Up Your Game With a Stylish Home Bar

Up Your Game With a Stylish Home Bar

If you love to entertain, carve out a stylish corner just for drinks. Even if you’re short on space, here are 5 basics to get the party started.

You can always forgo a dedicated home bar, but what’s the fun in that? If you love to entertain, carve out a stylish corner just for drinks. Even if you’re short on space, here are 5 basics to get the party started.

Go on Wheels

Wheel your drink supplies around on a handy bar cart that can be rolled to the middle of the action or tucked away in a pantry once the party’s over. They come outfitted in every style and include storage to hold your drinks, glasses and garnishes. You can install stemware holders underneath the top shelf, make room for a small ice bucket up top and load the rest of your supplies on the bottom shelf. Invest in one with folding sides if you need extra countertop space to chop limes or mix cocktails.

 

Dedicate a Cabinet

If you have one (or two) kitchen cabinets that act as placeholders filled with random knick-knacks, empty and devote it to a mini home bar. Line the inside with hooks and racks to hold martini glasses and add rows of shelves to hold your favorite drinks. If space allows, you may also want to get a sink or mini refrigerator to help with the prep. This cabinet can be opened up to be the star of the show or simply hidden away behind closed doors.

 

Keep it Front and Center

Oftentimes the best solution is the simplest. If you’re really tight on space, revisit an overlooked spot in your home. If you have a spare wall in the kitchen, dining or living room, install a few rows of open shelves to store supplies. You can even make it work with just one shelf if you store wine and liquor up top and hang glasses upside down below.

Alternatively, glam up and repurpose a simple serving tray to stash your supplies and leave it stationary on a sideboard or credenza. Add a fun piece of artwork or sign above to make it stand out to house guests.

 

Build it Into a Nook

If you’re in the opposite situation and have some room to spare, build out a home bar. If you have an awkward nook or extra space in a hallway, consult a professional for a custom job. This area creates a special place to store and serve drinks closer to living and lounge spaces, and it doesn’t interfere with any other household tasks or duties. Add a luxury or two to this space, such as a wine fridge to keep drinks cool, a sink for washing glasses and storage space to hold mixers, garnishes and glasses.

 

Choose Your Accessories Wisely

Regardless of which setup you have, style it with the right accessories to set the mood for the party. If your space is limited to a mobile serving cart or tray, pick statement drinking glasses and decor with glamorous gold accents. For more defined spaces, match your fixtures, lighting, wallpaper and seating. If it’s near the living or dining area, you’re all set on seating; otherwise pick out stylish bar stools to match your aesthetic.

for more great ideas, check out my Home Bar Ideas Pin Board on Pinterest Here!

Source: Sharon Lee/ CB Blue Matter

Posted on December 24, 2017 at 7:40 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: lifestyle, Recipes and Food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Best Holiday Breakfast Options!

Here are some Great Holiday Breakfast options for the upcoming holidays.

 

These options are food you can prepare ahead and then just pop into the oven when you get up in the morning. Enjoy!

Overnight French Toast Bake:

I love the puffed up egg-y bread covered in cinnamon and sugar. Not sure how you can’t, especially when it’s drenched in syrup!! If you love French Toast, then I suggest trying this recipe. It’s perfect for a special weekend or even for a holiday morning.

Overnight French Toast Bake – this layered breakfast recipe has layers of Texas toast, cinnamon, sugar, brown sugar and eggs!
Author: Lil’ Luna
Cuisine: Breakfast
Serves: 6-8
INGREDIENTS
  • ½ cup melted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 loaf Texas toast (with crust trimmed off, optional)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1½ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling
  • brown sugar
  • cinnamon
  • butter
  • 1 TB sugar + 1 teaspoon sugar
 INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Begin by melting butter. Add brown sugar and mix well.
  2. Pour butter and brown sugar mixture into the bottom of a 9×13.
  3. Add a layer of Texas toast.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.
  5. Pour half of egg mixture over the Texas toast and sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on top.
  6. Add another layer of Texas Toast. Spread a thin layer of butter over bread.
  7. Top with the remaining egg mixture and top with your cinnamon and sugar mixture.
  8. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours before baking.
  9. When ready to bake, bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.

