Halloween, celebrated on October 31, can be traced back to Samhain, the ancient Celtic harvest festival honoring the Lord of the Dead.
Observed on November 1 in the British Isles and parts of France, Samhain also marked the beginning of the Celtic New Year. Becauseit was a time of transition between the old and the new, the Celts believed that the souls of those who had died during the previous year gathered to travel together to the land of the dead.
It was also a time when those who had died in years past returned to visit their homes. (Can you IMAGINE the calls those REALTORS got??)
November 1 was considered the end of the summer period, the date on which the herds were returned from pasture and land tenures were renewed.
People lit bonfires to scare away evil spirits and “sacrificed” fruits and vegetables, hoping to appease the spirits of the deceased. (Butwhat if the spirits didn’t like say, brussel sprouts, either??) Sometimes people disguised themselves in masks and costumes so that the visiting spirits would not recognize them.
Charms, spells, and predictions of the future were all part of the eve of Samhain. In the old Celtic calendar, that last evening of October was “old-year’s night,” the night of all witches.
Welcome to the inaugural post of Word Of The Week !
Every Saturday I’ll be posting a Word Of The Week: a word that is floating my boat that particular week. Could come from any number of sources, but something meaningful and appropriate for what is going on.
This weeks’ word is ANTICIPATION. And no, you don’t hear Carly Simon singing in the background.
In the last few weeks have been getting this very powerful, recurring vibe…and image.
Buyers and sellers are tired of being unhappy, tired of waiting. They want to be happy, and get on with their lives.
Like Olympic athletes-shoulder to shoulder, tightly coiled, waiting for that CRACK! of the starters’ pistol. They are quivering, straining not to jump too early. But they ARE ready. And they WILL be jumping.
Via the conversations, the new inquiries, the attitudes, the buzz in stores-it’s that frozen moment of time, when you know you are on the threshold of something happening, a nano-second away from action. Determination mixed with nervous excitement, it’selectric, and palatable.
Medical Equipment Drive At Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, White Plains NY 10605
October is Physical Therapy Month, and to mark the occasion, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains is holding a medical equipment drive.
Now, through October 31st your unneeded crutches, walkers, manual wheelchairs, canes and braces can be dropped off at any one of their five area collection points.
Things many of us have accumulated in our garage and attics can now be put back to use, and genuinely make a difference in someone elses’ life.
Once all good, working equipment is collected and checked, it will be redistributed free among their patients in need, and to AmeriCares, to aid and assist people in need both domestically and internationally.
Note equipment must be serviceable and in usable condition; anything requiring batteries or electricity will not be accepted. For questions, or more information, please contact Sandra Alexandrou, PT at email@example.com
There are some things in the world are really starting to chafe me.
A current AARP ad shows a 60+ actor speaking, presumably to politicians in general, warning them not to mess with seniors’ benefits. Indignant, they earned these, and by-golly, they remember these things, and they vote.
While he is speaking, masses of demographically correct Nanna and Pa types are converging behind him, to ultimately be shoulder to shoulder, some with half-smiles, nodding at the camera. A little like a scene from a bad remake of a George Romero movie.
The ad’s title is Message to Congress: Cut waste and loopholes A point of view I most heartily endorse. But the tone, the vibe, I get is their elevated level of righteousness. SURE< I want to benefit from the fund I have been contributing to for 70% of my entire life already-but shouldn’t everyone who contributes be similarly entitled ? By default, are you inferring those now in their 30s, working and paying into this are even less…ummmm…entitled than I am?
Entitlement is defined by Merriam-Webster as the fact of having a right to something, or the amount to which a person has a right; and benefits as a profit earned, or gained. Very simiar, but have you ever heard someone else describe their own right to something as an entitlement? Google images for both, you’ll see what I mean.
But my bigger point how we are acting toward our fellows.
As a white, Irish-Catholic female living in the northeast, I’ve never been considered a minority. At age 53, I am not only in that demographic, I even have the card in my wallet. But something I just have to throw it out there: I think the minute we start counting up who has been wronged more, or who is owed more from the rest of society, we as a country are on a slippery slide to a fundamentally really bad and unhelpful place.
