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Showing posts from 2013

My Word of the Year (WOTY)

I noticed last week that several of my blogging friends were posting about their #WOTY.  It's not exactly the same idea as what you'd find named as the Word of the Year for say, 2013 (I've read that "Selfie" is the word of the year.)  It's our own personal theme, or special word that will be a focus, or reminder.  I remember certain years at work, some of my associates had goals prominently displayed on their desks as their motivation.  I'm all for that.  My desk has travel photos from France and a small artifact from Tuscany.

This isn't the same as a goal or motivation.  It's a reminder of what's important.  It took me all of 5 seconds (or possibly less) to pick mine.  It was on my wrist.

I come from a HUGE family.  You have no idea.  (But here's a clue - between both sets of grandparents, they had 20+ children!  I have A LOT of aunts & uncles, and an even larger number of cousins!!!)  I only know 2 other people who have bigger famili…

Missing: My Gardening Mojo

I've lost my gardening mojo…and my favorite soufflĂ© dish…and several other casserole dishes for that matter.  After many years of my bakeware not reappearing (if you happen to have them, I miss them and would love them back) I've given up hope on them.  My gardening mojo is another story.
There are two factors that fed into my disinterest in my garden.  The first was the discovery of snakes in there.  I seriously need to use a repellant of some type.  The second factor was not keeping a garden this  past Summer as we were away.  I did a Spring garden, which kept us eating lots of greens, asparagus, spinach and shallots.  Then we whisked away for the rest of the Connecticut growing season.  I came back to a jungle that even my intrepid neighbor was afraid to enter.  

Sadly, I have no interest in cleaning up the garden for Winter.  Not at all.  What a mess.
The (delicious in cocktails but highly invasive) mint has jumped another 4 feet into the garden, taking over a now 7x5 ft s…

The BHHS Transition

The big day we'd all been waiting for finally arrived a few weeks ago and our company, Prudential CT Realty is now officially Berkshire Hathaway Home Services New England Properties!  The company launch party at the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford, CT was SO MUCH FUN.


The more formal announcement part of the launch included a few words from Ron Pelletier, Earl Lee, and Candace Adams.  The part that caught me off guard, that really moved me, was how heartfelt and genuine their messages were.  I posted on Twitter, that when Earl Lee got choked up, I got choked up too.  Candace thanked us for trusting her as our leader.  It could have been the champagne talking, but I wanted to hug both of them.

Next about 1600 people enjoyed champagne, food & wine and mingled and celebrated!  It really was a party!  I would share more photos, but I don't have everyone's permission (not everyone wants to be shown with a glass of wine in their hands. I respect that.)

Honestly, it has bee…

...and My BIG Month Continues!!!

It turns out, September continues to be a BIG month for me.  For a few reasons:

My blog, even though I had to change the name (remember when I had to do that here) had an anniversary this weekend and I'm now in my 6th year!  6 years!  I'm pretty sure that calls for cheesecake.

Work is busy with several new clients and the return of a few old ones!  I was in direct competition with several other Realtors for a listing (the seller admitted interviewing several agents, and even called me back for a 2nd interview) and got the listing.  I also picked up new buyers who based their decision to work with me from their impression of me on this blog!

On the home front, my oldest child reaches double digits this month.  While that wasn't a surprise, becoming the host family to a 16 yr old Romanian exchange student was!  We had been asked to host him for 2 weeks at the beginning of school, and we were already completely attached to him when we were asked if we could continue to host …

My 14th Year in Real Estate and Big Changes!

This September is a BIG month for me!  Not only does this launch the beginning of my 14th year in real estate but there are big changes happening in my business.  Know what's crazy about that?  A kooky palm reader in Ogunquit, Maine predicted a big change in my company 8 months before we knew anything about it, and she had it down to the month!  (When she said it to me at the time, I didn't think twice about it, and I didn't believe anything else she said either.  Now I'm thinking a return visit to Ogunquit isn't such a bad idea.  Maybe she can tell me where the buyer is for a million dollar listing I've been hoping to sell!)

On September 25th, Prudential CT Realty is closing its doors, and reopening the next morning as Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - New England Properties.  Say that three times fast!