 

Cinnamon Rolls Recipe:

If you love Cinnamon Rolls as much we do, I highly recommend trying this recipe. As I mentioned before, they are soft and the frosting on top is amazing!! I know you’ll love them!

Our ALL-TIME Favorite Cinnamon Roll recipe – these rolls are so soft and gooey and always get rave reviews with anyone who tries them.
Author: Lil’ Luna
Recipe type: Breakfast
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 pkg yeast
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups flour
Filling:
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2½ TB cinnamon
  • 2 TB flour
  • ⅓ cup butter, softened
Icing:
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup cream cheese
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add sugar and 1 cup of flour. Stir gently, cover and set aside until doubled in size, about 30-45 minutes.
  2. Add butter, salt, eggs and remaining flour. Mix well with wooden spoon.
  3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and kneed for 5 minutes (dough will be a little sticky) Place back in the bowl and cover to let rise until doubled in size.
  4. Roll out onto a 21×16 rectangle, about ¼ inch thick.
  5. Spread the ⅓ cup softened butter then sprinkle with the brown sugar. Roll up long ways and cut into 1¾ inch slices. You should get about 12 cinnamon rolls
  6. Place on a greased jelly roll pan and let double in size.
  7. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.
  8. While rolls are baking, mix all icing ingredients together and spread over warm rolls.

 

CHEESY HASH BROWN BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

What’s great about this recipe is it also reheats well. We made it and had leftovers and enjoyed it for the next few days because it was still so good. For those that love breakfast casseroles, we hope you give this one a try and let us know what you think. We thought it was breakfast heaven!

Cheesy Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole – an egg and potato casserole made with 3 different cheeses and is perfect for any weekend or holiday breakfast!
Author: Lil’ Luna
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 10-12
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 pound sliced bacon, diced
  • 4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 9 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1½ cups cottage cheese
  • 1¼ cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • Salt & pepper
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. Cook bacon in a skillet until browned and pour into large bowl.
  3. Stir in potatoes, eggs, cheeses and salt & pepper. Pour mixture into greased baking dish.
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. ENJOY!

 

BREAKFAST RING

If you love the tastes of bacon, eggs, peppers, cheese and crescent rolls then I think you will enjoy this dish just as much as we did. It would also be easy to change up based on the breakfast foods you prefer. You can add sausage, different cheese, different veggies – you name it!! Here is what you’ll need to make this yummy recipe…

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 slices bacon, cut in half
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 – 8 oz can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese (divided)
  • 2 TB butter, melted
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Cook bacon and set aside (leave bacon drippings in pan).
  3. In a bowl, beat ⅓ milk, egg salt and pepper until well mixed. Add peppers and pour into bacon pan and cook until thickened through out but still moist. Set aside.
  4. Add parchment paper to a large cookie sheet. Unroll crescent roll dough and separate into triangles. Layer dough around making a 4 inch circle in the middle with the points towards the outside of the cookie sheet (see pic below). Press the overlapping dough together.
  5. Add bacon around the center of the circle at the tops of the triangles and top with ⅓ cup shredded cheese. Spoon eggs on top of cheese and add another ⅓ cup of cheese on top of the eggs.
  6. Add pointed ends of dough and wrap around eggs, tucking under the dough to form a ring (filling will be visible).
  7. Brush top of dough with melted butter and the remaining cheese.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Top with cilantro and serve warm. ENJOY!

Source: https://lilluna.com/

Posted on December 12, 2017 at 1:29 am
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: Recipes and Food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Fall Weekend Guide to Napa Valley

Fall Weekend Guide to Napa Valley

The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are changing into beautiful shades of red and orange and wine country is calling. Fall is one of the best seasons to plan a weekend trip to see all that Napa Valley has to offer. This area has hundreds of wineries that attract millions of visitors each year. Still, this region of California has more to offer than wine. There are plenty of outdoor adventures, relaxing spas and shopping areas to make for a busy trip.

