It’s that time of year… the end of the Summer. What a bummer.

Hopefully everyone has enjoyed their summer.  I know its been a great for us at the Ed Acevedo Group.

With the end of summer usually comes a bbq!  We’ve compiled a little playlist for your get together.

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Let’s talk about hula hoops.

Yes, you heard me correctly:  hula hoops.  No, not your rinky dink plastic kind from when you were a kid.  I’m talking about a fitness / dance hoop.

I was introduced to this phenomena a few months ago while at a music festival.  I had seen it here and there and always thought “Those dang hippies!” but in the spirit of the day (ok, there were Owsley Bears and a lot of Grateful Dead cover music going on at this festival, but I digress) I decided to give it a shot for fun.  It turned out to be one of the best ab workouts I’ve ever done in my life!  I fell in love with it – not just from a fitness stand point but also watching the more experienced “hoopers” dance with it, making it look like an extension of their graceful limbs.

I signed up for a weekly, hour long class.  Whenever I mention this to someone they go “Really?  Hula hooping as a class?”  and I have to explain to them that its not as easy as you think it is.  Besides trying to keep the sucker up, you have to learn to move correctly and look good while doing it.  We also incorporate squats and lunges, and use the hoop to tone our arms.  You can burn up to 400-500 calories during a session.  It really is quite a work out!

I am slowly learning how to move and play.  It take practice.  And its fun for all ages.  There is a variety of age groups in my class and we have a blast.  It also doesn’t hurt that we have class in a very quiet, serene park, adding a bit of a yoga flair to the experience.

I know there are classes being held at local YMCA locations.  If you have one in your area – I suggest you check it out and give it a shot.  Here are some resources (and inspiration!) in case you want to sneak a peek and not jump right into a class.

http://www.hooping.org

http://www.hoopnotica.com

And, well, this video is just fun to watch:

Happy hooping lovely readers!  We are curious to hear your thoughts about hooping!  Leave us some comments!

A simple butter infusion recipe

20120712-080653.jpg

I just wanted to share a really quick and simple way to spice up butter by using very common ingredients. What made me want to share this is that the ingredients came from my friend’s garden, grown in good old’ Delaware County.

What you’ll need:
– 1 stick of softened unsalted butter (do this at room temperature)
– 2 cloves of fresh garlic (these came from the garden)
– a handful of basil leaves (also from the garden)
– a handful of parmesan cheese
–  pepper to taste
– sea salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse away to a whipped consistency. Don’t have a food processor? Use minced garlic, finely chop the basil leaves and mash with a fork. Side note: when chopping fresh basil, I’ve learned that it’s easier to grab a few leaves, roll them up and then chop.

When finished pulsing, place into a separate bowl or container and into the fridge to harden.

We used this butter on grilled corn on the cob, but it would be tasty on all kinds of things – steak, bread (duh), fish, fresh summer vegetables from our own garden…

What infusions have you tried? I’m thinking a sweet one next.

Simplifying the Home Closing Process | Coldwell Banker Blue Matter

Just a quick note:  Most clients that we deal with are usually most concerned / confused with the inspection process and closing.  The inspection process, for both buyer and seller, is always touchy because you never know what the home inspector can find and throw a wrench into a deal.  The closing process is different.  Its a whirlwind of paperwork, explanation of a HUD-1 (to be honest, before I got into real estate, a HUD sheet instantly made me glaze over with all of the fees and figures and who owes what to whom), check distribution, and finally, handing the keys over.

This quick little article courtesy of Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter explains some of the hurdles that some people face during the closing process and what to expect at a closing.  Most agents (including our Group) will provide you exactly what you need per the title company in order to make the closing go smoothly.

Here’s to happy homeownership!

How to Simplify the Home Closing Process
by Lindsay Listanski

It is common to feel anxious while completing the home buying process and the last thing one wants is a last-minute surprise while they’re closing on their home. The closing process is the final hurdle you’ll face after you have agreed to purchase a home, however it is important to be prepared to avoid obstacles that may delay the sale. There are several steps which can help ensure the closing process goes smoothly.

Understand the closing procedure
It is crucial to fully understand the process of closing negotiations prior to entering into the closing. By knowing what to expect, one can ask appropriate questions and clarify aspects that they may not understand. It’s also to ensure that all parties are kept in the loop. Human error is natural. According to MSN Real Estate, details that get lost in the cracks can lead to delayed or canceled home sales. For this reason, it is extremely important to work closely with your agent so that you understand what to expect. Remember, no question is a silly question! Your agent is there to help and has the experience and understanding of what to expect during the closing process. They will also assist you with the important step of identifying and gathering all documents that should be brought to closing negotiations.



