A number of years ago I found myself in a fairly new relationship this time of year.
Holidays are a tough time for any established relationship, but there is a LOT that happens during the holidays which could either shore up the beginning roots of a relationship…or cause dreams to blow away, like spent confetti.
We had been seeing each other for about 5 or 6 weeks, after we knew of each other for a few months. We were in the giddy wow, this is great, stars-in-the-eyes phase of the relationship. Christmas was delightful, and now it was New Years’ Eve.
He had made reservations, and we had a lovely dinner. I know I heard birds singing (refer to previous sentence), and was pretty sure a rainbow was hovering over our table.
Then the bill came.
He reached into his jacket, and came back empty-handed. With a sheepish grin and a casual tone, he announced he left his wallet in the car, and asked if I would mind paying.
(Insert sound of screeching tires) WHAT?!?
Many things went through my head that moment, none of them included the response “SURE!”. But if nothing, I was a strong woman, and a proponent of equal rights. But more to the point, I had brought my wallet, so I said “SURE” and I paid the bill.
We are given instincts for many reason, and many of them are good; they protect us from rushing into bad decisions and help guide us in making good ones. They are not always right though; sometimes they are just a much-needed speed-bump to make you slow down and take a slower look.
After I regained my composure-and I noticed that the rainbow and singing birds had vanished-we continued the evening and met up with some friends.
It was probably a pleasant evening, but my mind was very busy…what a jerk! does he think I’M a jerk? is this a test? is he cheap? petty? Am I stupid? WORST-maybe I’m not as flexible or independent as I think I am?
Every New Years Eve I am reminded of this story…by the man that really did have his wallet in the car, nineteen New Years Eves ago…and did not think it was a big deal. You see, we got engaged the following June, and married the April after that. And of couse, he still thinks it’s funny.
I often think of this story during the year, also…when something rubs me the wrong way, hurts me, or makes me angry. Sometimes taking a few deep breaths, maybe a step or two back brings some much-needed clarity and balance.
As long as I’m not deciding whether or not to leap out of the way of an oncoming car, a few moments to think and re-evaluate in dicey situations would not be the end of the world, could even be a good thing…friends, co-workers, and yup, even loved ones. Just sayin’.
Welcome back to Word Of The Week: where I explain why a certain word has caught my attention this week. Today the word is MANAGE.
When I first started my work life, I thought being a manager was a good aspiration…it seemed easy enough, you just tell people what you want them to do…did I mention I started work when I was very young??
There are two types of takes on the word manage. One is an idiom for coping, or getting by…‘whatever happens, I’ll manage’…pretty passive.
The other is an all-encompassing Snugglie of a job description (not exactly sure what it does encompass, and very fluid boundries) that is much more pro-active.
Earliest roots come from the Italian ‘maneggiare’-to handle, especially as in horses, or French ‘manege’ -horsemanship. The Latin, of course is ‘manus’-hand, as in manual, manacle.
The parallels of directing the path of a large and powerful creature and overseeing all aspects of a project are intriguing; bringing both to their safe, complete and intended destination-even more so.
And NOW I might have a clue as to why John Maggiotto-the camera artist and photographer extroidinaire who took my professional head shots, and kindly allowed me the use of his artwork here-often uses horses as subject matter, and a wild stallion as his avatar on his business cards and stationary. But I digress….
The image of hands, used in several financial and insurance institutions, are meant to convey and assure personal safety and security, but it’s a reminder too of the very basic ways that things get done.
Managing is an absolute hands-on, up close and yes, sometimes personal endevor. Successful managers know there is give and take. There is a need to both listen, and the ability to take charge.
Sometimes you need a light touch, other times… not so much. It requires simultaneously living in the circumstances of the moment and looking/thinking ahead…often far ahead, and in all sorts of directions. There is responsibility, and should be mutual respect.
Lots of talk this week of what the future ‘holds’, and- for me, anyway-reflection of this past year. In times of economic uncertainty, there is reluctance to acknowledge or seek the value of the intangible; so many perceive value to lie solely in the lowest dollar figure, or the finished-visual-product.
Ours is a world where little is simple…sometimes by evolution, sometimes by design. Relying on someone else who is very smart about something is not a bad thing. I will continue to make how I manage projects, and the process for clients my highest priority. And I will continue to also learn how to do it better.
I thank the readers, and clients of the refreshed home for a challenging, and rewarding 2011. I appreciate your faith and trust this year, have enjoyed sharing your excitment as your projects have unfolded, and look forward to the opportunities the New Year will bring us all.
