light the candle.
  • Pumpkin-Carving-Ideas-for-HalloweenA small battery-operated flameless candleis a safer choice than traditional candles for lighting your jack-o’-lantern.
  • Sprinkle the bottom side of the pumpkin lid with ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or cloves to let your jack-o’-lantern do double duty as an air freshener.



from … http://homecooking.about.com/od/howtocookvegetables/a/pumpkincarving.htm
Categories: family, halloween, holiday, Home Safety, Home Tips, pumpkin carving, Real Estate | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Welcome Autumn ~ A Good Time to Sell

goodbye_summer_hello_autumn_tnHome-selling-autumn.300x230September 23, 2015. marks the first day of autumn. with the day and night approximately equal in length. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, people are enjoying the cooler days of autumn, shorter days and longer nights. South of the equator, spring begins.  Autumn is also a great time to list your home for sale!  The timing couldn’t be better. Home selling in autumn is the second best time of the year to sell a home. Families have returned from summer vacations. Kids have gone back to school. We are set to enjoy 75 to 80 days of normalcy.   If you’re in the Nashville are and  thinking of buying or selling, please call me, I’m here to help you realize your real estate dreams!

Categories: family, For Sale, Home Tips, Real Estate | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Getting Rid of Stuff Feels Good … Why?

7-General-Action-Plan-for-Decluttering-Your-Home-Successfully-2Many of us strive for a more simplified life, in which what surrounds us are things we either truly love or truly need, preferably both. To arrive at — and to maintain — such a lifestyle, we have to get rid of things, whether it’s in one fell swoop or in small doses. While it feels like a big mountain to climb, getting rid of things ultimately feels sooo good. Here’s why.

Physical space and mental space go hand-in-hand. Clutter is visual noise, and the disarray creeps into our mental faculties as well; for some of us more than others. So it stands to reason that clearing out our physical spaces, making room for air and light and growth, would be mirrored in our psyches as well. Just think how much better you work when your desk is cleaned off — now extend that to your life.Kitchen-Counter-Declutter-Before-After-Only-Took-10-Minutes

Separating from the past can heal us. We hang onto so many things because of the memories tied to them. When we de-clutter, we have the opportunity to interact not only with our physical possessions, but with the memories and feelings they trigger. This can be negative but cathartic, as when we let go of things we’ve held onto out of fear of letting go or of not being in control. The act of getting rid of these things can be painful but is nevertheless triumphant, inspiring a feeling of this has no hold on me!! as things are discarded. I think watching this interplay between our things and our personal histories is what had me hooked on Hoarders for a time.

Making decisions makes us strong. When we make a decision about something, even something as small as whether to keep those curtain rods, we dogain some control, and the feeling is addicting and self-perpetuating. If you can donate years’ upon years’ worth of children’s clothes, for instance, you’re not only making room mentally and physically. You’re also empowered to tackle that next thing that’s been hanging over you or crowding your consciousness: exercising, asking your boss for a raise, copying your pictures off your phone, whatever.

You have less stuff to deal with. This is the most obvious reward of getting rid of stuff, and most definitely not the smallest. Each thing that goes out your door is one less thing you have to find a place for, organize again and again, or clean. That, my friends, is freedom and boy does it feel good!

I found this interesting and thought you would too; I shared from: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/why-does-getting-rid-of-stuff-feel-so-good-223176

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Prepare to Sell Your Home With Professional Photography

4downloadYou only get one chance to make a first impression.  most buyers utilize technology in search of the perfect home long before they ever see it in person.  That’s why I use professional photography by Showcase Photographers to highlight your home’s best features and impress potential buyers right from the start.  Before the photographer arrives, it is important that everything looks inviting, comfortable and simple.

As your Real Estate Professional I will guide you through the selling process and staging your home for professional photography and for potential buyers touring your home.  Following are some easy tips to help you get your home ready for showcase.