Visitors to Napa Valley can leave the car behind and try an alternate way of getting around. The Calistoga Bike Shop offers both rentals and tours of the area. People looking to go on their own adventure can look to the shop for advice on which places to check out. Rentals start at $28, and helmets, locks and rack bags are included. Ride through Sonoma County on horseback for a unique way of experiencing the natural features of the area. Stables pair riders with gentle horses for trips all year long. One option is riding through wine grapes, apple trees and towering oak groves at Rollin F Ranch. Or people can take the seaside route, riding past the sand dunes along the Sonoma coastline.

People can get a taste of history while traveling through the region on the Napa Valley Wine Train. The rail cars on the train have been restored to their original glory dating back to the early 1900s. Couples can plan trips with an intimate dinner as the stars shine overhead. Or people can put their sleuth caps on and solve the murder mystery dinner. The Santa Train is also a family favorite. Leave the ground behind altogether and tour Napa Valley through a hot air balloon ride. Imagine rising up above the vineyards as the fog clears and the sun rises just over the hills. If this sounds like a perfect start to the day, then make a reservation for this unique tour. Many companies offer champagne mimosas and breakfast after the trip as well.

Take a night and enjoy live music or a film on the big screen. Silos Jazz Club is an intimate space where visitors can listen to rock and blues while sipping local wines. This venue has performances nearly every night. Upcoming acts include the Second Street Band, jazz pianist Mike Greensill and surf rocker John Wheeler. The Cameo Cinema is an elegant theatre that shows both independent and studio-released films. This theatre dates back to 1913, and it has since seen serious upgrades both in 1996 and in 2009. Visitors rave about the theatre’s sound system and seriously cheap popcorn.

Those looking for heart-pumping action should head to the Sonoma Raceway for NASCAR. This track hosts one of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, which takes place on a road course. Other events at the raceway include the Verizon IndyCar series, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series and motorcycle races by the American Federation of Motorcyclists. Video game enthusiasts might recognize the track. The track first appeared in “NASCAR Racing” in 1994 and has since shown up in several other racing games.

At least a half-day of the weekend trip in Napa Valley should be dedicated to a quick Sacramento trip. Just an hour’s drive away, the city dates back to the rough and tumble Gold Rush era. Visit Old Sacramento for a taste of history from the Wild West. Sacramento is the capital of California, and people can explore the origins of the state at the stunning State Capitol Museum. The city is hugged by two rivers, the Sacramento and American River. Visitors can rent a kayak or grab a fishing pole and enjoy a nice day on the water. Great weather makes going to the Drive-In theatre a great activity all year long. Catching a movie there won’t break the bank either, tickets are priced at $7.95 for adults and $1.25 for kids ages 5-11.

Relax after a long day at one of the various spas in Napa Valley. Dr. Wilkinson’s is a hot springs resort that has helped Californians unwind since 1952. Their signature service is the mud bath. The mud is mixed with volcanic ash and lavender, and it cleanses the skin while visitors sit back with cucumbers to cool the eyes. Mud baths end with a 30 to 60 minute massage by their expert staff.

Try some of California’s freshest produce at Oxbow Public Market. This 40,000 square foot area has a mix of food vendors and cafes along with an outdoor deck that provides views of the nearby Napa River. Indulge the sweet tooth at Anette’s Chocolates. Enjoy a freshly baked loaf of bread from The Model Bakery. Or sort through the hundreds of spices at Whole Spice to find the perfect accent to a meal.

Come for the wine and stay for the adventure for a memorable weekend in Napa Valley.

 

Source: Jeremy Alderman

Posted on November 8, 2017 at 8:53 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: lifestyle, local | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What is an HOA?

What is an HOA?

It’s important to learn more about the neighborhood HOA, such as annual dues, community amenities, and restrictions when looking to buy a new home. The goal of the HOA is to help maintain home values and the overall aesthetics of a neighborhood.

