5 Tips To Jazz Up Your Holiday Dining Table


The holidays are here again and if you're like us, you're looking forward to decorating and making your home feel cozy and inviting.

Here are some fun tips to spruce up your dining table this season and make your guests feel extra special without breaking the bank. 

Add a pop of color with a bold tablecloth

There's no need to splurge on pricey new place settings. Instead, pick up a festive tablecloth and coordinating runner and placemats. It's such an easy way to completely change the look of your table and inexpensive enough to allow you to buy a few different items to alternate through the season!


DIY greenery and floral touches

DIY greenery and florals are definitely in now more than ever! Instead of splurging on a premade bouquet, opt for individual stems or affordable greenery to tuck into your napkin rings or run down the center of the table.

Keeping your florals low and simple leaves more room for food and drinks and won't obstruct any views when catching up with your nearest and dearest over dinner. Stop by your local market or Trader Joe's and look for greens like eucalyptus, which looks—and smells—sumptuous. For extra oomph, throw in a couple of sprigs of rosemary to place in napkin holders.


Add festive copper mugs

Don’t want to spend a lot, but want a quick upgrade that will elevate the look of the entire table? Go buy a set of copper mugs! Your guests will love sipping something festive out of a special cup.

Copper mugs are everywhere now that the Moscow mule cocktail has grown in popularity, but even if you're not serving Moscow mules for the holidays, they make a nice touch. Try serving cold apple cider in your mugs, or any other cocktails you might have on your menu.


Modern farmhouse touches

The modern farmhouse look is still trending in home decor, and that doesn't stop at the holidays. The good news? You can get the vibe on a budget —just try some fun but affordable accents like birch logs, acorns, miniature pumpkins, buffalo check patterns, antlers, and greenery. Add some sparkling fairy lights to the mix, or wrapped around pine boughs, for an extra magical touch!

When in doubt, go monochromatic

This time of year our homes can be overwhelmed with festive decorations. Keep the focus on the meal by choosing a pretty tone and outfitting your entire table in it. Add a metallic of your choice for accents, and a few candles for a pop of interest. Not only is it simple to pull together, but the result is incredibly chic as well!


Grill marinades to make your BBQ the talk of the neighborhood

There's still plenty of summer left, and that means there will more barbecues and fun gatherings to be had this season! We have 2 delicious marinade recipes to take your upcoming cookout to the next level. Enjoy!




- 1 Cup crushed pineapple

- 1/3 Cup soy sauce or coconut aminos

- 1/3 Cup honey

- 1/4 Cup apple cider vinegar

- 1-2 Cloves crushed garlic

- 1 Tablespoon fresh crushed ginger

- 1/2 Teaspon crushed cloves

- 1/2 Teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional - adjust to taste)


Mix honey, cider vinegar and pineapple juice together thoroughly. Add other ingredients individually making sure that each spice is well combined and thoroughly dissolved. 

For chicken or pork: thoroughly coat meat and refrigerate for 6-8 hours in marinade. Bake or grill and enjoy!

For fish or vegetables: Coat in marinade and allow to sit for no longer than 30 minutes before baking, grilling or sauteing. Enjoy!



- 1 Cup red wine vinegar

- 1/2 Cup olive oil

- 1/4 Cup worcestershire sauce

- 1/4 Cup brown sugar

- 4 Cloves crushed garlic

- 2 Tablespoons paprika

- 1 Tablespoon sea salt

- 2 Teaspoons ground black pepper

- 1 Teaspoon cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (Optional - adjust to taste)



Mix all ingredients, combining thoroughly. Place brisket in plastic bag or tupperwear container and coat with marinade. Refrigerate for up to 14 hours (the longer the better!) before grilling. Feel free to add any of the dry ingredients directly to the meat before grilling. Prepare to allow the brisket around 5 hours to cook (internal temperature should reach at least 195 degrees). The less you flip the meat, the better. Cook it on slow heat and let it be. Enjoy!

From Our Home To Yours...A Thanksgiving Tradition

There is nothing like the smell of a turkey cooking to bring back fond memories of time spent with loved ones over the holidays. We'd like to share a delicious recipe with you, that has been a Thanksgiving staple for years in the hopes that it brings joy to your family. Maybe it will even become a tradition! Bon appetit!