  • Remove all cars (parked vehicles in front of the home can be seen through windows on interior
    bicycles, boats, garbage bins, hoses, alarm signs , empty pots or pots with dead plants.
  • Sweep off patios, decks and walk-ways.
  • Remove fallen limbs from the yard.
  • If you have patio cushions, please arrange them neetley on the furniture.
  • Remove grill covers.
  • If yu have a pool, make sure the Polaris or cleaners has been pulled out.


  • Open all blinds, curtains, sheers (including in the garage)
  • Turn on all ceiling lights, lamps, under counter lights, and turn OFF all ceiling fans.  Replace any non-working bulbs.
  • Kitchen: Remove all soaps, sponges, drying racks, dirty dishes, food,off ofimages (1)dounters and top of refrigerator, hide the garbage can, take towels off the fronts of appliances, and remove everthing from the exterior of the refrigerator.
  • Bathrooms:  Remove all personal items from countertops (razors, toothbrushes, soap, perfumes, personal
    photos, etc.
    ) In the shower, hide shampoos, razors, sponges, soaps, squeegees, etc.
  • Picture-150All pet beds, toys, bowls, food and supplies should be hidden.  Also, plan to confine your cats or dogs in a room.
  • Attempt to hide cords from you electronics as best you can — if you don’t wish to unplug them, move a big plant or some other decorative item to help do the job.
  • Clean mirrors and shower doors, removing any smears. Clean windows go a long way when potential buyers are touring your home.images
  • Assess lighting in each room.  If you feel a room is too dark, bring in a few lamps to compensate.
  • Remove small area rugs.  If you have wood floors or nice tile, it is better to show those then “hide” them with rugs.
  • Put all remote controls in drawers or under pillows
  • Please make sure items hidden under beds do not show at a distance.


© Showcase Photographers 2014

Categories: family, Home Tips, Landscape, Organization, Organize, Real Estate, Technology | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Freshen Up Your Home Decor and Lift Your Spirits

Your mind can’t help but flood with images of blooming tulips and daisies, gleaming sunshine and a home bursting with spring flavor.

You’ve already got the fever, my friend, the fever for a change in décor. Weary of the dark, drabness of the winter months, you’re itching for the light, energetic mood of the spring season. But who has the bandwidth or the bucks?

I felt compelled to share these great ideas from three interior design pros – Lauri Ward, Lisa Turner and Candace C. Peters – whipped up dozens of quick, easy and dollar-conscious ways to freshen up your living space before the flowers start to bud. Here’s what you can do in no time:

Here’s what you can do in no time

Rotate art

Are your walls all cluttered with stagnant artwork? Then it’s time for a change. “Some people hang everything they own on every wall,” says Ward, the pioneer of “one-day decorating” and author of “Home Therapy: Fast, Easy, Affordable Makeovers”. “Look at it all the time, and you start taking it for granted.” Try this: Separate art into summer and winter piles. Hang the lighter, pastel colors for spring and summer, and put the deep, oil paintings in storage. Every six months, rotate your pieces. “This way, you enjoy your art with a new vigor, and it’s something you can do in minutes.” Ward also suggests art collectors leave one blank wall in each room. It gives visitors a place to rest the eyes.  or simply just move your art around or to different walls 

Soothe the senses

Spring is not only a colorful season, but a fragrant one, too. Bring the aroma indoors. “Scents have a profound effect on mood,” Peters says. “Infusing scent into your décor with diffusers, candles, fresh cut plants/flowers, or incense can change the overall feeling of a space.” Ward offers this quick, floral tip: Purchase an inexpensive bouquet of flowers. Split flowers up by color, and place each bunch in small vases around your home.

Beautify your boudoir

Bright, new bedding can do wonders for your personal space. Tuck away the heavy, winter flannel comforter and pull out crisp linens with coverlets for color, Turner says. Bring in the spring with floral-designed spreads or colorful solids. Don’t forget accent pillows for added style and comfort.