Welcome back to my post-holiday series Give Yourself A Gift For 2012: where good ideas and smart people can help you have your best year ever.
At a recent WCBS Business Breakfast, Barbara Corcoran famed NYC Real Estate agent was the featured speaker. I did not attend, but caught an insight I found fascinating. She spoke about how she saw two types of people in the current market, in pretty much a 50-50 split: those sitting tight, and those making big moves.
Historically, recessions have proven to be fertile times for many business of all sizes and types to start, make a move, grow and expand…Hyatt, Sports Illustrated, FedEx, Trader Joes and media giants CNN and MTV are a few of the more well-known biggies that got their start in the midst of economic down cycles.
Will 2012 be your year to make some changes, to make something happen?
You don’t have to have plans for world-wide domination of your industry, but if you have bigger plans, or even are in a space, or a lease that is not meeting your needs, a really good first step would be to talk to a professional who can give you information and feedback to start the process, and I recommend you have that conversation with Trevor Tunell.
Trevor is the Vice-President of family-owned T-Square Properties. T-Square Properties specialize in all aspects of commercial real estate.
They represent Tenants to Landlords (including lease negotiation); represent Landlords to attract new Tenants, and maximize the value of their assets; and manage properties for owners. T Square Properties will also represent your interests if you are looking to buy, sell, or lease a new property.
And it costs nothing to have that conversation.
Besides that Trevor is a nice guy and a smart guy, he and the T-Square team “know” Westchester. They have been Westchester-based since they first opened their doors in 1983.
We all know real estate is hyper-local. Is there any reason to think a conglammorate with sattelite offices would really know the neighborhood better, understand market nuances better-or who’d be in a better position to serve their clients than a company with deep local roots?
As the population ages, the demand for easily accessible, state of the art specialized medical and dental services can only grow; but right now is also an especially good time for anyone in the Personal Services field-or even mid to large-sized corporations to make a move into larger, existing spaces.
Does your business depend on good foot traffic? Today’s economic climate has convinced some successful long-time shop ownersand restauranteurs to retire, making some very attractive storefronts in desirable locations available.
Commercial Real Estate is a highly specialized field. The right or wrong terms or location can make the difference between a dream realized, or a dream deferred. Don’t be afraid, just don’t go it alone.
This is a funny week in my business. Across the board, a lot of people-homeowners, buyers, sellers and agents are out of pocket; but emails continue, hopes and predictions for the New Year abound.
For what it’s worth, it’s also been a crazy few weeks of weather in our area-sunny and unseasonably mild much of the month, but right now, as I sit in my office, winds are howling, dark grey clouds are racing across the sky, breaking apart oddly to show impossibly blue patches of sky and brilliant sun. All these factors converge, and unexpectedly, bring Aesop, one of my all-time favorite storytellers to mind.
Aesop was considered a Greek folk hero, believed to have lived in the 6th century BC. His stories had nature and animals in them, but were not meant to delight children; indeed, they were metaphors designed to teach lessons by show the wise and foolish behavior of men.
One story that has resonated with me throughout my career is that of the North Wind and the Sun.
Essentially the Wind and the Sun were in disagreement about who was more powerful. During the disagreement, a traveler was spotted, approaching from the distance. This prompted the Sun to say to the Wind-let us see who can make the travelers’ cloak come off first. Whoever does will be considered the most powerful.
The Wind went first. He blew, and blew, and blew; but the traveler only pulled his cloak closer to him. Finally the Wind stepped down, and turned it over to the Sun.
The Sun was, well, the Sun. Shining brightly, and giving off great warmth, the traveler removed his cloak in no time.
The takeaway for me at this point in time is that we all are tired of being pummeled, shocked, hyped, and otherwise prodded in unpleasant ways: mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
“Home” is where we come back to, at the end of the day to re-charge, be comforted and stregnthened. Thirty years of being in homes has taught me that while how home is manifested will change with the times and the economy, universally it’s too important to ever be back-burnered in our pschye.
So it is with these thoughts that I state my belief that 2012 will be the Year of the Sun.
We will seek, and choose people and things that offer warmth and simplicity, kindness and respect over hype and sensationalism; yammering, flash, and grandiosity.
Substance and quality will prevail over form and quantity.On an personal and individual basis, there will be less fear and more quiet confidence.
This does not mean I believe all our problems or issues will vanish. Simply, I believe our collective internal compasses have been re-calibrated, and we are ready to take a deep breath, make good choices, and get on with our lives.
Whatever else the New Year may hold for you, may it include goodness and balance, health and peace of mind to you and yours.
