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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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



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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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


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.


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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Trend Alert: 8 Colors to Try This Season

Trend Alert: 8 Colors to Try This Season

Fall is here! Make holiday house guests and potential buyers feel at-home with the comfy, cozy and even cheerful shades of the season.

Guest post by  Michelle Lee, Houzz

Now that October is here and it’s officially fall, breezy colors and summery decor will start to feel out of place. Make holiday houseguests and potential buyers feel at-home with the comfy, cozy and even cheerful shades of the season. Follow along as we uncover eight trendy colors that will last through the new year.

1. Pumpkin Spice

As everyone is lining up for their long-awaited pumpkin spice lattes, the hue also has a well-earned spot in home decor. It’s bold, exudes warmth and resembles the always festive holiday, Halloween. This color works well when painted on one wall, as shown above, or through accessories like rugs, pillows, and throws if you’re color shy. It pairs well with neutral colors and monochromatic palettes as it takes the spotlight in all of its seasonal glory.

2. Autumn Red

If you don’t use autumn red in autumn, when will you use it? Although it’s a dramatic shade, it can infuse any room with a fiery and fun vibe. It adds intense energy to contemporary and modern rooms while being a happy addition to any playful, eclectic space. Use it intentionally and sparingly in a room to enhance its overall effect.


3. Emerald Green

There’s so much to love about this deep shade of green. Unlike the previous colors that are more playful, emerald draws from its roots in Mother Nature to create a sense of calm in any space. Serving as the focus in this kitchen, emerald green cabinetry marries perfectly with blond wood tones and light countertops. Wouldn’t you like to spend all holiday season here?

4. Navy Blue

Even darker and more daring than emerald green, navy is a close cousin to black. If you’re not psyched about displaying the iconic holiday colors in your home, but still want to stay on the dark side of the spectrum, this shade of blue is perfect for you. Honoring its origin from the British Royal Navy, this color embodies ultimate elegance, sophistication and power. Bringing navy into your home this season can have surprisingly health benefits too. It’s been shown to have a calming effect on the human body by slowing heart rate and metabolism.

5. Wine

Often an overlooked shade of purple, wine would make a lovely addition to any home this fall. Following suit with the deep tones discussed above, it has the strongest effect when used sparsely, as seen in this Chicago bedroom. Purple has historically been a color of royalty and power. Its wine pigment is no different, conveying richness and seduction in every capacity.

6. Steel Gray

Gray is one of the most versatile hues on the spectrum and can easily be used all year-round. Having said that, it’s often hard to choose the right gray for the season. Light gray can be seen as a winter wonderland while charcoal can be hard to distinguish from black. Steel gray is a solid middle ground. It’s the star of the show in this contemporary London kitchen with its sharp, clean and defined lines.

Photo by Gary Quigg Photography – Discover eclectic living room design ideas

7. Mustard Yellow

A hue that echoes the falling leaves soon to come, mustard yellow provides warmth and joy to any space. It plays well with other bold colors, like the bright blue sofa and TV stand in this eclectic living room. For year-round summer lovers, this color can also serve as a happy reminder of the sunny days and will brighten up any interior.

Photo by Chalet – Discover traditional bedroom design inspiration

8. Brown to Beige

Brown is a classic fall color, but too much of it can make a home feel more like a cave. Instead, use brown as an accent color and brighten it up with a lovely beige tone. Add in some white decor for a gorgeous layered look, like you see in this Denver bedroom.



Source: Houzz/ Sharon Lee

Posted on October 8, 2017 at 6:39 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 Things in Your Bathroom You’re Probably Forgetting to Clean


10 Things in Your Bathroom You’re Probably Forgetting to Clean

You missed a spot!

By Lea Schneider

If you’ve showered yourself with good intentions about doing some spring cleaning, there are a few spots you don’t want to miss.

Routine bathroom cleaning means hitting the fixtures and the floor with a good once-over. That’s a terrific start, but for a deeper clean, consult this checklist for 10 things you don’t want to skip.

Bath Mat

It would be great if only clean feet hit the clean bath mat. Since the whole family is in and out of the bathroom all day long, it’s pretty likely your bath mat needs attention. Start by giving it a safety check to see if it is losing its no-slip backing or if it no longer lies flat, as both are trip hazards. Most bath mats can go in the washing machine. Some can be air-dried and others put in the dryer. Check your rug’s tag and follow manufacturer directions.

Organizing Tip: When you buy a new bath mat for a frequently used bathroom, buy two. This way you can routinely throw one in the wash and reach for a clean one to put down in its place.

Shower Curtain

Shower curtains don’t need to be cleaned often, but spring cleaning is the perfect time to take care of this task. Most fabric curtains can be taken down and washed—again, check the tag and follow the directions. As for waterproof liners, inspect them to see if you find mold and mildew forming along seams or areas that often stay wet. Replace with a fresh liner or remove the soiled one and clean it.


It might be time to toss that toothbrush. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should switch to a new toothbrush every three to four months or when bristles become frayed. The ADA does not recommend any cleaning methods as a substitute for a new brush.

Organizing Tip: Buy a multi-pack of toothbrushes so you have extras available as soon as you need them.