Buy new bulbs

You’re thinking flower bulbs, right? Not a bad idea, but we’re talking about light bulbs. Ward says many of us aren’t using our lights properly. “In the winter, you need more light,” Ward says. But in the spring you can get away with less. Swap your 60-watt bulb with a 3-way bulb to allow you to soften light in a room, she says. “It really makes a difference to have the flexibility.” Look into energy-efficient bulbs, which may cost more than a standard bulb, but last longer and can cut down electric bills.

Let the sunshine in

In the winter, dull, dusty windows can go unnoticed. Shorter, darker days give us an excuse. But in spring, take advantage of the sunny season by giving the windows a wash. “People tend to let the windows go, and they don’t get as much light,” Ward says. “You can have a gorgeous room, but if the windows are dirty, it won’t look as beautiful or as bright.” For an added tip, Turner suggests pulling back dark window treatments and adding a shade or valance for a touch of color. Or, you can also replace window treatments with ecru or white sheers for an elegant look.

Update accessories

Just as you’d add a scarf or necklace to enhance an outfit, do the same with your home. “Dress your home like you would yourself,” Turner says. “Look for great accent pillows in bright colors. Put away the winter throws and drape light, bright throws on your sofa. Pick out spring-hued vases or candles to boost a cocktail or dining room table.

Show off your collection

Everyone knows you love elephants. You’ve got an assortment of statues in every room! Experts say to centralize your collection in one spot so your space looks organized and your visitors can truly enjoy it. “It gives a more dramatic effect,” Ward says. “If it’s a small collection, anchor it on a tray. Then people will notice.”

Lose the magnets

In just minutes, you can tidy up a kitchen by getting rid of the scraps of paper, business cards and take-out menus stuck to the fridge. If you have odds and ends everywhere, it looks messy,” Ward says. “If you clear it, your kitchen looks neat.”

Keep out things you use on a daily basis, the expert says. Invest in a pretty bulletin board to take care of important items.

Taken from HGTV by Stacy Gillman / filed under Spring, Color  / to read this article and/or for more tips link to: http://www.hgtv.com/organizing/ten-minute-tricks-to-freshen-your-space/index.html
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Backyard Living

Bring the elegance of the indoors to the wonders of the outdoors with these simple decorating ideas.  Look at your exterior space and design it with the same principles with which you approach interior rooms. Try treating the natural environment as your own décor inspiration—it can help dictate color, texture and scale.

201207-orig-backyard-neutral-284x426  201207-orig-backyard-screened-284x426Back to Basics

Select neutral colors and natural fibers. They consistently feel clean and will help create a peaceful environment.

Seamless Transitions

Connect indoor and outdoor spaces by using the same color scheme in both.

Breaking Barriers

Erase the barrier between indoors and out. Furnish your deck, porch, or patio as if it were your living room. Then you can’t help but enjoy the good weather.

Try lining your garden with rope lighting and adding window mirrors to the fence to make your garden look larger

grid-cell-27288-1400858783-22  enhanced-16740-1400857143-20

With outdoor space, more is better. There is no good reason to want less space to work with. Yet some people are overwhelmed by the size of a yard or patio and simply choose a corner to stick a grill and a bench, end of story. A better way to approach open space is to create zones, just like you would with social spaces indoors.

Think first about what outdoor-only features you definitely want, such as a fire pit, a sheltered area, a walkway or patio, a fountain, a pool or a spot for lawn games like horseshoes. Essentially, anything that you’ve already placed in your outdoor space can be a center that you position seating and décor vignettes around. After those focal centers are determined, go about decorating and positioning as you would indoors. Don’t be afraid to combine several seating and table vignettes into a larger social cluster.
DHMY105_backyard-fire-pit-seating-area-orange_s4x3_lg chic-backyard-shed-office-0211-l chic-backyard-outdoor-living-area-0211-l







These shady book nooks require just a hula-hoop and a curtain.


a portion of this post taken from http://www.oprah.com/home/Backyard-Decorating-Tips-Patio-Design-Ideas
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