When looking for a house, many buyers tend to take into account costs associated with owning a home such as insurance, utilities, and taxes. One thing buyers may not think to consider is whether the house is in a neighborhood with an HOA, what the dues are, and how the association is run. Many buyers may be aware of association dues and regulations in multi-family developments such as condos or townhomes. But, it’s becoming a new normal to find HOAs in developments with single-family homes

 

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What is an HOA?

There are different definitions out there for a Homeowners’ Association and many operate differently from one another. A Homeowners’ Association, or HOA, is an association that works to maintain and oversee the common areas of a neighborhood or property complex. It’s fairly common to find them in neighborhoods that offer amenities such as a community pool, gated access, a playground, tennis courts, etc. The HOA is typically a volunteer-based board made up of homeowners living in the neighborhood. Many HOAs have committees that coordinate neighborhood events, review proposed changes homeowners wish to make to their property, enforce the covenants, and more.

Get to Know the Rules

The covenants, conditions, and restrictions are different for every HOA. Some rules commonly seen in HOAs are in regard to the overall appearance and aesthetics of the neighborhood, such as the appearances of houses and lawn maintenance. Some also have restrictions regarding street parking or where residents can park their boats and RVs. Others may deal more with coordinating neighborhood crime watches and events.

When considering a house, it’s a good idea to ask for a copy of the HOA covenants, conditions, and restrictions to get a better idea of what is allowed and not allowed in the neighborhood. It’s becoming more common for HOAs to have a website or social media page, which is a great place to learn more about the community. For example, some mandate there can be no cars parked in the yard of any house in the neighborhood. If a homeowner wants to paint the house a new color, change the landscaping, or add on to the property, the owner has to submit the proposed changes to the HOA for review and approval. The committee will review the proposed changes to ensure they fall in line with the covenants of the neighborhood. While these may seem rather burdensome or trivial, the HOA was designed to help maintain home values and the overall aesthetics of a neighborhood.

How are HOAs Funded?

Many HOAs require annual, quarterly or monthly dues. Those dues will vary based upon the size of the neighborhood and amenities. Dues are used for a number of things including maintenance of common spaces such as neighborhood entrances, playgrounds, pools, etc. In gated neighborhoods, many of the items that would normally be maintained by the city or parish must be maintained by the HOA. These items may include roads, sidewalks, and street lighting to name a few. Some HOAs will hire a property management company to oversee the collection of dues and coordinate maintenance issues.

Another thing to consider is whether the house is located in a new development. There may not be many amenities or common spaces to maintain as the neighborhood is being developed, so dues may be minimal. The developer may cover some of the associated costs while the neighborhood is still being developed. The true cost associated with running the HOA and maintaining the neighborhood may not fully come to light until the neighborhood is near completion and the developer turns the HOA over to the new residential board.

It’s important to pay the dues on time. Depending on the bylaws, late fees and interest could be tacked on to the bill and the HOA could place a lien on the property if the dues are not paid. The HOA could also foreclose on the property for nonpayment of dues.

After the Closing

Contacting the HOA should be a priority on the Post Move-in List as it is important to provide contact information to the HOA. It’s also a great time to get more information regarding upcoming neighborhood events or other ways to get involved. The HOA cannot operate without residents who are willing to give of their time.

It’s also a great idea to attend neighborhood events such as an ice cream social, an Independence Day parade, Halloween trick-or-treating, and a Christmas party. These events can serve as a great way to meet neighbors and build relationships.

It’s important to remember that the volunteers who serve on the HOA are your neighbors and friends. Like you, they want what’s best for the community. Every homeowner benefits from a well-cared for neighborhood.

 

Source: AMY POE

Posted on October 29, 2017 at 4:20 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

13 Halloween Desserts To Die For

13 Halloween Desserts To Die For

Make your house party a screaming hit with these super cute Halloween dessert ideas.