Sweet Potato Souffle


- 6 Large sweet potatoes cleaned, peeled and cut into chunks

-1/2 Cup Full Fat Coconut Milk

-4 TB Butter

-1 TB Maple Syrup

-1 TB Allspice or Pumpkin Pie Spice

-I TB Cinnamon

-1 TB Vanilla Extract


-1 Cup Chopped Pecans or Walnuts

-1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

-2 TB Melted Butter


1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Boil sweet potatoes until fork tender then drain

3. Add Coconut Milk and Butter to Sweet Potatoes and mash until smooth

4. Stir in remaining Base Ingredients until well comined

5. Spoon the sweet potato mixture into a medium sized casserole and set aside

6. In a medium sized bowl, add the brown sugar to the melted butter and stir until combined

7. Stir in chopped nuts until well coated (add more melted butter or sugar to taste)

8. Sprinkle the Topping over the sweet potato mixture coating the top thoroughly

9. Bake for 20 minutes and enjoy immediately! 

How to Hold a Successful Yard Sale


Garage sales can be a great way to get rid of clutter -- and earn a little extra cash -- before you sell your home. But make sure the timing is right. Follow these tips for a successful sale:

  1. Don't wait until the last minute. You don't want to be scrambling to hold a garage sale the week before an open house. Depending on how long you've lived in the home and how much stuff you have to sell, planning a garage sale can demand a lot of time and energy, so the sooner you plan it out the better.
  2. See if neighbors want to join in. You can turn your garage sale into a block-wide event and lure more shoppers if you team up with neighbors. However, a permit may be necessary for each home owner, even if it's a group event.
  3. Schedule the sale. Sales on Saturdays and Sundays will generate the most traffic, especially if the weather cooperates. Start the sale early, 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. is best, and be prepared for early birds.
  4. Advertise. Place an ad in free classified papers and Web sites, and in your local newspapers. Include the dates, time, and address. Let the public know if certain types of items will be sold, such as baby clothes, furniture, or weightlifting equipment. On the day of the sale, balloons and signs with prominent arrows will help to grab the attention of passersby. Sites like Front Porch ForumCraigslist, and Facebook are a great place to start!
  5. Price your goods. Lay out everything that you plan to sell, and attach prices with removable stickers. Remember, garage sales are supposed to be bargains, so try to be objective as you set prices. Assign simple prices to your goods: 50 cents, 3 for $1, $5, $10, etc.
  6. If it's really junk, don't sell it. Decide what's worth selling and what's not. If it's really garbage, then throw it away. Broken appliances, for example, should be tossed. (Know where a nearby electrical outlet is, in case a customer wants to make sure something works.)
  7. Check for mistakes. Make sure that items you want to keep don't accidentally end up in the garage sale pile.
  8. Create an organized display. Lay out your items by category, and display neatly so customers don't have to dig through boxes.
  9. Stock up on bags and newspapers. People who buy many small items will appreciate a bag to carry their goods. Newspapers are handy for wrapping fragile items.
  10. Manage your money. Make a trip to the bank to get ample change for your cashbox. Throughout the sale, keep a close eye on your cash; never leave the cashbox unattended. It's smart to have one person who manages the money throughout the day, keeping a tally of what was purchased and for how much. Keep a calculator nearby.
  11. Prepare for your home sale. Donate the remaining stuff or sell it to a resale shop. Now that all of your clutter is cleared out, it's time to focus on preparing your house for a successful sale!


7 Reasons To Own Your Own Home

The 'American Dream' has always included owning a home. For many, having a space to call their own is not only tradition, but a sign of personal success.

Here are a few of the many benefits that come along with home ownership:

  1. Tax breaks. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, as well as some of the costs involved in buying your home.
  2. Appreciation. Real estate has long-term, stable growth in value. While year-to-year fluctuations are normal, median existing-home sale prices have increased on average 6.5 percent each year from 1972 through 2005, and increased 88.5 percent over the last 10 years, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 15 percent over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.
  3. Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you'll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.
  4. Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.
  5. Predictability. Unlike rent, your fixed-mortgage payments don't rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will increase.
  6. Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and benefit from your investment for as long as you own the home.
  7. Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years gives you a chance to participate in community activities, lets you and your family establish lasting friendships, and offers your children the benefit of educational continuity.