Value-or value lost-will always be in the eye of the beholder. Pick any age or demographic in our modern day : is there anyone who hasn’t had something taken away from them by others?
Whether it’s opportunitues lost or thwarted by race, creed age or gender; financial security upended, or the worlds’ ecosystem being abused-in theory, theoretically we all could have cause to be angry.
We inherit our circumstances from those that have gone before us. We “only” have the opportunity to change what lies ahead. Wishing for non-violent change, Ghandi urged us-’be the change you want to see in the world’.
I don’t want to trivialize or judge anyone’s pain or anger. There are certainly wrongs in our world that need to be righted. But real changes happen when the focus is on commonalities, and looking forward; and anger is directed at the injustice, institution or belief-an inanimate.
Horribly, history has shown us what happens when others create divisions, focus on the past, and ask that a group’s anger be directed at a specific people.
In the case of the ad, sure 50 million AAPR members are a lot of seniors, but that’s only roughly 16% of our total population of 311 million. 2010 census statistics show that 24% of the population is 18 or younger…which means 76% of the population is of working and voting age.
The words ’united we stand, divided we fall’ were part of a Revoloutionary War song written in 1768 by Bostonian John Dickinson. They’ve been the clarion call during many troubled times since.
There is a lot of anger in the world out there. Words matter. Be mindful of what you hear, and the real message. Be mindful of what you say, and how you say it. Be respectful of others. AND VOTE. In the end, we are all in this together.
Months ago I had come across this great post..sent myself a link to the page, marked it with purple flag (meaning urgent follow-up, HA!), then it slid right off my radar. Until this past week, when talk of door-painting suddenly seemed to become a very hot topic.
What Does Your Front Door Say About You is a broad look at some of the colors that front doors are painted, and what they mean. Went back, re-read the post, then trolled around Susan’s own site, and it was absolutely delightful.
Between Naps on the Porch is a blog Susan Herin created out of love for all things home: Decorating, tablescapes, recipes-you name it.
I like it for several reasons-it’s professional, detailed, creative and tasteful. Like M*****, without the whole smug-thing. And this was before we had even e-connected, she is just as delightful. live and in person!
Visit, enjoy, even bookmark, and may a red door be in your future, too!
Home Is Where There’s Furniture… And Lamps... And A Rug: Furniture Drive Coming To Armonk This Saturday 10/15 9am-3pm
OK< we all know it’s where the heart is, too; it’s just darn hard for the heart to be happy if there is no place to sit, put your clothes away, do homework, or have a family meal.
If you have unwanted furniture that’s clogging up your home, let me tell you how you can make a meaningful difference in the life of a neighbor this weekend.
As part of the Town of North Castle’s (a.k.a. Armonk) Zero Waste Day, Furniture Sharehouse will be behind Town Hall from 9am to 3pm, accepting your donations of clean, basic, average-size usable furniture, as well as working kitchen appliances, lamps, mirrors, and rugs.
Furniture Sharehouse is Westchester County’s non-profit furniture bank. All-volunteer, it’s the Robin Hood of average, basic, clean unwanted furniture (and some furnishings). Nothing is sold, and it’s not open to the public. Furniture is collected, then re-distributed free of charge ty appointment, to clients of almost 40 social service agencies in Westchester. This video, filmed in 2008 as part of a pitch to PBS captures the entire experience; the updated numbers of families furnished is hovering around 1500.
While the basics like kitchen/dining tables and chairs, dressers, as well as upholstered sofas and mattress/boxspring sets are always the most in demand, there are limitations on size, and the types of things that can be accepted, so before you load up the SUV< please check out these guidelines:
Donors will not only be reclaiming some real estate in their home, they will be keeping things out of the waste stream, and helping all our tax dollars go further, both from reduced debris removal costs, as well as supporting services that support the less fortunate. Lastly, as a 501c organization, receipts for tax purposes are given,.
If you can’t make the drive, have too much to bring, or will have a donation to make at another time-pick ups are available. just follow the above link to the website for more information.