A few years ago we published 25 Good, Gross, and Ghoulish Halloween Party Food Ideas. It became such a hit that we knew it was time for an encore with a focus specifically on Halloween desserts ideas.

Are you a scary bad cook? No worries. We added a “Scary Hard to Make” Skull Rating System to help you. One skull is scary easy and five skulls is hide under the bed hard. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffle Mummies (No Bake!) | Creme de la Crumb

I wish my mummy would make these for me! Yum!

Mini Donut Spiders | Its Always Autumn

The only spider I would to TO instead of From!

Candy Corn Cupcakes | The Girl Who Ate Everything

Nothing corny about this sweet treat!

Candy Corn Muffin

 

Chocolate Chip Spider Cookies | Moms and Munchkins

Spiders have never looked so tasty!

Bat Brownies | Betty Crocker

Your guests will go batty over this recipe.

Pumpkin Pretzel Bites | Two Sisters Crafting

The cutest little pumpkin patch around.

Poison Toffee Apples | Simply Delicious Food

As least you can die happy.

Witch Hat Cupcakes | Hostess with the Mostess

Which Witch will you eat first?

Graveyard Parfait | Neighborhood Food Blogs

RIP Redefined: Really Irresistible Parfaits

Halloween Fudge | Crazy for Crust

You may have to fudge with the numbers when your friend asks you how many of these you ate in one sitting.

No Bake Cat Cookies | Party Pinching

These are obviously the cat’s meow.

Graveyard Pudding | Party Pinching

The only scary thing about these cute little cups is running out.

Red Chocolate Ganache Cake | Say It With Cake

A great way to ensure you have a bloody good dessert for your guests.

From our family of witches, ghouls and goblins to yours…Happy Halloween!

Posted on October 22, 2017 at 7:56 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: Recipes and Food | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Bars

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Bars

     

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (228g) pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour, (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice1
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Swirl

  • 8 ounces (224g) brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature2
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (32g) pepitas tossed in a sprinkle of ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease or line the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in egg and vanilla on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. On medium speed, beat in the pumpkin until combined. The mixture will look curdled; that’s ok.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt together until combined. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. Do not overmix. The mixture will be thick. Spread 2/3 of the batter evenly into the prepared pan; it will be a relatively thin layer. The rest will be added in step 5.
  4. In a medium bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer filled with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Beat on high speed until completely combined. Drop random spoonfuls on top of the pumpkin batter.
  5. Drop the remaining pumpkin batter on top of the spoonfuls of cream cheese. With a rubber spatula or knife, begin gently swirling the two together. Both mixtures are thick, so go slowly. Jiggle the pan back and forth to get the layers to settle into the pan. Don’t worry if it looks messy; everything will come together in nice swirls as the bars bake. Sprinkle cinnamon-pepitas on top of the swirled batter.
  6. Bake the bars for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Allow the bars to cool completely at room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator for about 2 hours before cutting into squares. Leftover bars can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. They’re SO good on day 2!
  7. Make ahead tip: These bars can be made 3 days in advance and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Bars freeze well, up to 3 months. Simply thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.

 

Source: Sallysbakingaddiction.com

Posted on October 22, 2017 at 7:39 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: Recipes and Food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Fantastic Kitchen Staging Ideas for Fall

5 Fantastic Kitchen Staging Ideas for Fall

Wow fall homebuyers with these easy staging ideas from HomeAdvisor

Selling your home in the fall means adding small seasonal elements to make your home feel warm and welcoming. And, what better place to do that than in the kitchen? Here are some ideas to help you make your kitchen — and your home — appeal to fall homebuyers:

Fall counter decor

You should always keep the countertops nearly clear when potential homebuyers are walking through. In fact, you should keep it down to about two to three essentials if you’re living there from day to day. For the fall season, you can add small elements like placemats, fruit and leaf decor (window drapings, vase, etc.).

“Fall odors”

The smell of leaves, apple pie, pumpkin and cinnamon evoke the cozy feelings of fall. Candles are nice and actually baking something “fall-like” before a showing is a sure way to make potential buyers feel more at home during a showing.