Online resources: To calculate whether buying is the best financial option for you, use the "Buy vs. Rent" calculator at


5 Feng Shui Concepts to Balance & Restore Your Home


Feng Shui is the Chinese art of arranging objects, buildings, spaces to achieve maximum harmony and balance. The theory is that the world is driven by unseen forces which can be channeled to allow for the best energy flow possible, therefore practicing Feng Shui within your home is meant to align your living environment with your goals for your life.

Here are some tips to bring peace and clarity to your home:

  1. Pay special attention to the front door, which is considered the "mouth of chi" (chi is the "life force" of all things) and one of the most powerful aspects of the entire property. Abundance, blessings, opportunities, and good fortune enter through the front door. It's also the first impression buyers have of how well the sellers have taken care of the rest of the property. Make sure the area around the front door is swept clean, free of cobwebs and clutter. Make sure all lighting is straight and properly hung. Better yet, light the path leading up to the front door to create an inviting atmosphere.
  2. Chi energy can be flushed away wherever there are drains in the home. To keep the good forces of a home in, always keep the toilet seats down and close the doors to bathrooms.
  3. The master bed should be in a place of honor, power, and protection, which is farthest from and facing toward the entryway of the room. It's even better if you can place the bed diagonally in the farthest corner. Paint the room in colors that promote serenity, relaxation, and romance, such as soft tones of green, blue, and lavender.
  4. The dining room symbolizes the energy and power of family togetherness. Make sure the table is clear and uncluttered during showings. Use an attractive tablecloth to enhance the look of the table while also softening sharp corners.
  5. The windows are considered to be the eyes of the home. Getting the windows professionally cleaned will make the home sparkle and ensure that the view will be optimally displayed.

Life Hacks: Moving Edition

Starting fresh in a new home or apartment is very exciting...and can also be a daunting amount of work and preparation. Moving doesn't have to be a hassle! Check out these shortcuts and you'll be amazed by how smooth your transition is.


Have a bag ready with everything you'll need for your first night at your new place so you won't be searching through every box after a long day of moving. Include: Toiletries, a change of clothes, phone and computer chargers, laptop, a towel etc.


Your items will be easily spotted and easy to retrieve. Include: box cutter, tools, trash bags, essential cookware, power strips, cleaning supplies etc.


You'll save money on tissue paper and bubble wrap, while putting your towels and clothing to work! Tip: Use socks to pack stemware.


When you get to your new home, bring each box to the room where it belongs. Tip: Label boxes " 1 of x " so you'll know you have them all -- make sure to label boxes on their sides and not their tops!


If possible, see if you can have access to the home before the closing to clean the kitchen and bathrooms before moving in. Having them stocked with paper products and ready for unpacking will safe a lot of time on the day of the move.  If you can, hang your shower curtain and have towels ready so showering will be easy after a long day of unpacking.



Wrap the openings of your toiletries with saran wrap and screw the tops back on to prevent messy spills (especially helpful for pump lotion bottles!).


When you take anything apart, label and organize the pieces in sandwich bags and tape them to the item for easy re-assembly.


Save yourself the aggravation of trying to remember how everything fits together by snapping a few quick pictures on your phone before unhooking your electronics.

Unpacking will be a snap! Tip: Go through your closets first and take out any off-season items to store away immediately after your move. If you can, vacuum seal them to save space.


Remember: The more preparation you do in advance, the easier your move will be.

How To Look At Listing Photos Like a Pro

listing photosThe internet is an amazing tool for real estate - and the first place buyers search for homes. From the comfort of your own living room you can browse pictures and take virtual tours of countless houses to make a list of serious contenders before traveling all over town. Needless to say, photos are extremely important and are easily the deciding factor between "schedule a showing" and "add it to the 'no' pile."