Review documents
Missed details in loan documents can either lead to mistakes in the paperwork or leave buyers with a product or payment scenario they are unhappy with. Reading loan documents may seem time-consuming, but it’s the best way to resolve potential problems or misunderstandings before they occur. Lenders are required to provide buyers with their loan documents, by request, at least 24 hours before the closing, so re-read the contents to make sure you understand what you’re signing.

In addition, make sure you have all that you need the morning of closing, including your check. The loan documents should spell out the amount required to bring to the closing. In some cases checks may need to be certified in order for the lender to accept it. You may have the option to wire transfer the funds, but this can take longer and delay closing, thus having a check ready may be in the your best interest. In addition to the check, bring a photo ID copy, homeowners insurance policy and good faith estimate, on top of loan documents.

The chainsaw wielding gardening delight!

In a previous post, I discussed how little I know about gardening and how Coldwell Banker put out a great little article to help even the most novice gardeners (ahem, me) to understand the basics.

While working from home one day and looking at the ugly mess that lived out front of my home, I couldn’t take it anymore – the shrubs had to go.  I didn’t really have a plan for what came next post-shrub demolition, but it was so fun to finally take these suckers down.

Before:
  

Mid-Carnage:

My husband had to hook a tow up to the back of his truck to rip the roots out! We thought we were Si and Jase from Duck Dynasty for a minute, but I digress…

Since it rained pretty much every weekend at some point, or any time during the week when I had free time – the space sat unoccupied for about 2 weeks.  It was a nice, muddy mess filled with whirlybirds (those menacing Maple seeds that blanket my yard / car / get tracked into my house every spring) and sprouting weeds.  So, last weekend we finally got it done.  We visited the local Agway, since I know nothing about plants, and they showed me a variety of plants that will work in our soil type and lack of sun.  If you live in Chester County – Agway is the spot.  I highly suggest it for your gardening needs.

So, here it is, completed:

See what I mean about the shade?  The shurbs we chose are called Gold Dust or Japanese Acuba, and will fill out nicely to 4′-6′ wide and tall.  And don’t even think that I was not singing this in my head the entire rest of the afternoon:

The other side of the front exterior was also struggling.  My trusty gutter guards just make the water cascade down the front of the house during a heavy rain, washing any soil or mulch in its path.  I had the brilliant idea to continue the red brick from our walkway and create a small garden area with some Hosta and a small azalea bush that I though may have bit the dust, but Grandma Ruby (I named her) gave me a few red blooms this spring.

Again, I couldn’t do it without my husband’s patience (Who me?  Get crazy when something doesn’t go right?  Nah…) and this is what we (ahem, he) finished, minus the mulch:

Hopefully everything grows, is properly maintained and fills in correctly.  Wish me luck!

As a new or existing home owner, do you like to do your own yard / garden work or prefer to hire a service?  We’d love to hear!

Lauri

Avoid Common Garden Mistakes | From Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a love/hate relationship with gardening.  I dream of having a Martha Stewart-esque garden, but have inherited an overgrown, never maintained, acidic soil disaster.  I want to rip everything out and start over again.  I tell my husband to not be surprised when he comes home after work to find me wielding lopping shears and a chain saw like a mad woman and all of the shrubs are gone.  Someday soon…

If you are like me and love the look of a gorgeous garden but have no clue how to start and / or maintain one – fear not!  Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter blog posted a really great article to check out.  I’ve picked up some good tips – in particular, I had no idea that lady bugs were actually good for your garden.

Maybe if I do decide to go on a Leatherface-chainsaw-wielding-adventure one afternoon, I will post before and after pics!

Happy Spring!

Lauri

2011-12 Cost vs. Value: Big-Bang Remodeling Projects | Realtor Magazine

Interesting read for homeowners looking to make upgrades.  Optimizing the use of space in a home will not only attract buyers but also give sellers more bang for their buck, according to Remodeling’s “2011–12 Cost vs. Value Report,” conducted in cooperation with REALTOR® Magazine and NAR’s HouseLogic.com.

Read more here:
2011-12 Cost vs. Value: Big-Bang Remodeling Projects | Realtor Magazine.

My Colortopia by Glidden

Glidden paint has launched a new site that helps you choose paint colors based on the things that have inspired you to paint in the first place!  Upload your inspiration photo, browse colors and save your projects to an online folder.  It also provides a great community and advice from bloggers and designers and how they go about their own color selection process.

Are you a new home owner starting over with a fresh palate or a home owner getting ready to list and need some staging help?  Give this site a try!

My Colortopia