Yes, THAT Berkshire Hathaway.  Warren Buffet is my new boss, so to speak!  While there is always a little uncertainty in a time of change, there is such a po…
Have children, will travel!  Yes, we're doing it again, and I couldn't be happier to spend some real, quality time with my family while we embark on this year's European Summer Adventure.
"Look kids!  Big Ben, Parliament..."
I'll admit, it's not all sunshine & rainbows traveling with 2 young children.  There will be plenty of days when we need a little space to ourselves...when tired kids will whine and staying patient will be a challenge.
A lot of people ask how we do it.  The travel part.  For me, it takes a boat load of planning ahead to make things go smoothly.  Seriously - I spent a year on this next trip.  (It can be done with less time, of course, but we can only travel in the summer due to hubby's work.)  It's a whole different approach than the carefree days of college and pre-children travel when we'd come roaring into Bordeaux at 1am looking for a hotel room.  It's also much easier to plan thanks to the Internet and the hel…

GREEN Gifting Ideas

Recently someone in my office asked me for advice on gifts.  I always try to be thoughtful in my gift-giving, and it's no surprise I try to give GREEN in most situations.  There are hundreds of environmentally-friendly gift ideas out there.
Spring through Fall, the garden nursery or garden center is my favorite GREEN gift resource.  Here's my brief guide for various gifting situations:

Real Estate Closings
I've been known to give hydrangea bushes as a real estate closing gift to clients who told me they loved the blossoms, or would miss the beautiful hydrangea they'd planted at their old house. For houses with hooks on the front porch begging for plants, I've brought over beautiful hanging baskets. If it's off-season, I've provided a gift certificate to a local garden center so the new owners could purchase plants when planting season comes up.  In the Fall I've given bags of Spring bulbs to plant, along with bulb planters and garden gloves, or potted m…

The Bittersweet Week in Real Estate

It is said that Realtors are some of the happiest people.  It's really hard work, but it's a great gig.  The part I didn't expect though, was how bittersweet it can be.  After working hand in hand with clients for sometimes months, they're like family to me.  We share the ups & downs, we laugh over kooky houses, we drink coffee, I fall into gopher holes (do homeowners REALLY not know there's a big hole in their lawn?) we write contracts over wine & pizza, we race to see new listings, we pick ourselves up when deals fall apart, we stop the car & jump out when we realize we're covered in ticks from walking through someone's overgrown yard, I bring the flowers and we stage the photo shoot...

I just had one of those jam-packed weeks where I experienced the whole gamut of real estate ups and downs.  It was wonderful and exhausting all at once.  Two listings I'd loved having closed, and both sets of homeowners headed out of this area to start new …

On My GREEN Nightstand - The Upcycle

The stack of books on my nightstand keeps growing (to the point that I had to make 2 stacks - the bigger pile is on the lower shelf!)  It's an interesting mix though.  I love to read.  I wish I had more time to do so.

The GREEN book I'm reading is The Upcycle (Beyond Sustainability - Designing for Abundance) by William McDonough & Michael Braungart.

The book starts with this one statement, alone on a page:  "The goal of the upcycle is a delightfully diverse, safe, healthy, and just world with clean air, water, soil, and power - economically, equitably, ecologically, and elegantly enjoyed."  It is followed by a forward written by President Bill Clinton.

Though I did not read it's predecessor, Cradle to Cradle, the book takes the ideas from Cradle to Cradle as a foundation and builds on them, based on the experience of putting the ideas from the first book to work.  The premise is a simple idea, really, that can be used by each of us all the way up to big corpo…

The Little Village Gets a Charging Station...

East Hampton's historic village center is being put on the map again...the map of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Connecticut, that is.

Congratulations to our little town for:
1. Participating in the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge
2. Earning enough points/community rewards to get us a FREE EV (electric vehicle) charging station
3. Reviving the Clean Energy Task Force

The Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) Energy Challenge has 14 towns in CT participating and has been going on for about 3 years.  The goal is to get the residents to reduce their energy usage by 20%.  One of the ways people started getting involved was through Home Energy Solutions energy audits, like the one my family did in 2009.  (You can read about my energy audit here.)

By the way, on the leaderboard for participating towns, East Hampton ranks #7 out of 14!  Not too shabby.