Welcome back to my latest series, Give Yourself A Gift in 2012: good ideas and smart people who can help you enter the new year purposefully, with a clear head and lighter heart.
When comedian George Carlin first debuted his routine on “Stuff” in 1981, he observed that sometimes we have so much stuff, that we pay to store some of our stuff…’ IMAGINE< an entire industry based on keeping an eye on your stuff!! ’ The audience was hysterical-what a concept!
Several years earlier, Business Week made some predictions about business in the future, one was the computer would render us to be a paperless society. HA! A lesser-known-but correct prediction was our having a computer on every desk, but it has been ‘paperless society’ that we remember. (Fact is, the boom of affordable desktop copiers-and consumer-oriented retail stores that sell them- helped to more than DOUBLE the worldwide use of paper from 1980 to 2000!)
What was out there and funny then is all too real now. There are a number of things that have brought us to this glut of stuff, but one big question-how to deal with it?
At the least, excess stuff is annoying and inconvienent. It weighs us down, affecting our concentration and productivity; in more severe situations, it can be unhealthy, even life-threatening….sadly, three Westchester residents lost their lives in recent years when fires started in their over-loaded homes…they couldn’t get out, and firemen couldn’t get in.
As our lifestyles have changed, businesses have grown to meet these needs and provide solutions for for these issues. Organizing is one of those services.
Marcia Sloman was one of the first professional organizers in our area, and her company Under Control Organizing has been helping Westchester get organized since 1992. I’ve known of Marcia for years, but it was only after a series of phone calls and emails that we finally, recently met. Minutes into the conversation, it’s easy to see why she has been so successful: she is warm and friendly, precise and very focused, but with a light touch.
Numbers on how much time we spend looking for things vary, but all of them give pause: Online I found surveys quoting anywhere from 16 minutes a day (or approximately 1 year of your life) to 55 minutes a day (a mind-numbing almost 14 years of your life!).
Even at the lower end, it’s still a lot of time lost…wouldn’t that be a great burden to have lifted from your shoulders in the New Year? Getting cleared out and organized not only will save you time and energy, again, you re-claim some valuable real estate in your home. Marcia’s services run the gamut, but some of her specialties are managing paper and stuff, and making the most of two finite entities: time, and spaces.
Solutions or systems mean little if they’re unrealistic, or, frankly if you don’t trust or respect the person coming up with them…it’s that way with Staging, too…one great, very user-friendly mindset Marcia recommends to deal with a big project: Divide things into the following groups: Trash, Recycle, Sell, Give Away or Donate.
Organizing styles-especially as far as paper is concerned-also figure strongly into her approach. Marcia creates filing systems for the “In-nies”-those who need stuff to be out of sight, but easily accessible; and can have specialized storage spaces made for those “Out-ies”-folks who need an open, visual display to keep things orderly and find-able.
Bottom line-while having someone help you clean out your closets, your garage, or set up your office might seem like an indulgence, ask yourself: so how’s doing it yourself working out for you?
If the answer is not so good, start a conversation, give yourself a gift, and get on with your life!
Have shared it with people I know, wrote about it a few times, but not being a REALTOR, not exactly feeling comfortable about shouting it from the rooftops.
In the last 2 weeks, have been reading a number of posts in my beloved ActiveRain that were written by, and commented on by smart people…in all parts of the country. Increased activity. Nate Tutas, an independent Realtor from Davenport FL recently wrote a great postasking why only bad news was being reported.
The group consensus is that only bad news gets our attention, but I have another theory.
I think the buyers who are looking, making offers, and closing are not talking about it. In fact, they are making big and conscious efforts to keep their business to themselves.
Real estate will always be an emotionally charged industry. Economic conditions in the last few years have created an uber-touchy market, or as I have gotten fond of saying, a herd mentality.
Glut of properties of all types on the market, historically low mortgage rates, my theory is that the ready willing and able folks who have been laying low, and biding their time are realizing the party is coming to an end, and recovery, like the first rays of a brilliant sunrise, is in the offing.
SO-before the rest of the herd gets a whiff of it, and drives rates and prices up, they are making their move. Just not talking about it. Time, of course, will tell…but how cool would that be??
WHEW. Busy couple of weeks, and 2012 is looming large. Ideas for new beginnings and fresh starts abound this week, but what will be meaningful and feasible for you? Many not only share this thought, but in my experience, share the very same sticking points as well.
