Even if you have seen this before, you will probably still marvel, and enjoy it as much as you did the first time.
Even if you have seen this before, you will probably still marvel, and enjoy it as much as you did the first time.
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.
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!!
Have you seen that commercial for a mobil phone service, where a guy standing in Grand Central whips off his trench coat, and breaks into a spirited dance, only to realize he is dancing solo…THEN his old, outdated phone receives the text that the events’ time has been changed.
This premise was inspired by the real-life NewYork based comedy collective know as Improv Everywhere. Just over 10 years ago, Charlie Todd, a comediam from The Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater started putting together the unusual, attention grabbing pranks…er, “MISSIONS” that would involve numerous players-most of whom don’t know each other-all to be played out on a big city stage.
Calling in sometimes hundreds of volunteers, they turned a GEL conference into a musical, sent 80 blue polo shirt and khaki-wearing players into a Best Buy, even threw a surprise wedding reception for a random couple who just got married at City Hall. Subways are their favorite petri-dishes, though: have hosted Star Wars battles, High Fives , and my personal favorite, their annual No Pants Subway Ride.
Anyone can participate: subscribe to get the videos directly, and info on upcoming missions. Free, no obligation, and no spam, either.
Just came across this , and just had to smile…so delightful, how could you not be happy?
Got kids? Grandkids? Know kids? How about just young and heart? Make plans to be at Washington Irving’s Sunnyside next Sunday, September 25th for Celebrate Children’s Book Day.
From noon to 6 pm the grounds of historic, romantic Sunnyside estate will host over 60 children’s book authors and illustrators, many of whom reside in our own backyard.
There will be readings, demonstrations, signings, magic, and even music-provided by Irvington’s own Carole Demas and Paula Janis-co-creators and stars of the beloved TV series, The Magic Garden.
A day spent celebrating children’s books would not be complete without some very special guest appearances, so also look to meet up with Clifford the Big Red Dog, Bunnicula, Franklin the Turtle, and Biscuit!
As the cool aunt and uncle, Doug and I are familiar with some, but be sure to check out two of my new favorites, the husband and wife team of Susanna Reich and Gary Golio. Each is multi-talented and award-winning in their own right, they also just happen to be married.
Susanna’s unique set of life experiences and her love of dance, music and history all come together her books. For example, in Painting the Wild Frontier: The Art and Adventures of George Catlin, the story is told of the 19th century painter whose art both chronicled and championed the rights of Native Americans during a difficult time in our nation’s history. Then, Penelope Baily Takes the Stage the reader journeys right along with a 9 year old who dreams of being an actress, in a time and place when it was not the proper thing to do.
Gary’s books take a more modern, but still decidedly unique approach. Fascinated by art in almost any form-the artist and the finished product, as well as the process, his love of 60′s music comes through loud and clear: His inaugural When Bob Met Woody, was followed by JIMI: Sounds Like A Rainbow and tell the stories of our musical heroes in their younger years, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. (Watch for Spirit Seeker: The Musical Journey of John Coltrane next spring).
Books, by their very presence bring heart and soul into your life, and your space. They bring you places you could not have imagined on your own, how cool is it for someone you love to have that awareness so early on?
Admission is $12.00 adults, $10.00 seniors, $6.00 children 5-17, and free to children under 5, and includes a tour of the the historic home as well. The day is divided into segments, and last admission is at 5pm.
Click here for schedule, list of authors and illustrators, or to buy tickets. Hope to see you there!
Sunday Smiles: I LOVE THIS JOKE!!
There was a preacher who was recently assigned to a small, sleepy congregation in the midwest.
As he was en route to his new assignment, how to best connect with, and re-vitalize the new congregation was weighing heavily on his mind. When he arrived at his destination, the answer became clear.
Set in the middle of an empty field, the building itself had full exposure to the strong sun, and the paint was badly blistered and peeling.
It was a simple structure, so what better way to bring good energy to this parish than to give new life to this sad looking building?
He went to the local harware store, and purchased the necessary supplies, and got started: scraping, then sanding off the old paint. Then he started painting.
What he did not take into consideration though, was the condition of the wood. Because so much had been exposed to the elements for so long, the dried, raw wood was absorbing the paint at a very fast clip, and it seemed he could run out before the job was complete.