Stop by the drive and say hello if you’re in the area, but remember Furniture Sharehouse is open year-round, so even if you’re drawing blanks on how to help with this drive-telling your friends, and remembering it exists is a wonderful contributionin itself.
And REALTORS: if you would like more information on how Furniture Sharehouse can be a helpful resource for your office/your clients who are moving-please be in touch with me directly.
This week I found a new and invaluable tool. Not for the house, or their stuff…but for all the humans in the equation…
Have been a fan of W.S. Badger products for a while….soothing, all natural body care products, their balms are formulated with different botanicals for each task. Sleep Balm? Snooze City! Sore Muscle Balm? Moving again in no time. So it was with great delight I found the newest addition to my Staging Kit:
Cheerful Mind formula: How could you not love this?? Honestly, I’m already happier just carrying it around-I mean, look at that cute chubby little guy on the tin!
But open it, run a little on your wrists, temples, even just a touch on the underside tip of your nose, and the scent of fresh orange and lemon combined with spearmint will lift you-or anyone else-out of the cranky-pants doldrums in no time.
Seriously, it’s subtle and gentle, and for about $8.00 a tin, you can’t go wrong. Available at most health-and whole-food stores, keep one in your car, at your desk, wherever there is stress, and you need a smile to be an arm-length away.
To paraphrase Yogi-selling a house is 90% mental, and the other half physical, I am seriously considering making one of these part of each Staging proposal I do.
Double-bonus-it’s a family-run business, and the products are made right here in the northeast-YAY, Badger Balm!
Fifty Is Not What It Used To Be, And Neither Is Sixty
Have you seen the latest cover of New York Magazine?
A take-off of the infamous Demi Moore cover on Vanity Fair, it’s a bit unnerving. But re-defining the who/what/when/why of what makes up a family, and how they live is not news to the Census Bureau, or to those of us in the home and housing industry.
As a young adult, most of us became familiar with the typical milestones in life: first job, first place, first serious relationship, family, career, retirement.
We might not experience them all, but they were familiar, and by and large, this was the order we experienced them in.
Today, people in their 50′s could be new parents-adoptive or otherwise, sending kids off to school at any grade, welcoming back their grads who have not found a job, helping to raise grandchildren. They could also be be care-givers for an ill or re-habbing child or spouse, or tending to the needs of a parent.
Those in their sixties might have many of the same situations-perhaps less actively involved in children living in their home, but they could be retiring just as easily as they’d be starting up their own business…down-sizing their residence, or upsizing into a 2nd, vacation home. Divorcing…or re-marrying, complete with a new blended, extended family.
Economics, medical science and a society generally more accepting of differences have all combined to blur previously understood definitions and accepted timelines. According to the Pew Institute, a record 49 million-or 16.1% of Americans lived in a household that contained two different adult generations, or a grandparent and at least one other generation.
Add in the burgeoning work-at-home segment, rarely does their space and their things best serve their current circumstances. They all have to live somewhere. That is where the value of hiring professionals lies.
Each family presents its own unique situation and challenges. Home professionals know the questions to ask, and have smart solutions. Architects are trained to address changes and updates in infrastructure; experienced Senior Move Managers are a godsend who help make transitions easy for parent and adult children as well.
Having worked shoulder to shoulder with homeowners, in thousands of Westchester and Fairfield county homes, I understand how people live in their homes, and bring a unique perspective to the table.
Trained/certified as both a Decorator and a Home Stager, I understand how to balance the yearning with the reality, and know how to combine the common sense and the dream, the aesthetically pleasing as well as the functional.
the refreshed home supports and plays well with Architects, Movers, Senior Move Managers, Realtors, Contractors/Builders, Property Managers and Landlords.
Because I understand-and can explain-design principles like balance and color, space planning and lighting-therefreshed home specializes in old, unusual and small-to-average spaces, and also works directly with homeowners, tenants, buyers, sellers, and small business owners.
Bottom line, if your life/family/lifestyle is not matching up with your space, or your possessions, there could be some very easy fixes for you, and we should talk. Soon.
Because life is too short for you not to be in your best possible space.