Really looking at the stuff that holds you back, takes up way too much space in your brain or keeps you up at night is hard, but resist the urge to pull a Scarlett O’Hara (I’ll think about it tomorrow), or make grand vows for sweeping, 180-degree changes. Neither are good paths to real solutions.
the refreshed homehas always been about getting past the stuff that gets in your way: ID-ing issues, providing specific solutions, and connections to people who can help get resolution . SO-welcome to the first in a series of posts that will get you, your space and your stuff in it’s best place ever.
This first post was a no brainer, it is the #1 issue I see in almost every home I am in. Look and your space and ask yourself:
Is the most attention-grabbing feature in your family room a wall of components, a bookcase full of DVDs, or a pile of remotes on the coffee table?
Do cables and wiring snake around your room, following the baseboard, up the walls and around door frames like those vines in “Jumanji“?
Is your new HDTV (blu-ray player/smart phone/tablet/etc) still in the box, while you’re on hold, or reading manuals trying to figure out how to set it up, or get it to work with your other things?
Have you just adapted to your home office setup, putting stuff where there is room-or a plug?
Love them, hate them-electronics are as much a part of our day as brushing out teeth. Everything from our music and games, computers and smart phones-we are rarely far away from these modern day ‘necessities’. They connect us, and make us viable in school and business, and dis-organization here can cost you. That’s why giving yourself the gift of e-organization could be the most satisfying and productive thing you could do for 2012.
Folks in the big-box stores could be semi-qualified to talk about the stuff they sell, but can’t possibly have the best answers for your overall digital, electronic situation.
Khattar Hashim is the owner of Digital Media Integration of NY. Beyond smart, he’s an electronics artist. Ask him to tell you about the kosher refrigerator, or speakers-as-car-fenders he created for two clients. He gets that electronics are solutions to a problem, and should enhance one’s space and life-not create their own problems.
Khattar has been a self-professed digital-geek since 1997, and if you live in the lower Hudson Valley, he is the guy to call to get yor stuff positioned, hooked up, working properly, and to it’s intended capacity. He is also an authorized dealer, and installer for some of the worlds’ best products: Bose, Samsung and Crestron, to name a few.
Re-claim your living space with an installation that hides wires, or can bury the components, out of sight, in a closet. Program your lights and thermostats to work off your smart phone or tablet, get that man-cave set up for the Super Bowl soiree!
Get the little green men on your TV back to their normal color, convert all your music and movies onto a media server, and imagine-get it all to work on one remote!
Update and synch your stuff, get those speakers in exactly the right place and calibrate it all…then enjoy, and get on with your life!
Because of some projects and several conversations this week I actually had another word ready to go today, but it just didn’t feel right for this Saturday, Christmas Eve.
“Grace” has several definitions, and all of them good. As a noun it’s a physical condition of elegance. As a verb, it adorns and embellishes. I read that is is mentioned 170 times in the Bible, and that one definition is that it is unmerited favor.
I am a person of faith…not just mine, but others’ faith as well, and I really love that last definition. If we are connected to the moment, I think we can find grace through the smile of a stranger, or another driver letting us go in front of them.
I don’t think it’s showy or loud, but it’s not small, either. I believe grace is goodness, and that it’s always around us, it doesn’t exist just when we see it…or remember to be grateful for it.
In my mind, I see and feel grace as an all-encompassing warm glow. It’s a gift, reassurance that big-picture, I am being looked after, and all will be OK.
What I call grace transcends all the demographics.
There has got to be other words to describe this in other faiths and cultures, I just don’t know what they are. What are your word(s), and how do you define them?
Meanwhile, wishing you the realization of how much goodness and light surrounds you, 24/7.
If you’re like most people, baking some goodies will be figuring into your holiday TO-DO list…also like many, actually EATING these same goods is on your TO-DON’T list.
Nothing new, or mysterious about this product, it just truly is so smart, and good for you, on all levels.
Using pureed fruit as a butter substitute is not new…recipes specifically using mashed bananas or applesauce have been around for a while, but it’s just never been easy to find general substitution information easily, outside those recipes.
Then, a few years back, I found this, Sunsweet Lighter Bake. Made of dried plums and dried apples, this stuff is beyond amazing, and the conversion chart is right on the bottle. In order of importance, here is why you should give it a try, too.
First: Taste/Results: In my experience, baked goods smell, taste and look like they should (although because of the color of the puree, really light-colored goods will bake up darker).
Doug and his brothers are dessert snobs purists, and highly suspicious of ’substitute’ anything. Since finding this, I have successfully snuck this by them used this in cookie, cake and most importantly BROWNIES on many occasions.