The congregations’ funds were modest, and since he had already spent most of what was available, he started to thin the paint out, so he could paint the entire structure.
He toiled in the hot sun, being as careful as he could, as not to waste a drop, but as he worked his way around the building, he had to thin the paint several more times.
FINALLY-he was done. He wiped his brow, and stepped back to take it all in.
Suddenly, a ferocious thunderstorm rolled in, drenching everthing in sight.
Then, right before his eyes, the rain was causing the watered-down pain to run down the sides of the building. All his hard work-MUCH OF THE CONGREGATIONS MONEY-being washed away, right before his eyes.
Out of exaustion and frustration, he looked upwards, arms wide open, and yelled “GOD-WHY IS THIS HAPPENING??”
In between the peals of thunder, a voice boomed from the heavens
“REPAINT, AND THIN NO MORE!!”
Students Would Choose Ebooks Over Sex And Dating-REALLY!!
A recent survey determined a stunning 73% of college students would give up sex or dating…
IF they could get their textbooks in a down loadable, easy to carry e-book format.
As a professional re-working my marketing approach, I am fortified, knowing where and how to find my next market.
DAMN!! Are they making text books with lead-lined covers these days???
Welcome back to another edition of the refreshed home’s own bit of fun, POP QUIZ!!
Keep track of your own score, and scroll down for answers-but no peeking!! And stay on your toes, you’ll never know when the next one will show up.
Multiple Choice-Select all that apply.
1. If you Stage your house-that is, properly prepare your house for sale-who will be among the beneficiaries?
____Seller ____Buyer ____Agents ___ Neighbors ___ The local pizzeria ___ RE Industry as a whole ___Local and National Economies
2. I recommend a pre-sale inspection to Sellers because:
___I have a good friend who does house inspections
___It’s a reality check for both work to do and determining list price
___It prevents surprises that the buyer’s inspector could find
___It makes sellers more confident about all their other decisions
3. Which, if any, of the following would you NOT ever find in a Staging Report from the refreshed home?
___ Recommendations for Paint Colors ___ Recommendations for local pizzeria ___Referral for professional services ___Discussion of Exterior ___Floor plans ___Shopping list
4. Which of these properties are NOT good candidates for Staging?
___Cooperatives ___ Rental properties ____ Professional offices ___Model trophy houses ___ The local pizzeria ___REOS ___ short sale/pre-foreclosure ___Decks and patios
5. What element(s) help make a staging project successful?
___A big bank balance ___A lot of time ___Friends and family who can help ___Friends and families with opinions ___Having an open mind ___A good local pizzeria
1. The sale of a professionally prepared property floats most everyones’ boats. Sure, Seller and Agents, but Buyer now knows how to make the best of a space, and a good price will help local comps, as well as the industry and economy as a whole.
The only loser here is the local pizzeria…instead of ordering in to keep the kitchen clean for showings, Stagesd properties gets sold quicker, so less pizza orders.
2. Mostly all of the above. Just switch the first one around a bit: a good house inspector will be your very good friend.
3. I don’t recommend pizzerias…unless it’s Nicky’s in White Plains, or Fernando’s in Armonk…or Napoli’s in Mohegan Lake… or Classic Grill in Mystic, CT.
4. If you are selling ANYTHING: a product, a service-whatever you can do to better the visual image in the market is a good thing.
I consider preparing outside space double-bonus, because while it’s not considered in MLS square footage, the more purpose you can demonstrate, the more value you create.
In commercial and professional properties, it’s a great platform to showcase and reinforce your brand. Everything in proportion, of course, but bottom line, attractive and updated spaces attract more attention.
SIGH Even Nickys/Fernandos/Napolis/Classic Grille.
Remember, Staging a property is not just about creating a snazzy visual. Successful projects create a solution that matches up with the market, the needs/goals/expectations of the owner, and the pricing strategy.
Friends and family with opinions is a good start, it shows they care. Friends and family who can help is better, but all that helping works up an appetite…so a good pizzeria is very handy indeed!
Listless Listings? Tired decor? Need to sell?
Know something has to be done. but don’t know what, where -or how to start?
the refreshed home is Westchester County’s Home Staging and Interior Decorating Specialist.
We create solutions, and facillitate change, so you can get on with your life. Buying, selling or staying-let the refreshed home be your partner in change
Because when your space works, so many other things fall into place!