Beat The Odds: Five MORE Tips For A Better-Showing House This Fall
When I worked in retail furniture, I absolutely LOVED working on snowy days, or the day after a snow storm.
When everyone else was out buying bread, picking up videos or whatever, people who came into a furniture store were people who were ready to buy furniture, and who wanted to buyfurniture.
Inevitably my close ratio was almost 100%, so I have always been a fan of being ready for buyers out of the normal/expected buying cycle.
We will get to inside stuff in another post, but here’s the follow-up to yesterday’s post …. five more things you can do to show- perhaps beat the odds-even SELL your house this fall.
6. Wash the windows, clean the screens, vacuum out all the ick that has accumulated between the windows and the screens. When the leaves come down, what better way to show how light-filled, and well-maintained your house is!
7. Be aware of odors. Cooler weather has us closing out windows more,eliminating ventilation and trapping odors.
Air out the house in the warmer days to come, but get in the habit of taking stinky garbage out immediately. Also, keep dirty laundry out of bedrooms and bathrooms. Maybe put it in the empty washer, until you are ready for a full load.
Watch what you cook-grill outside if you can-and good time to give the dog a bath, and wash all the dog things as well.
8. Unless a big storm is in the forecast, I recommend leaving the patio furniture out til it frosts, especially if you grill, or have a fire pit.
Keep it clean, and looking good. Toss the burned-out citronella candles, the ratty tablecloth, etc. Make it a desirable space, not a body of evidendce to a season sadly long gone.
Outdoor space does not count on listings as usable square footage in a house-so why not SHOW THOSE BUYERS just how much more value your house has from this bonus living space?
9. Put away any seasonal ornaments. Things like windchimes, figures of bunnies, or gnomes holding daisies. Again, oddly inappropriate after Labor Day.
Instead, think of putting up birdfeeders on the property-by snowfall you will have attracted quite a following, giving something for buyers to delight in when the rest of the area is covered in white.
10. Replace sad and tired linens. SERIOUSLY. Crushed toss pillows, dingy kitchen towels, limp bed sheets. These things have a limited life span.
Hit BBB with a bunch of coupons, or Kohls on a sale day and invest: New towels for the kitchen, big puffy bed pillows and a new set of bath towels and crisp, smooth new sheets. I purchased a king size set of 400 thread count sheets for a client recently; regularly $130.00 at Kohls-on sale and with my extra discount-less than $45.00.
Besides showing better to buyers, you will feel so-o-o-o special, for very little money. BONUS: Local pet shelters-Pets Alive in Elmsford, and SPCA in Briarcliff are my favorites-would be oh so grateful to accept your worn, but washed towels and linens.
Beat The Odds: Five Easy Tips For A Better-Showing House This Fall
Many people think the housing market shuts down Thanksgiving til December 31st.
The reality of school schedules, and the pressures of these falls holidays are the most common reasons behind the mindset. While activity levels might have a steep drop off, I do not belive people stop thinking about it, or that buyers stop looking, either. In our market, different cultures abound: not everyone has kids, or observes the Hallmark holidays.
There are several advantages to being ready to show in the fall. There are not as many properties on the market, so motivated sellers who have their house on the market-clean and ready to show will have the full attention of agents, and motivated buyers. I like the sound of that, don’t you?
Mortgage rates are still low, and the atmosphere is a little less super-charged. Again, this could bode well on many levels. But you have to be ready.
Staging should never be considered a silver bullet. There are too many things beyond a stagers’ control that would factor into getting your house sold (pricing, marketing, pricing, qualifying buyers, pricing, maintaining a showable house), but your house being ready counts for a lot.
While we still have some nice days in front of us, here are five quick, simple, easy and inexpensive things you can do now so your house will show well this fall:
1. Buy a simple, classic new welcome mat. Nothing cute, or overly personal. WELCOME works fine. Also-paint the front door. In this area, deep barn red is very popular. I may be prejudiced (I love purple) but I think it goes great in this photo-fresh and contemporary. ALWAYS work with what goes with the house. Look around your neighborhood, and when in doubt go classic.
2. New bulbs in fixtures. Especially outdoor. Up the wattage, make sure they are new, of matching wattage, and of the same type of light -i.e. just because you have them in the house, don’t have a mix of soft white and bright white.