Second: Health This jar contains 27 tablespoons of puree….at 35 calories a pop, it’s about one-third the caloric cost of the same amount of butter, 100 calories a tablespoon. OH, BUT WAIT-it’s not an equal exchange, you only need HALF the amount of puree that you would need for butter.
So that brings the caloric cost down to about 17.5% of what it’d be for butter. Also has lots of antioxidants, and it’s fat-, sodium-, and cholesterol- free.
Third: Cost These 27 tablespoons are the equivalent of 54 tablespoons of butter…almost seven sticks of butter. This jar cost I think $2.89…which would be maybe half the cost of that much butter?
SO-to re-cap: tastes great, healthy alternative, half the price of butter.
It’s not going to make a brownie the equivalent of having a salad, but if you’re going to have that browine, you can enjoy it even more. Only tricky part is finding it in the supermarket…baking supplies might be a logical choice, but our local place has chosen at the end of the cooking oils aisle.
Welcome back to Giving The Gift: Thoughtful, meaningful gift ideas to consider for this gift-giving season.
As I get older, I find this time of year to be more and more of a challenge.
Partially because my sensibilities and priorities are changing, partially from the 25+ years I worked in retail, and certainly because of the sobering effect the last few years have had on us all.
Unlike Linus, I struggle to find a balance, and be at peace with money and cost vs. authentic meaning.
Went through a similar mind-block when I was first seriously forming my company. I needed a name that reflected heart, left room for individuals of all perspectives to find value and comfort, and did not define itself, or align this value with a dollar figure.
There is nothing wrong with a tangible gift, but if you are struggling to find meaning at the mall-or find yourself at a loss when asked ‘what do you want?-here’s an alternative: Consider giving-or asking for-the gift of support.
There are fewer ways to better honor someone you hold dear than to support something near and dear to them. Because there are so many segments of the population in need, you’re giving the gift of hope. Many people already have favorite charities or causes, but not all. If this calls to you, here are three points to help you choose well.
Local or larger?
If you know someone well enough to give them a gift, you probably know what the giftees’ preference is, a local or a national organization. Start here, you’ll narrow the field dramatically.
What is close to their heart?
Organizations that support the basics of food, health and shelter abound at all levels-local, national, even international, but what about the not-as-dire?
Think education: literacy, libraries, specific school clubs and ancillary programs that support schools. Outreach programs: they exist for every demographic, unwed mothers to infants, at-risk kids, and seniors. Almost every worthwhile institution or program has a “Friends of ” organization behind it. Arts and parks, sports and animals, health clinics and hospitals.
Greater good causes? The enviornment, peace, veterans and military families. Google a topic and a locale, and no matter where you-or your giftee lives, you can get ideas and specifics.
CHECK IT OUT
Once you have a few contenders, do your research. Big glossy mailers do not an effective organization make. If you typically troll thru company reports, you can probably have your questions answered on the organization’s site; but if not, Charity Navigator is the world’s largest charity evaluator.
Last point to make about this type of gift: it does NOT need to be about money.
Time is just as precious, and volunteerism is how the bulk of things get done in these organizations. Consider contacting, and committing to time at an organization or cause near and dear to the giftee. TRIPLE BONUS: You will feel you’ve been ‘gifted’ as well.
Welcome back to this years’ chapter of Giving The Gift!
The sensory bombardment the American consumer is exposed to this time of year is enough to throw the most steadfast of us off our game. Giving the Gift is a series that highlights local, creative businesses and thoughtful, unique gift ideas that will surprise and delight most anyone on your list, please click here to see all the write-ups.
This is something I fell into quite unexpectedly-and truthfully, equally unexpectedly, loved it!
Earlier this fall, reuniting with high school friends was the plan. We finally picked the date, but now, what to do?
Dinner somewhere or apple-picking were suggested (yawn)…then a colleague of Bert’s came up with pottery painting. I was not enthused, but it was the best option, so there is how we found ourselves at A Maze In Pottery.AMAZE,indeed!
A bright, happy, color-filled space, the feeling of serenity and creativity gives you a big old bear-hug the moment you cross the threshold. TOTALLY NOT an exclusive province for pre-schoolers, this is a place you want to know about for several reasons, more on that later
Set in a busy shopping center in the heart of Briarcliff Manor, it’s both convenient, and an escape. Owner Aggie Radzik, who holds a Masters Degree in Fine Art, Ceramic Design from her native Poland, opened this shop almost two years ago.
Here’s how it works: Shelves line the long walls, full of unpainted forms-maybe 400 to choose from, priced from $5.00 to $60.00. You buy the unfinished piece, and pay a small studio fee that includes time, paint, and glazing.