Have been busy, planning our 35th High School reunion…so even though that time of life has been on my mind lately, earlier this week I was rocketed back in a nano-second when I suddenly realized our Senior Prom had been 35 years ago, that night.
Couldn’t tell you why I remembered it all of a sudden, but I did.
Took me a few days…
But finally, wow, there we were.
Those lapels were certainly wide.
But so were our eyes.
And did you ever see such big dreams? We were so worldly then…
Seems like we were in good company…Happy 70th birthday Bob!!
On This Day-April 26th
Did you know….
LOVE this time of year for so many reasons…one of which is longer, but cooler days-PERFECT for baseball.
It’s a long season, anything can happen, but to invoke SNL’s Garret Morris doing Chico Escuela- “ April has been bery bery good to me”.
Did you know…Take Me Out To The Ball Game was written by Jack Norworth (lyrics) and Albert von Tilzer (music) in 1908 and copyrighted then.
Neither gentleman had seen a ballgame before writing this song.
On this day, in 1941, the first organ was played in a baseball stadium. Wrigley Field , home of the Chicago Cubs…while many other fields still have organs, many do not use them; opting instead for more modern music and other technologies.
Here is Chicago’s beloved Harry Caray, to show us how it’s done:
From the beginning, he knew he was not going to wear a tux. Since I was going for the big dress, his wearing a suit was not going to cut it.
That we were in agreement about a kilt as a compromise was a nice surprise, the first of many. That he would grow to like jazz, I would be ok with changing my name, and we would share a checkbook were others.
SIDEBAR: Seems Kearny, New Jersey is the epicenter of all things Scottish in the NY metro area. They rent kilts, had racks of them, in whatever size you need. One tartan (which the rest of us call ‘plaid’ ) they stocked was MacDonald, which is Doug’s middle name, so he was ok wearing those colors.
HOWEVER he did not know I called the store owner prior and told him of my plan, to have Doug measured for his tartan to be custom made for him, as a surprise.
Thankfully the Graham tartan was a simple and dignified one…have been to a number of Scottish events where other tartans were screechy-loud colors, like they ran out of the good color combinations and were using the leftover colors no one wanted…
We don’t have any big weekend plans- no customary fine dining experience , no expected bling…we both worked Saturday, napped, then, as another nor’easter roared outside, we watched some old movies. He made pizza, I cut up mangos for dessert. Later today he is going to help me set up and work a table for Furniture Sharehouse at Westchester County Earth Day event. And I couldn’t be more content.
Have always felt tradition is ok, as long as it means something, and you are not beholden to it…and while April 17th will always be our day, so are the other 364 days.
Being happily, easily married to my best friend continues to be a delightful surprise. He gets how fleeting time can be, and looks for something to be happy about most every day-it’s just how things have worked out.
He also gets-or at least puts up with-the goofy stuff, supports me in everything, including the building of my business, brings me flowers in the middle of the week-’when they’re on sale!’-and values our relationship above all. How cool is that?? Yes, life is good, indeed!
Some people dislike, even dread their birthdays.
Especially as I collect more and more, each one is all the more reason to celebrate.
While I like to look for things to revel in, and be happy about most every day, on my birthday l am determined to squeeze all the fun, silliness and specialness out of the day that is possible.
Did you know- “The tradition of birthday parties started in Europe a long time ago.
It was feared that evil spirits were particularly attracted to people on their birthdays.
To protect them from harm, friends and family would to come be with the birthday person and bring good thoughts and wishes.
Giving gifts brought even more good cheer to ward off the evil spirits. This is how birthday parties began.
At first it was only kings who were recognized as important enough to have a birthday celebration (maybe this is how the tradition of birthday crowns began?).
As time went by, children became included in birthday celebrations. The first children’s birthday parties occurred in Germany and were called Kinderfeste.” Courtesy of Reference.com
When Robert, my oldest nephew first started to speak, his toddler shorthand for “Happy Birthday Aunt Marie” was “Happy to You, Aunt Re!”. Anyone else celebrating today? HAPPY TO YOU!!
Temps in the 40′s?
Seeing this morning’s sunrise?
Valentine’s Day just passed?
AND OHYES< My Birthday fast approaching???
Spring Training has started!