3. Add seasonal color. Even the most amazing bunch of impatience is oddly inappropriate after Labor Day. Clear them out-brightly colored mums and ornamental cabbage is the way to go.
4. Keep yard maintained. Just because prime growing season is over, don’t slack off. Keep walkway clear, lawn mowed, beds edged and leaves raked. Have the house with the lush, emerald green lawn showing.
5. Remove all the detrius of summer: Cobwebs, sticks on the roof, things growing out of gutters. Make sure gutters are attached to roof securely, and clear.
Fall can turn into winter quickly in this area. Clogged, and badly attached gutters become heavy with wet leaves, then frozen solid when the temperature drops. “BEST” case they can pull away from the house, “WORST” case they can lead to the formation of ice dams, and cause internal leaks/damage. Either way, you do not want to mess with this in November.
TOMORROW: The other 5 things you can do…next weekend!
SEXY!! METALLIC!! Organic?? OH YES!! THREE WAYS TO REFRESH YOUR HOME NOW
Fall has arrived, officially and in reality.
Living in the northeast, we have the gift of an every-changing landscape, and a lifestyle that changes with it. So- as fond as we might be of summertime living, we also relish the thought of change, something new and different.
As the days get shorter, and we get re-acquainted with the inside of our home, we may find ourselves yearing for some cozy-ing up factors, but coming up empty -handed.
Gleaned from a trade show earlier this year, here are three distinct trends that work seamlessly together, and how you can make them your own, refreshing your home without breaking the bank.
SEXY!! Rich, smoky colors; strong, curvy shapes; textures and embellished surfaces that are umm…inviting to the touch.
SEEN THERE: Shown here in a serpentine chest of drawers in a brushed gold finish, with enameled purple metal soutache trim, applied throughout (my lousy picture, beyond stunning in person, about $28K). Or crisp white twill covering this big, round, very cozy, intimate Lounge Au Deux.
FOR YOU: New microfiber duvet over existing bed covering, a luxurious shag area rug-or brand-new bath towels in an absolutely improbable cream.
What about a bowl like this on your dining table filled with figs…or pomegranates?
Toss out those fake smelling, fire-hazard plug in air fresheners; scented soaps, or essential oil reed diffusers are safer, longer lasting and more authentic: Scents like amber and sandalwood make sense (pun intended), but-like ice cream, V-A-N-I-L-L-A is the way you want to go.
METALLIC! Nothing hard, shiny or glossy or glitzy; rather glimmer and shimmer, iridescent, and subtle sheen…remember those rocks that mesmerized you as a child? Think nuanced, feel engaged…and very special.
SEEN THERE: Bronzed leather, free-standing screen of gold ‘stones’, and oil paintings with very strong lines and thick applications of pigment.
FOR YOU: Rustoleum makes a line of paints that creates a hammered metal look in one can, with one procedure. I used copper for my unfinished wood desktop, and silver(spray can) to clean and update the frame of an old medicine chest.
Pier One has some crazy-beautiful accent pillows in lush colors and nice beadwork.
Metallic threads in a table runner, in the glaze of a ceramic lamp, or the he ‘jewels’ in this fruit (holiday ornaments, bought last January, maybe $1.00 each)
ORGANIC! Yes, REALLY! Natural elements with strength and character. From the genuine world around us, they are perfect in their imperfection, and we connect with these materials in a basic and visceral way.
SEEN THERE: Polished stone tables, a handblown glass ‘garden’, recycled aluminum as tree branches, and paper re-worked and glazed to add big art to empty spaces.
FOR YOU: A shallow bowl, some pebbles and $10.00 worth of bulbs (paperwhites or amaryllis) and you’ve got yourself a living, growing centerpiece that will take you thru to the holidays.
Take a wood tray with multi-color peppercorns, even small dried beans like lentils, barley, even coffee beans–with votive candles set into them.
Use a tall vessel-hammered metal, or ceramic with iridescent glaze, fill it with sticks, add a can uplight on floor behind vessel to emphasize the sculptural nature of, well, nature.