Idea books and a wide range of sample pieces give you food for thought…you pick your colors, then create, at your leisure. They fire it, and you pick it up about a week later.
There are mugs, plates, figures, as well as plain tiles that can be set into a tray, or a mirror. Glazes are lead-free, non-toxic, dishwasher and microwave safe.
While it’s a little late to have a gift made/fired in time for this years’ holidays, gift certificates are available in any denomination, and I LOVE THIS-given on a decorated tile for presentation! They also have seasonal forms, so not too early to think about a heart mug for Valentines’ Day, a baby’s footprint wall plate for Mothers’ Day, Teacher Gift…
As homage to our reunion, we chose to paint the same form, a big pasta/salad bowl. With studio time I think it came to around $40.00 each (pretty much what we’d spend on a bowl, anyway), but even $20.00 could get someone a complete project.
Aggie and her staff are creative and encouraging. Jessica gently guided Bert, Cindy and I through our blank-bowl terror, helping us arrive at 3 very different and satisfying projects.
On another recent visit, Aggie was helping a customer design a 12-tile tray as a gift to grandparents from their 11 grandchildren. Together they came up with the design: each child had their name on a tile. along with a favorite motif, the 12th tile was for the grandparents’ names and the date.
It is quite the happening place. There are daily specials, and parties galore: great for kids, but grown up events too. Daily specials for all ages and groups, and events can be tailored to most any occasion you can think of.
See details, and calendar of events on their site, but bottom line, it’s a joyful experience, just go!!
Over the summer I got a call from someone who found me online from my blogging here, and on ActiveRain. Her empty condo had been languishing on the market, a year with little traffic and no offers, how would this thing called Staging work for her?
We spoke, and agreed to meet and see the space. Unusual space: old hotel converted into condos in recent years. New kitchen/baths, newish neutral carpet. Nice space, good light, but not a standard or expected floor plan. It had also been recently painted linen white, top to bottom.
Paint a color, and bring furniture in to demonstrate how this unusual space could be used was my recommendation.
Getting furniture was not an unexpected suggestion, but PAINT??? That made no sense, it was just painted!
I was ‘stubborn’ and insisted, and in the end we ‘negotiated’ getting the open kitchen/LR/Dining area and Master BR painted.
Used BM Affinity #AF-90, Harmony. It’s a warmer pinky-beige that tonally agreed with the carpet, as well as the background colors of the counter top.
After comparing pricing… and level of hassle, my client actually bought it furniture she wouldn’t mind owning, but wouldn’t mind selling to the new owner, either. I did the floor plan, chose the pieces; we went shopping and she got my trade discount. Here are the new pics.
I knew the house got an AO shortly after in went on the market, but was waiting on my client to be in touch next.
Got this testimonial for my site update along with the good news by email this morning:
The Refreshed Home and Marie Graham helped me sell my condo in 3 weeks. It had been on the market for a year with little activity. Three weeks after it was fully staged I had an accepted offer and we closed 6 weeks later.
Marie was easy and cheerful to work with. She was able to guide me with paint colors, selection, proportion and layout of furniture for a small challenging space.
Her ability to pull several elements of a room together and be thoughtful about my budget was invaluable.
Thank you so much for your creativity and excellent service Marie!
~ Robin O.
WOO-HOO! How neat is that, to be able to go into the holiday season with this behind you, and start the new year fresh??
This is what I do, help properties stand out and get sold. If you have a listless listing, let’s talk soon. Life is too short to just be waiting around for things to happen!
This is a very interesting word for me. Like the others, it has depth and is nuanced, and I think this might even be a theme for 2012.
First, it’s an action word.(YAY for action!)
Second, it’s an interactive action-you can’t ‘engage’ by yourself, you need someone else to engage with.
Third, it implies mutual benefit and interest. Sure, one person has to start it, but it continues because it’s a choice.
Fourth, it has a nice, light and balanced touch. Nothing hard-sell, or one-sided. It’s about attraction, not persuasion.
All these things bode really well for the new year. In the last few months, I have seen smart and strong people regain their voice, and their confidence. Sanity has started to return to the market, as well as civility.
By and large, we have been collectively coming from a place of fear in the last few years, it’s great to see people coming out of it-no matter how tentatively-choosing to move on with their lives. I’m very excited about what the new year will bring.
When I first heard about this I thought it had to be a typo, that it was about electronically-controlled animals, but looked into it, what a cool idea!