Colors of fall

Depending on the current condition of your home, you might consider a fresh coat of paint. What color you decide to use may or may not be influenced by the season. While you should always lean towards neutral colors, you might consider accent walls or cabinets in browns or dark tones of red or green if you think they would work. The cost to paint an interior room is about $380, though prices will vary depending on the size of the room.

Bringing nature in

   

If there are windows in the kitchen, make sure to keep them clean. Depending on the weather outside during a showing, you might open them and let the fresh air in. It helps to create a flow between nature outside and the atmosphere you’re trying to create in the kitchen. If your budget allows, you might also accent the windows with fall-like window treatments to create an even easier flow. If you don’t have these treatments, a professional home stager can sometimes find them for a reasonable price.

Natural lighting elements

Lighting is an essential element of home staging, no matter the season. In fall, in particular, it’s all about enhancing the twilight or sunset and complementing of all the fall colors. For lighting in your kitchen, consider accent and track lighting. Or, you could install recessed lighting on a dimmer switch, which will allow you to control the brightness of the kitchen to complement the mood outside.

take a look at these cool fall elements from Kirklands!

Source: Andrea Davis 

Posted on October 22, 2017 at 7:24 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate), lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Teal Pumpkin Project

HISTORY

The Teal Pumpkin Project was inspired by a local awareness activity run by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET) and launched as a national campaign by FARE in 2014. FARE thanks FACET for their ongoing partnership as we work to reach families across the country and around the world with the Teal Pumpkin Project’s messages of awareness, inclusion and community.

TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT FAQs

What’s the Teal Pumpkin Project®?
The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages people to raise awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season. The steps to participate are:

  1. Provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters.
  2. Place a teal pumpkin – the color of food allergy awareness –in front of your home to indicate you have non-food treats available.
  3. Display a free printable sign or premium poster from FARE to explain the meaning of your teal pumpkin.

Why is this important?

Halloween can be a tricky time for families managing food allergies. Many traditional Halloween treats aren’t safe for children with life-threatening food allergies. The Teal Pumpkin Project promotes safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies. This worldwide movement offers an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option. It keeps Halloween a fun, positive experience for all!

What do I do if I want to participate?
Participating is simple. Pick up some inexpensive toys, and place a teal pumpkin and/or a free printable sign from FARE outside your home to show that you have non-food treats to hand out. Supporting the Teal Pumpkin Project is a simple gesture that can have a big impact.

Do you want to help spread the Teal Pumpkin Project’s messages of a safer, happier Halloween for all even further? You can support FARE and the Teal Pumpkin Project in a variety of ways:

  • Download FARE’s promotional flyer to circulate in your local community so that your neighbors can take part too!
  • Host a Teal Pumpkin Project inspired fundraising event to support FARE
  • Order an official Teal Pumpkin Project Halloween Essentials Kit that includes a fun selection of non-food treats, a pumpkin stencil, support poster, cool trick-or-treat bag, and more.
  • Make a donation and receive a free Teal Pumpkin Project magnet (while supplies last)
  • Download free materials and use the hashtag #tealpumpkinproject to help us spread the word.

I don’t have time to paint a pumpkin teal, what do I do?
Simple – you can print out a free sign from our website to post on your door. You can also look for teal pumpkins to purchase online and at local retail shops.

I didn’t know this was a problem. Why is Halloween a challenge for families managing food allergies?
Food allergies are a life-altering and potentially life-threatening disease, and a growing public health issue. In the U.S., one in 13 children has a food allergy – that’s roughly two in every classroom. For these children, even a tiny amount of their allergen has the potential to cause a severe reaction.

Virtually any food can cause a reaction. Many popular Halloween candies contain nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat, which are some of the most common allergens in children and adults. Additionally, many miniature or fun-size versions of candy items contain different ingredients than their full-size counterparts and some miniature candy items may not have labels, so it is difficult for parents to determine whether these items are safe for their child with food allergies.