While you're searching online, here are a few pointers to keep you focused:

1. Layout - Pay special attention to the flow of the home. Does it make sense for your family? Is it visually appealing to you? Will it be a home that will grow with your family as time goes on? Also make a list of any special needs you may require your home to have and look for those specifically.

2. TLC - Listing photos are meant to spotlight the best features of a home. If you are able to see that work needs to be done, are you up for the challenge? Decide ahead of time how much updating you are willing to tackle and stick to that. You'll have to decide whether the potential is worth the sweat equity along the way.

3. Landscaping/Maintenance - Decide how much yard work and regular maintenance you are ready to take on, and match that to your short list of properties. Think about the added costs, and of landscaping - will you be doing it yourself, or will you hire the work out? Do you already own the proper equipment, or will you have to purchase it? Does the home have a swimming pool or pond that will need to be kept up, or made safe for your family? These factors don't reflect on the home itself but will impact your overall enjoyment of the property and shouldn't be taken lightly.

4. Location - How do you feel about being on a busy road? Would having neighbors close to you be a good thing or an invasion of privacy? Are you looking for lots of land? Think about your hobbies and how much outdoor space those require and look for a home accordingly. Also factor in the proximity to shopping, schools and other necessities. No matter how much you love the home, if the location isn't suitable you'll never be satisfied.

5. Pay attention to what you don't see - Do the remarks mention rooms that aren't shown? That could be a red flag that they are in need of repairs or updating. Are the photos all taken during the winter? If you're curious about the home during warmer months ask the listing agent if more photos are available.

Remember, photos can only tell part of the story. If you're on the fence about a home based on the photos, consult your agent to get advice on the home and whether it would work for you. Once you and your agent have a solid list of possibilities you can narrow down your search in person and the real fun begins!

Top 5 Tips for Moving with Pets

There is no doubt that moving can be stressful. The half packed rooms, mountains of boxes and exhaustion from carrying boxes is enough to make anyone a little on edge. Now imagine how your pets feel! Animals are very intuitive and sense your range of emotions-including stress.  Seeing you rush around to pack up your home will likely leave them in a state of confusion, anxiety and excitement. Keep the following tips in mind as you prepare for your big move to keep everyone's stress levels in check.

1. Move Pets First If Possible: If you are able, board your animals, or ask a trusted friend to watch them, while you finish packing and transport your things to your new home. Removing your pet from the situation completely will save them a great deal of anxiety and allow you to be productive without worrying about their safety and well being.

2. Transport With Care: It isn't safe to let your pets ride loosely while your vehicle is filled (likely to maximum capacity) with boxes. Keep your animals crated while in the car for their own safety. Line the crate with their bed if possible, throw in a favorite toy and a treat or two to make them feel secure. Not only will they have their own safe haven but they will be protected if boxes happen to shift or tumble during the ride.

3. Be Cautious with Sedatives: Before deciding to sedate your pet before a move, make sure you consult your veterinarian. If your animal tends to experience extreme stress during times of change, or is uncomfortable during car rides, this may be beneficial. ALWAYS make sure to follow instructions thoroughly and with caution.

4. Prepare a Safe Space: When you arrive at your new home and begin to unload and unpack, be sure to keep windows and doors closed at all times to prevent anxious pets from escaping. The best thing you can do is set up a safe place for your pets (a spare bedroom is ideal) with their bed, toys, food and water. They will appreciate having a quiet space to themselves and will be safely tucked away while you set up. Once the front door is closed and unpacking has begun, let your pets explore the home with you. Be cautious for the first few days as they will be disoriented; cats are likely to hide somewhere they feel safe while dogs may bolt out the door if given the opportunity. Be patient and remember that they are confused. A little reassurance and positive attention will go a long way.

5. Take Time to Adjust: For the first week or two at your new home your routine will likely be different. Were your dogs allowed to run free at your old home but now need to be leashed? Prevent accidents and encourage plenty of outdoor time. Is your independent cat anxious to explore outside? Make sure you adjust slowly and deliberately to keep everyone safe and happy. Cats can be especially willful and likely to run off; keep your indoor/outdoor pet inside until they are comfortable before allowing them to transition into the outdoors. Remember that providing extra positive attention and support to your pets during a move is the best thing you can do for their well being.