Toothbrush Holder

The spot where you store your toothbrush typically has an accumulation of drippings and toothpaste. Use some hot soapy water to clean your holder. A small scrubbing brush is good for reaching into tight spaces.


Cleaning your hairbrush and combs should be a regular task. After all, dirty hair and a buildup of products is not something you want to brush back into your clean locks. Clean your brushes by first removing any hair from the bristles. (A comb and a pair of scissors are helpful with this task.) Then shampoo your hairbrush in warm water, rinse well and allow to dry.


You may not have given much thought to the pores in your loofah, but according to the Cleveland Clinic, they can be a breeding ground for bacteria that can even lead to skin infections. They recommend to weekly soak it in a diluted bleach solution for five minutes and then rinse thoroughly. The Clinic also recommends replacing your loofah every three to four weeks.



Grab the bathroom trashcan and banish the germs. Give it a good cleaning inside and out. Allow it to dry well. Add a liner for easy maintenance.


From floor vents to bathroom fans, these often-forgotten spots definitely need a spring cleaning. Those on the floor have dirt and hair fall into them, while ones on the ceiling can collect dust. To clean them, first remove the vent cover. Then use the brush attachment to your vacuum to clean the top and underside of the cover. Use your nozzle attachment to vacuum up debris, then replace the clean cover. For fan vents, a wet sponge is useful for collecting dust that has accumulated on the cover.

 Drain Stoppers

Why wait for a clog? Now is the perfect time to fish out any accumulation of hair and prevent buildup. Remove the drain stoppers from your sink and shower. Give them a scrub and return them to the drain.

Medicine Cabinet Clutter

Do a bit of spring organizing and reclaim storage space by purging your drawers and cabinets.

Jose Zuniga of MakeSpace recommends sorting through everything in your medicine cabinet and vanity drawers. “Throw out anything that’s expired, including old medication. Only keep the items that you use on a regular basis, such as your toiletries and grooming supplies, in your bathroom,” he says.

“Now that you’re left with only the items you use on a regular basis, look to your walls. They’re prime real estate for storing your bathroom supplies without hogging any floor or counter space. For the extra items that you don’t use often—like first aid supplies and spare rolls of toilet paper—put them in a labeled basket or clear storage container and store it on a closet shelf,” he recommends.

As you organize, give shelves and drawers a quick wipe to ensure you’re starting with a clean slate.

Armed with a fresh eye for attention to detail, your bathroom will not only look clean, but it will feel clean, too.

Professional organizing expert Lea Schneider writes for Home Depot about cleaning and organizing. She provides advice and tips on cleaning everything from shower curtains to different types of bath mats to loofahs.

Posted on August 9, 2017 at 6:58 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Smart Pergolas Adjust to Any Weather

Smart Pergolas Adjust to Any Weather

Posted on July 31, 2017 at 6:08 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate), lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

RATATOUILLE Crostini with Goat Cheese and Toasted Pine Nuts

RATATOUILLE Crostini with Goat Cheese and Toasted Pine Nut

I love Summer food, especially when I can throw things in the crock pot, make enough for the week and then not get the house hot each day. This Savory recipe is just perfect for bringing together the flavors of all the beautiful summer veggies we have during this season.



This is where you can make your ratatouille to taste. I like mine spicy but my one year old doesn’t- so I make it without the heat and then sprinkle chili flakes on the finished product. I like to use:
1 Eggplant
3 Zucchini
1 can diced tomatoes (can be substituted with 1 pint cherry tomatoes- whole)
1 can tomato paste
3 large button mushrooms
2 small sweet vidalia onions
4 cloves garlic
7 or 8 mini bell peppers
3 sprigs basil
herbs de provence to taste
salt and pepper to taste ( I add at the end)
basil to garnish
toasted pine nuts to garnish
1 Baguette or Pugliese bread
goat cheese
olive oil
1 clove garlic


1. Rinse all your veggies and dice into bite size pieces

2. Combine all ingredients in crock pot and pour over the tomato paste and diced tomatoes. Cook on high for one hour, then turn to warm, uncover and allow to simmer in crock pot for another 2-3 hours.
3. When ready to serve, slice bread to 1/2 in thickness and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Place under broiler until lightly golden brown.
4. Remove from Broiler, and rub with garlic clove.
5. Spread small amount of goat cheese on each piece of crostini, then cover with warm or cold ratatouille
6. top with pine nuts and fresh basil to garnish ( I also throw on red chili flakes from time to time- YUM!)


Make the ratatouille a day in advance—it’s even better on the second day after the flavors have come together. If it’s not enjoyed all at one sitting, it keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Posted on June 19, 2017 at 9:51 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: lifestyle, Recipes and Food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DIY Stock Tank Pool for Budget friendly Summer Fun!


DIY Stock Tank Pool for Budget friendly Summer Fun!

So maybe an olympic size lap pool is out of your budget. Yea, us too. But trending for summer fun in the yard this year is an easy DIY project that uses something from the farm & ranch supply store. Stock tank pools are the perfect plunge pool to cool off from the heat, yet take up very little space and don’t cost a lot to DIY. You can install them above ground, or dig them in. Choose galvanized metal, or poly as a liner for an unground version. Loving this fun idea!