Non-food treats provide a safe, fun alternative for children with food allergies and other conditions for whom candy may present a problem.

What children can benefit from non-food treats?
All kids love non-food treats like glow sticks or small toys. There are children who have various conditions that may preclude them from having candy, or can particularly benefit from non-food treats, including:

  • Food allergies
  • Food intolerances
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)
  • Celiac disease
  • Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES)
  • Children with feeding tubes
  • Any child on a special diet

Is this taking away the tradition of collecting candy on Halloween? 
The goal is not to exclude candy from the Halloween tradition. The goal is simply to ensure that children with food allergies – and other children for whom candy is not an option – are able to enjoy a safer, happier Halloween. Trick-or-treaters typically receive pounds of candies and chocolates, and we’re sure they will continue to collect plenty of candy. Many kids, whether they have food allergies or not, enjoy the experience of receiving little toys and other fun items that they can keep.

Can I still pass out candy?
Sure – just do it safely! The point of the Teal Pumpkin Project is to make trick-or-treating as inclusive as possible. You can keep the experience safe by keeping your food treats and non-food treats in separate bowls.

Do kids with life-threatening food allergies actually trick-or-treat?
Yes! Who wouldn’t want to take part in such a fun tradition shared with friends, classmates and family? Many kids with food allergies go out to trick-or-treat just like their friends. They know they’ll give much of their candy away because it’s not safe for them. They have come to understand that a lot of their fun will come from dressing up in a costume. We hope the Teal Pumpkin Project becomes a tradition for years to come so kids will know that when they knock on someone’s door that has a teal pumpkin, they’ll have a treat they can fully enjoy.

Are there any non-food treats that I should avoid?
There are a few considerations when choosing which non-food items to hand out. First, some non-food items still contain food allergens. For example, some brands of moldable clay contain wheat. Additionally, try to choose latex-free items, as there are children who have latex allergies.

If I’m handing out candy and non-food treats, how do I determine which treat to give to each trick-or-treater?
You can either ask trick-or-treaters if they have any food allergies, or give every visitor a choice of which treat they’d like: candy or a non-food item.

Do kids really like non-food treats?
They don’t just like them, they love them! Finding a unique treat at your house will be a fun surprise. Glow bracelets, for example, are a great option. They are inexpensive, kids can wear them throughout the night, and parents are appreciative because they help make kids more visible after nightfall. Other non-food items, such as pencils and stickers, can be used at home and at school long after candy has run out or expired.

How do I know which houses in my area are participating?
FARE is providing a Teal Pumpkin Project Participation Map that allows people participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project to add their home address, street or neighborhood. Adding your household to the map shows your support and allows you to connect with other families in your area who are participating.

How do I get my neighbors involved?
Getting your community involved is easy!

  • Ask your friends and neighbors to learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project and participate. Print out FARE’s flyers and hand them out.
  • Host an event like a teal pumpkin painting party and ask your friends and neighbors to participate.
  • If you have a neighborhood email listserv, send out an email about the initiative, including a link to FARE’s website (www.foodallergy.org).
  • Reach out to your local library, dentist/doctor offices, schools, or community buildings to see if they would be willing to help you post signs or get the word out.
  • Share information on social media, and post a picture of your teal pumpkins when you have them near your door! Don’t forget to use #tealpumpkinproject when you post!

Why teal?
Teal is the color of food allergy awareness. It has been used to raise awareness about this serious medical condition for nearly 20 years.

How did the project start?
The Teal Pumpkin Project was inspired by an awareness activity run by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET). FARE thanks FACET for their ongoing partnership as we work to reach families across the country and around the world with the Teal Pumpkin Project’s messages of awareness, inclusion and community.

Posted on October 15, 2017 at 5:07 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: lifestyle, local | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why the Fall Selling Season Is Better Than You Think

Why the Fall Selling Season Is Better Than You Think

There is a common misconception that spring is the only worthwhile time to list your home, and listing anytime outside the prime “selling season” will lose you thousands. In truth, the fall selling season is the next best time to sell your house.