First NYY game in the Grapefruit League is Saturday 2/26, 1:05 vs Philly; Opening Day for NY is Thurs 3/31 vs. Detroit.
John Fogarty’s “Centerfield”, anyone?
There are a number of ways to make a connection with buyers, I like to add the unexpected. Nothing frightening or provocative, just not what people are used to seeing…I think that’s the thing they will ‘see’ the best, and perhaps cause them to linger.
A good visual is expected, it should be a given. The scent of baking cookies/pie/etc is more urban myth than reality I suspect, but warm brownies would certainly engage me and my olfactory glands.
There’ll be smiles for sure, but I dare anyone, nay, double-dare them to walk past a game table with an in-progress puzzle on it, without attempting to find/place at least one piece.
Same thing with games…. set up checkers or chess, a few moves in; or a vintage kid’s game-is there anyone who doesn’t remember loving popping that Trouble bubble, or trying to avoid the red nose buzzing?
Of course you’d want to tailor your choice to the property and who you think they buyer may be; but simple and easy, they harken back to a prewired age. Easy to find very cheaply at tag sales if you are without.
Just one last tip- please, learn from my experience-DO NOT use Scrabble, you might find some pretty interesting messages on that board when you return!
…with apologies to Julie Andrews…and my most sincere wishes for the love and light of the season to be with you and yours.
2011 is going to be GREAT-can’t wait!!
Curtains on windows, and high-wattage light bulbs;
Organized closets and de-cluttered tables
These are a few of my favorite tips!
Fresh new toss pillows, and crisp matching linens;
Kid’s toys that stay in their place-AT ALL TIMES-
These are some more of my favorite tips!
When the market stinks-
When you NEED to sell-
Re-member, just call on the re-ee-freshed home
And then you won’t feel so bad!!!
Of all the posts I planned for this series, this has been the hardest one to write. Have you ever had so many thoughts that all want to be heard at the same time, where there’s gridlock in the brain?
Have written about my fondness for whimsy before, and the simple truth is, I am crazy about this place. Don’t want to have this read as blather; but just can’t imagine a more aptly-named gift store than Whimsies Incognito.
After outgrowing 2 different storefronts on Main Street, they are now located around the corner at 35 South Broadway in Tarrytown, their biggest location since first opening in downtown Tarrytown almost thirty years ago.
My pictures don’t do the store any justice, but it’s a sensory feast. There is vibrant color and textures everywhere you look, and thoughtful, creative displays that beckon, and draw you in.
Unusual, finely hand-crafted gifts are their specialty. Whimsies represents about 500 vendors; some local, but most in the US, the others through Fair Trade. Recycled, and creatively re-purposed materials are prominent.
From the upper right: a hand-painted wood fish clock with lovely pewter details ($105.00), wooden cheese tray and slicer sets with laser-cut details at either end ($28.-38.00) and quite an array of multi-colored hand-blown glass hummingbird feeders ($65.00).
Look closely at left and you’ll see hand-strung bottle-cap garlands on the tree ($22.00 for 3 feet). At right, figures of all nationalities holding hands encircle a round mirror, laser cut, then hand-detailed Hatian oil drum art ($100.00 )
Colorful weathered turquoise shutters have been re-purposed to display the handmade pewter and ceramic switch plates (starting at $20.00 for single switch/ceramic), and depression-glass plates are set into stained glass and framed ($98.00).
The printed word is also very important here. A 2011 quote-a-month calendar starts the New Year boldly proclaiming ” HAVE FAITH IN YOURSELF, AND IN THE FUTURE”. ($13.00…I bought 6-how could I not??).
Ceramic squares with simple images that proclaim ‘peacable’ ( 3″ x 3″, $30.00 each), a metal switch plate cover that states, in all different fonts-”Home is where you are happy” ($28.00).
Books with titles like “Today is Super”, and local son Benjamin Cheever’s … umm…whimsical “The First Dog”, the story of Adam and Eve’s dog.
Handmade jewelry, crewel belts from Guatemala, the list goes on.
Walking through, the store is a balm to the jangled-out soul. The care that has gone into selecting and displaying the merchandise is palatable, but never overdone or cliched.
Go-even make an afternoon of it-there are so many great places nearby to relax and have a bite to eat. Your gift worries will be over, and your heart will be happy.