If there is an e-reader purchase in your future, get thyself to the Mt. Kisco Library this Saturday, December 10th, between the hours of 10:30am and 12:30pm.
E-readers and tablets are one of the hottest gifts this holiday season. In this free and interactive program library staff will demonstrate how to download free e-books for the Nook tablet, Kindle Touch, Kindle Fire tablet and the iPad2-as well answer questions and share tips on fully utilizing the library via technology.
This is such a smart idea. Get the feel of the technology before you buy-or, how to better utilize these items if you already own them. I love libraries anyway, but am particularly fond of the ‘new’ Mt. Kisco Library-great space, ton of interesting programs, (and yes, still has that new library smell!)
Event is free, open to the public and no registration is required. It’s made possible from generous support from the Library Foundation. For any questions/etc., call 914.864.0038
Last week we all took the Scout oath…. swearing we understood that Staging a property DID NOT involve
Lingerie, fancy bath salts or a breakfast tray in the Master Suite
Plug-in air fresheners or fake flowers
Convoluted, budget-driven DIY projects
Naked walls, or white/off-white walls
THEN we brought up some of the value a professional Stager could bring to your transaction, here are a few more.
Keep in mind, none of these are absolutes. No 30-day money-back guarantee-noteven a set of Ginsu steak knives. Just sharing what I’ve seen, hoping it’ll help someone else start the conversation and find a way to make this Staging thing work for them…and OK, maybe hoping a little harder that some of you live in the refreshed home’s area!
3. Professionally staged properties increase curiosity about, and elevate interest in the listing
Russel Ray, a Home Inspector in San Diego recently wrote about a Less is More approach to marketing.
Observing that humans, just like cats, are naturally curious creatures, Russel’s premise was that in our 24/7 over-stimulated world, if you can catch someone’s attention in a simple and unexpected way, they will be drawn to find out more on their own.
Staging in our area is still this semi-mysterious entity. Word of a professionally Staged property? Buyer (AND agent) nip!!
4. Consulting with a professional Stager could help your short sale property as well
I do a lot of work with one agent on her short sales. NOT the pipes-ripped-out-of-the-wall type of distressed properties, but average house/ house is underwater/deferred maintenance/sellers have to sell type of properties.
She gets the sellers into the right mind frame- the past is past, this is what they need to do if they want to get on with their life. We meet, set a strategy, they get a written plan and do the work themselves/arrange to have it done. At this writing, this agent has put together, and gotten approval on 45 short sale deals this year.
No illusions on my part, I know there is a LOT more involved, but she says the work, and my designation on the paperwork help lenders fast-track the deal…. so I’m just sayin’…
5. THIS Professional Stager works with Buyers, too!
An un-staged property is really just the before of a Staged property. Knowing what needs to be done, or seeingwhat is possible is one thing, but being able to explain it clearly, and on the fly to buyers is another.
Before launching my business in 2007, I had 25 years of working busy retail floors. Back in the 80′s and 90′s, busy, crazy times, when people couldn’t spend money fast enough.
When the door opened, and it was your turn, you were walking, talking, listening, thinking-figuring out where the customer was coming from, what they needed, and how you could help them to see it. Exactly the same skill set I use to help buyers see potential in a property they are considering.
Prep for listing photos/open houses, referrals to any needed vendors, client support, the list goes on and on. Point being-consider most of what you see on TV as a starting point. What are your needs? Get past de-clutter, de-personalize, yada, yada, yada. Call a professional Stager today, and just start the conversation.
My pal Liz sent me this clip to me over the weekend. I am not a fan of the vote-for-your-favorite-talent-on-the-telley genre, but if you are, you may already know part of the story, but stay with me til the end.
And even if you know all the story, IMO it’s worth re-visiting. This was the only embedd-able version I could find, so don’t mind the graphics. It’s about 6 minutes long, watch it all the way thru and then continue reading.
This really moved me, but it was the usually snarky Simon’s question at the end that really hit me hard…how many years has she been waiting to do this?
Because I don’t follow any of this stuff, I wanted to find out more and share it, so straight to YouTube I went, typed in Janey Cutler.
What was the first thing that popped up? Janey Cutler dies.
Yes, apparently the clip Liz sent me was from 2010, and Mrs. Cutler, after what her kids call probably the most fun year and a half of her life, passed away in her sleep earlier this year.
Which makes Simon’s question-how many years have you been waiting to do this?-all the more poignant.
We all have our own version of greatness in us, at our reach. What do we let stand in our way, and keep us in an unhappy place? Relationships, bad habits, material goods? Grudges, fears or regrets?