Yesterday, July 26th, at 11am, I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Electric Vehicle charging station in the village center o…

It's Time for Farmer's Markets!!!

I'm a HUGE fan of shopping Farmer's Markets during the season for all of the things that I don't grow in my garden, and for some of the special things like freshly baked breads and artisanal cheeses.  Like you, I have favorites markets to visit, but I'm always open to trying out new ones.

This is a short video I really liked called How To Shop at a Farmer's Market and it was filmed here in CT at the Westport Farmer's Market.  Check out how creative their produce signs are!



How do you find the farmer's markets?  The State of Connecticut Department of Agriculture's 2013 brochure lists this year's "certified" Farmer's Markets, but there are many more that pop up without being on the list, as well as several special market events, like one of my favorites in the entire state, part of Old Lyme's Midsummer Festival, the Market En Plein Air.  (This year's festival is July 26 & 27.)

I've blogged about Farmer's Markets prev…

Rainy Day Realtor Realism

We're in for loads of rain the next few days as Tropical Storm Andrea hits the South (stay safe my friends!) but that doesn't stop me from going out to show properties in the rain!  This is what I wore to go show a condominium this morning in the pouring rain:



This is what I should have worn:

The place was beyond disgusting.  I'm still too traumatized to talk about it.  I had to go home to take a Benadryl and a shower afterwards.  The sellers had 2 full days notice that we were coming, but couldn't be bothered to pick up the the dirty laundry we had to step over to go up the stairs, or the cat poop on the floor.  I can't even tell you how bad it was.  2nd filthiest place I've ever shown.

Charter School + Urban Farm + Environmental Education Center = Awesome

This weekend, for No Child Left Inside's Great Park Pursuit, combined with CT Trails Day, my family ventured down to New Haven to the Common Ground High School, Urban Farm and Environmental Education Center.  Until last week, we had no idea there was a charter high school hidden in the woods in New Haven, or that New Haven even had any woods!


We were not disappointed with our choice of places to visit.  Common Ground was pretty amazing, and a school I would choose to attend if I had the choice.  Or maybe attend as a summer program. Which, by the way, they do offer.  They also have vacation camps, open farm Saturdays, and host special events such as birthday parties.


We enjoyed touring the gardens, hiking the trail to the summit of West Rock Ridge, visiting the chickens, turkey, ducks, goat & sheep, the greenhouses, peeking into the school building, and making our way up to Judges Cave.

I found the hike to be challenging because it was fairly steep, but there were children of …

CT Trails Day is This Weekend

When I saw the brochure at my local library - CT Trails Day Celebration - I was amazed at how many great events will be going on this weekend in over 150 of our state's 169 towns!  There are so many special events this year that they had to spread them out over the course of the weekend - so you have to fit at least one event into your busy schedule!  A little dose of nature does wonders after a stressful, busy week.  (Also it does wonders at calming me in the middle of a busy workweek when I can squeeze in a lunchtime hike through my local state forest with a friend!)

Some of the special events include: guided/nature/educational walks, oxen rides, geocaching, paddling (canoe & kayak), trolley rides, letter boxing, trail maintenance, picnic while listening to a jazz band, rock climbing, trail runs, biking, orienteering, educational walks, waterfall exploring, trail biking, horseback riding, beach walks, stand up paddle boarding, and of course, hiking.  Some require pre-regist…

Six Main in Chester, CT - Part I

I've been meaning to write about an outstanding vegan experience I had - sorry it's so late in coming!  It was the end of last August when some friends decided it was time to try out the new vegan/vegetarian/raw restaurant Six Main in the very quaint village of Chester, CT.  It was a Friday evening, end of the month, after a particularly hectic Summer of real estate, and hubby was taking the munchkins to fencing lessons.  I was IN!



The restaurant is situated in the 100 year old former Chester Savings Bank, so already it has character, and a dedicated parking lot.  As a farm to table restaurant, chef Rachel Carr creates dishes from food locally & organically grown in Old Lyme at Upper Pond Farm.  The menu is always changing to reflect what is in season, and sometimes they'll have a featured ingredient of the week and base the menu on that item.  The recent prix-fixe menus have been very interesting!  The restaurant also offers cooking classes, and I just learned from th…