Tractor Supply Company has a great primer on creating a stock tank pool. It isn’t quite as easy as filling a kiddie pool from the hose, but it is a simple DIY. This tutorial will give you all the basics on how to create a site, pumps and sealants.



Stacey at ‘Embracing Motherhood’ has the happiest kids on the block! They even have a video tutorial on how to make a stock tank pool!


Katie and her husband from ‘Let’s Add Sprinkles’ made this cute little oasis in their hot Texas garden for less than $300! Great DIY stock tank pool tutorial – they leveled the land and added decomposed granite for the pool “pad”. Can’t you see yourself soaking in this on a hot July afternoon?

Wanna Stay Cool? DIY A Stock Tank Pool!


Marty from ‘A Stroll Through Life’ was so inspired by the last tutorial from ‘Let’s Add Sprinkles’, that she and her family made their own stock tank pool!


‘Sew and Tell Quilts’ did an in-ground version of a DIY stock tank pool. This tutorial has lots of photos, and they also shared what went wrong to try to save you some headaches. Ahhhh!


This galvanized stock tank pool was made with gorgeous decking, from ‘Good Home Design’. The tutorial is photos only, but there are tons of great tips in the comments of this post!


Here is a DIY stock tank pool done by ‘Hot Tub Advice’ on Pinterest. No tutorial, but great inspiration on how to create your own little hideaway! (A cool one!)


This next one was uploaded by Pinterest user Rebecca, and just goes to show what you can do with the tutorials you have already seen! Great inspiration!


Another Pinterest user upload by Sara, this is cool copper looking stock tank pool!

Source: The Budget Decorator


Posted on June 19, 2017 at 9:26 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate), lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to Cut Down on Pool Maintenance Costs This Summer

How to Cut Down on Pool Maintenance Costs This Summer

Enjoy your pool without breaking the bank.

Pool maintenance doesn’t have to be an expensive annual chore. Rather than spending up to $700 on pool maintenance, you can cut costs by doing a lot of the work yourself. You don’t want the pool to fall into such poor shape that you have to spend thousands of dollars on repairs. Here are some steps to keep pool maintenance costs down to nearly nonexistent this summer:

#1 Use your pool cover.

Pool covers significantly reduce energy costs over time because they slow how much water evaporates. With a pool cover, your pool heater doesn’t have to work overtime to keep the water cool. And it prevents debris build-up on windy days too, so you don’t have to clean the pool as often.

#2 Run your filter at night.

Running the pool filter at night helps to cut down on energy costs while still keeping your pool clean. Some people opt to run their pool filter 24 hours a day, but this is a waste of energy and over-cleans the pool, which can cause more problems. See if there’s an optimum time to run the pool filter at night and save on your electricity bill.

#3 Clean the pool filter.

Sweet and simple: cleaning your pool filter keeps your swimming pool clear and prevents you from spending more money on other, more costly pool repairs. So just do it.

#4 Invest in an energy-efficient pool pump.

If you have a normal pool pump, it only pumps at one speed — and it wastes energy on filtration, among other tasks. If you invest in an energy-efficient, variable-speed pump, you could save more than a thousand dollars over the life of the pump. You may also qualify for an energy rebate.

#5 Keep the temperature low.

You pay more money for every degree you raise the temperature in the pool. Consider keeping the water as cool as possible while remaining comfortable. You should also turn the heater off in the off season, when you’re not using the pool.

#6 Maintain the pH balance.

You must pay attention to the chemical balance of the water — not only to keep the water safe, but to keep your costs down as well. If the alkalinity of the water is thrown off for any reason, you’re usually better off getting a swimming pool professional involved. Pool chemicals are expensive — and if you don’t get the measurements right, you’re throwing money away as you pour the chemicals into the water.

#7 Balance stabilizer levels.

While all pool owners are aware of how important it is to maintain chlorine levels, not all may realize how stabilizer (cyanuric acid) plays into the process. Stabilizer aids the chlorine in its effectiveness. Too much or too little stabilizer will result in chlorine losing its effectiveness.  Pool owners need to check their stabilizer levels and decrease or increase the amount of chlorine needed in the water to keep the pool safe.

Additional Pool Maintenance Costs:

These are quick and efficient steps to keeping your pool in shape this summer. However, there are some costs you need to keep in mind for the future too:

  • Closing the pool in the fall: $75 – $200
  • Running an automatic pool cleaner: $700 – $2,000
  • Vacuuming the pool: $50 – $100
  • Using chemicals: $20 – $100/month

If this seems like too much work for you, you can hire a swimming pool maintenance service. It will cost more, but they can do a lot of the work as part of a package, which could cost less in the long-term. Packages generally include:

  • Brushing the pool
  • Skimming debris
  • Adjusting chemical levels
  • Cleaning the pool filter
  • Vacuuming


Source: Andrea Davis, HomeAdvisor,  LINDSAY LISTANSKI

Posted on June 4, 2017 at 11:32 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate), lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,