Thursday, June 30, 2016

4th of July Sweets

Celebrate Independence Day with flair! Take a look at these simple to make but amazingly patriotic dessert options!  Stay safe and enjoy the holiday!

Berry Trifle

Strawberry, blueberry and delicious angel food cake make this patriotic trifle a sure be winner!

Star Brownies

Use cookie cutters to cut up brownies and then decorate with icing and red, white and blue sprinkles!

Independence Day Kabobs

A simple no-bake dessert requiring just blueberries, strawberries and bananas!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Summer Road Trips

Getting out of town is a much needed escape for all of us. Sometimes taking that week long summer vacation isn't always possible.  Here are a few ways to get away if even just for the weekend!

Beach Locales:

Beaufort, South Carolina
Located just south of busy Hilton Head Island, Beaufort packs in true southern charm and lowcountry appeal.  Visit historic downtown and spend the day walking into local shops and art galleries.  For more information visit

Tybee Island, Georgia
Known as Savannah's beach, Tybee Island is a quiet beach town free from the hustle and bustle of most beach vacation spots.  See the famous lighthouse and take a dolphin tour! To find out more visit

Mountain Adventures:

Hendersonville, North Carolina
Just a half hour from trendy Asheville, Hendersonville is a quieter cousin to the artsy city. Visit the quaint downtown and find all of the Hendersonville Bears that decorate the space.  Enjoy beautiful views and local farmers markets. For more information visit

Blue Ridge, Georgia
90 miles north of Atlanta is the mountain town of Blue Ridge.  Blue Ridge is packed with outdoor adventure including hiking, waterfalls and trout fishing. For a more relaxing source of fun ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.  Find out more at

Thursday, June 16, 2016

High Tech Homebuying

Buying a new home has gone high tech! With your handy smartphone you can find tons of information that will help your home buying process.  Make sure to download these apps before you go shopping!

1. Home Search Apps
Home search apps like Zillow and provide up to date real estate information such as price, square footage, location and home description.  You can specifically look for new homes to make your search even easier.

2. Dwellr
Dwellr is an app that lets you know about the neighborhood your potential home is located in. Using Census data you can find out some demographic information about the community around you.

3. GreatSchools
Learn about the schools your home is zoned for with this helpful education app. Schools are rated and compare to other schools in the area.

4. Houzz
Interested in how to outfit your new home? Find decor ideas on this helpful app full of images of interior and exterior dream homes.

5. Mortgage Calculator by Quicken Loans
Time to run the numbers? Use the mortgage calculator app to calculate monthly payment, estimate your interest rate and down payment.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Carpet Care

Carpet is an often overlooked but important aspect of your home's style.  Stained or dirty carpet can set the wrong tone for your home and with some usual maintenance can be avoided. Here are a few tips to keep your carpet looking new!

1. Use mats outside and inside of your doors to prevent some dirt from coming in. This is a first line of defense for carpet care. Try to remove shoes when indoors.

2. Vacuum high traffic areas daily and all other areas on a weekly schedule.  Vacuuming prevents ground in dirt from cutting and tearing at the carpet fibers. Take your time and make sure each area is cleaned thoroughly.

3. If you notice a piece of the carpet coming loose or unraveling - do not pull! Clip with scissors to remove.

4. UV rays from sunshine can distort the color of your carpet and prematurely age the carpet. Close your blinds when leaving home for the day.

5. Stains happen but it's important to react quickly. Blot the stain to remove as much as possible. If a chemical spot remover is needed follow instructions carefully.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Housing Heats Up!

The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index released this week showed a national increase in home prices, up by 5% since March.  This brings prices to within 4% of their peak in 2006 - a far cry from the decline of 30% in 2012.

New home sales were up 17% in April - the strongest month in eight years.  What's driving the market? High demand and low supply. Improving economic indicators such as falling unemployment and low mortgage rates are helping to boost sales as well.

So what does this mean for you? If you're in the market for a new home - be prepared and do your research. Get pre-qualified or talk to a lender about a good faith estimate.  Work on any potential credit issues and understand what you will or won't compromise on in a home.

Home prices have been increasing steadily for the last 12 month so the time to buy is now before they increase again!