* 1 bottle tequila
* 2 cups of dried fruit
Sample the tequila to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the tequila again. To be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink. Repeat.
Pick the frigging fruit up off floor. Mix on the turner. If the fried dru it gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose with a drewscriver. Sample the tequila to check for tonsisticity. Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Check the tequila. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
…at Alice’s Res-tau-rant“ Come on, admit it, you know the words..probably have that damn tune stuck in your head now, too…
As long as I have been an adult, I crave listening to this Arlo Guthrie classic every fall. Folk music is generally not my favorite genre, but it’s different when Arlo sings. The urge starts early November, and goes thru Thanksgiving weekend. Never before Halloween, or after Thanksgiving weekend. And this year, he will be riding in the Macy’s parade!
A number of years back, Doug and I started going to his annual Carnegie Hall concerts, always held the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The rest of the cast varies, but usually several generations of friends and family, talented musicians all.
He can weave a story and a song together like no one else. Like a child who is enthralled and comforted by the ritual, long after they know the story by heart, I never get tired of listening.
ANYWAY-some years back, on the 30th anniversary of ‘the event’ he sang another version,” the massacre revisited”. New ending, it’s clever and really funny.
The only YouTube versions come with bad video and in 3 parts- kind of disruptive, but worth it, give it a shot. There is also a site where you really can get anything you want…
Meantime, sit back and enjoy the original http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_7C0QGkiVo.
“With feeling”, a big thank you to Arlo and the whole Guthrie family , and a very Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!
Yes, I admit it, I do read my horoscope from time to time. I’m a Pisces, and yes, I do know enough about the signs and the tendancies to acurately guess someone’s sign about a third-to-half the time.
I don’t make plans by it, really more an amusement, after-the-fact thing, to see what the stars had in store for me that day…
It was with great joy and wonderment I read this:
‘A powerful imagination is one of your gifts. Like a muscle, your creative abilities get stronger the more you use them. You’ll help someone else by dreaming for them the dreams they can’t see on their own.’
WOW-how cool is that?? ESPECIALLY for someone in my field!
Happy Day, fellow fish!!
Starting out with a robust “WH” , it transforms, ending with a light-hearted ‘e-e-e-e-e’, the word itself evokes both range and promise.
‘Whimsy’ will make you smile-perhaps even inwardly-but you won’t laugh (it has a lighter touch than ’humor’). It is clever, but you won’t struggle; and it will make you think at your own pace-but not dwell or obsess.
It engages, delights and amuses, and is often unexpected. It captures your attention, and can change the channel. Done well, it stays with you.
Which is precisely why it is such a great tool in both Staging, and in Decorating.
It also cannot be done in a vacuum; for it to be effective you need to understand the motivation behind it, be clear about who your audience will be, and what you want to accomplish.
Which is precisely why I ask a lot of questions of prospective clients.
A long time residential client needed help in ‘finishing’ his newly re-located law office. An aquarium in the waiting room was suggested, but with clown fish. (He’s been a successful RE attorney for over 30 years, his business is largely with people he knows or has been recommended to, and he LOVES irony, trust me, it was him).
Anticipating the maintenance, instead we went with an oversize clock, surrounded by scenic shots of his kid’s college campuses (his idea, great idea, you can see a photo on my website’s B&A).
It’s natural to feel ‘stuck’ when you are starting to contemplate a long-overdue update, or clearing out decades of stuff in preparation for selling a house, but some people get really down on themselves.
I keep a small supply of ‘magic’ wands in the trunk of my car. Inexpensive, from the craft or party store, they are colorful and glittery, some with stars, other with spangles, ribbons, or even diamonds.
If the conversation starts going south- where the client is feeling overwhelmed-if it feels appropriate, I excuse myself and return with one for them, . (Also useful in getting children on board with this whole editing-the-toy-bin-thing).
Rick Whelan, owner and creative guru behind Ditto! Design! is a master of connecting a visual with a soft-sell message.
Last year, during a particularly bad time in the economy, he sent out a newsletter that as a banner (skinny photo on top pf page) showed a cluster of open black umbrellas, with a single sunny yellow one in the middle. (Yes, I aspire to have something approximating that light touch, and yes, yes, he handles all my marketing tools).
Point being-selling, or staying-if your space isn’t sending the message you want, we should talk. REALLY.