Talk of resolutions and sweeping changes usually reaches a fever pitch the last week of the year, but truth is, ANY day-EVERY day-can be a new beginning. Whenever your time is right, be grateful for the grace of recognizing it, and get going. Just don’t let your best song stay unsung.
In her 2006 book, What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self, Ellyn Spragins coaxed forty-one notable women from all walks of life to write a letter to their younger self, and share with them wisdom and insights they know they could have used at the time.
Olympia Dukakis wrote to the woman she was in her 30′s: an actor working at making a living, an actor working to organize/run a community theater, mother, and wife to a man who was seriously ill. Everything, every singlemoment about her life at that point was about work, and duty.
In her letter she counsels the younger Olympia that “You will come to understand that by purposefully capturing happy moments you expand the soul”.
I don’t think I ever thought about that word before I read that book, but it’s been a beacon to me since. I especially love it this time of year, when tallying up the past 11 months, and looking to the future.
Purposeful is not forceful, or rushed. It’s not regretful, judgemental, or hurrying to make up for lost time.
Purposeful is thoughtful that did its homework, and met up with some confidence and commitment along the way. Purposeful has made a decision, and is about moving forward.
What I really love about this anecdote is the quiet backstory: in not so many words, young Olympia is being gently urged to at least re-think, if not move out of her comfort zone (worrying, working, busy), perhaps re-consider think what is instinct or reflex, and have a little faith-all in pursuit of a larger, better goal. Like I said, my beacon.
Welcome back to this years’ chapter of Giving The Gift, where the spotlight shines on thoughtful, meaningful gift ideas that smart, creative local business people or organizations offer.
Do you have a challenging person to shop for this season? Is your house already overrun with superhero action figures, DVDs, electronic debris, or gaming stuff?
Maybe you’ve run out of ideas for a spouse or significant other? A cranky teenager (hey, they don’t read my blogs anyway, LOL) who likes nothing, or a boss who has everything?
Tell them to go climb a rock. Literally.
Passion about, and commitment to excellence of their product or service factors greatly into my thought process, just as much as a big WOW does. And from the moment I first walked into The Cliffs at Valhalla, an indoor rock-climbing and fitness center I was WOWWED. Mike and I spoke, and the rest of it kicked in.
Opened in September 2005, The Cliffs at Valhalla is the culmination of Mike Wolfert’s 20+ years of travels and experiences, and YOUR most excellent solution to the afore-mentioned troublesome giftees.
Located about 15 seconds off the Commerce Street exit on the Bronx River Parkway, simply, it is this huge space, with many engineered walls replicating all different angles of rock. There are at least 50 rope-climbing walls, and a whole big section of -I guess you’d call them freestyle?-bouldering formations. All are set with climbing ‘holds’ in creative climbing paths designed to accommodate ten different climbing levels-from absolute beginners/kids to seasoned climbers-each level designated by a different color tag.
Very clean, very friendly, and very, very safe-here are some things that surprised me:
Women tend to be better climbers than men, at least early on (their natural stregnth is their core-abdomen/legs/butt-better for climbing)
Climbing is a workout, not just a journey. You can climb as a way of getting fit, or working out those extra ya-yas.
Creative thinking skills factor in just as much as physical ones do.
Climbing is about setting a strategy and achieving goals-very transferrable skills in the rest of your life
When rope-climbing, you are supported by the rigging at all times, and not at the mercy of someone else holding the other end of the rope
Here is why you should consider giving a gift certificate to The Cliffs at Valhalla: Mike and his 40+ employees love climbing, and want you to love it too. Lots of classes/packages, but best deal by far is their special Learn to Climb package. $99.00 gets you a inital 3 hour lesson on climbing safety and strategy…PLUS a months’ unlimited climbing….PLUS a follow-up 3 hour lesson, after that month to explore techniques and other skills.
It’d be an unexpected and fun break from the winter yuks, and if your giftee is smitten, there are all sorts of other packages and memberships they can take advantage of, plus an on-site gear shop with guides, apparel, and professional-grade equpiment suitable for both indoor and outdoor climbing.
There’s lots to like about The Cliffs at Valhalla. They host loads of special events (click here to see pics) and lots of specialty classes: afterschool, Scouts working on merit badges, even at-risk and kids on the spectrum.
But they are also good community partners: now thru December 14th they are sponsoring a Winter Coat Drive with 1071. FM The Peak-the refreshed home’s own radio station of choice.
These are the people, and the places you want to support. SO-go climb a rock, and tell them the refreshed home sent you!