There is a common misconception that spring is the only worthwhile time to list your home, and listing anytime outside the prime “selling season” will lose you thousands. In truth, the fall selling season is the next best time to sell your house. Here are the main reasons why selling in fall is a good idea — and how to present your home to its best advantage.

The Numbers

The National Association of Realtors reports that 34 percent of homes sell within 30 days on the market during the fall selling season. This is just a shade behind spring, which comes in at 39 percent. Many of these homes sell for above-asking price based on the study, which researched homes sold between 2010 and 2014.

The Reasons to Sell

Though there is a slight slowdown in the market during the fall, there is less competition. By being able to highlight your home — particularly if it’s only one of a few available in your area — chances are high you will end up with multiple offers or an offer over asking price, something that every buyer covets.

It is also important to remember that regardless of the season, serious buyers are still looking — and ready to purchase when the right home comes their way. This means you can focus your marketing on buyers who are serious about your home.

How to Show Your Home

Though it is still a good season to sell, fall does have some unique challenges, particularly if you live in an area where the seasons change drastically throughout the year. Regardless of where you reside, these five tips will help ensure your home stands out.

1. Warm It Up

Regardless of where you live, open shades and blinds and turn on all the lights to warm your home with an abundance of natural light. If you live in a colder climate, consider turning on a gas or electric fireplace or boosting the thermostat by a few degrees to ensure potential buyers feel the warmth.

2. Use Seasonal Decor

Seasonal decor can create an emotional impact on potential buyers. As one of the strongest senses, smell can play a large part in creating a visceral reaction on a buyer. Scented candles in a harvest scent, freshly baked goodies, or even a stew roasting in a slow cooker can help buyers picture themselves gathering in your home with friends and family. Throw pillows, gourds, and fall flowers will also add a bit of extra color to bring the feeling home.

3. Keep Up with Curb Appeal

Raking leaves, and cleaning gutters remain essential in ensuring your home looks good from the outside in. Line pathways or porch steps with pumpkins or brightly colored mums in harvest hues. Even dried corn stalks tied to a porch column can provide a seasonal pop that makes your home stand out

.

4. Play to the Crowd

Fall is a prime season for empty nesters or new buyers to the market, so make sure to speak with your agent about how to target your home to the most applicable buyer, and ensure your staging and marketing efforts keep them in mind.

5. Show the Seasons

In fall or winter, your yard may not show at its best, so keeping a photo album of your property in full bloom available for buyers to browse can help them visualize your home in its glory.

Regardless of the season, if a property is priced right, it will sell. Work with a real estate agent to determine local demand, buying patterns, and selling prices in your area to determine the best time for you to list.

Image Source: Flickr/Sharon Mollerus

Source: Melina Gillies

Posted on October 8, 2017 at 6:57 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate), local | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Everything You Love About Fall at Home

Everything You Love About Fall at Home

If you’re looking for more reasons to fall in love with fall at home, check out this round-up of our favorite Blue Matter highlights for this fabulous season.

Fall at home is all about cozy nights around the dinner table, afternoons of playing in the fallen leaves, and mornings taking in the crisp autumn air. If you’re looking for more reasons to fall in love with fall at home, check out this round-up of our favorite Blue Matter highlights for this fabulous season.

Did you know there was a right way to rake leaves? Now you do.

Thinking about listing your home in October? Why the Fall Selling Season is Better than You Think

How to Turn Autumn Leaves into Home Decor

Heating bills. Halloween candy. Fallen leaves!  25 Thoughts Homeowners Have During Fall  

We could go on forever, but here are 7 Reasons to be Happy it’s Fall.

How to Use your Senses to Transition your Home from Summer to Fall.

Don’t cry because summer’s over.  Instead, turn your summer place into an autumn oasis.

What if there was a gutter cleaning robot?

Source: CB Blue Matter/Victoria Keichinger
Posted on October 8, 2017 at 6:49 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,