When Your Flippin’ Dreams Start to Become Reality

When I received my real estate license almost 3 years ago one of the first dreams I remember having about success in my new career was to flip houses with my Dad.  I’m sure the dream was rooted in his inspiring me to pursue real estate to begin with and our Daddy daughter trips to the job sites when he was flipping houses in 2008 when the market crashed.  My dad was flippin’ houses before HGTV made it cool. During those few years where new construction was in the tank, my Dad flipped around 50 houses to help our family survive. Perhaps it was those not so fond memories that gave him hesitation all this time.

Timing and another piece of the puzzle

Of course, waiting is frustrating for anyone…especially a millennial like me who has always lived in an instantaneous world of microwaves, instant messaging and ask Google for the answer.  Even though I had my mom on my side, we hadn’t been able to convince my Dad.  She encouraged me to trust that God’s timing is always perfect and she asked me a question. “What other skills do you need in order to live out your dream?” The thoughts had already been circling around in my brain – an interior design degree.  So, I jumped in with both feet and am excited to be graduating Design School in March of 2018 (two more semesters -but really who’s counting?).

Many of my friends assumed I was changing careers when I announced I was going to school for interior design.  However, that was never the case.  In fact, the whole purpose of the degree is so that I can help my real estate clients on a whole new level.   Buying and selling a home is so much more than just sticking a “for sale” sign in the yard.  Clients make their decisions on an emotional level thinking about how their families will live and function in the space, does it match their personalities and their dreams of what family life for them looks like. Adding the interior design piece of the puzzle allows me to help them turn their vision into reality.

The pieces of the puzzle were coming together. Meanwhile, my pursuit to convince my Dad to flip houses with me was not working out for me.  And out of nowhere things took a positive turn in the direction I had been dreaming about. A phone call from a prospective buyer came in. Someone had shared my monthly Wide Open Spaces newsletter with them.

The dream begins to come together

Little did I know that phone call was the first step to fulfilling the goal I had set to flip houses with my Dad.  The buyer was looking for a home in Buckingham on 10 acres or more. The dream was happening and I didn’t even know it yet. My Dad and I were about to get to work together in a BIG way. The buyer decided to buy, not one home but two homes on a 10-acre estate.  And both homes needed a ton, I mean a TON of work.  The first home renovation is getting some final touches and I can’t wait to share more details with you. And the second home is underway as well scheduled to be completed at the end of August.

Yep that’s right just one phone call and my dreams to help clients – buy, remodel, sell – has become a reality.  Whether you are looking for help to design your current home, desiring to turn an old home in a prime location into your dream home or just looking to flip homes for financial gain, me and my team (Daddio – general contractor and myself – realtor + designer) are your one stop shop for making those dreams come true.

I love working with my dad so much..enjoy a couple pictures of us working together! 🙂

 

flip 2
Whitewashing a fireplace in a Flip house!
flip
Adding back-splash to mine and Zack’s beautiful 80’s kitchen. 😉

I am creating my website and some other exciting things that you will soon learn about – so stay tuned! 😊

11 Tips for a Successful First Garden

1. Start Small

I know, you want to feed your family all summer long. Or you want to preserve food for the winter. Or you want to try every single seed from the catalogs. Trust me, if you start out with a huge garden you will get overwhelmed.If this is your first year gardening, take it slow. Plant a few tomatoes and peppers. A small herb garden. Some beans and lettuce. Maybe some onions. Get used to how certain plants grow and their needs. Try out something like Square Foot Gardening to grow a lot of food in a smaller space.Keep your small plot weeded, watered and pest-free. If all goes well this first year, you can expand just a bit more the following year.

2. Plant what you eat [mostly]

Do you love fresh tomatoes and tomato sauce? Is salsa your thing? Then tomatoes should definitely be on your to-grow list. Are potatoes detested by the entire family? You might want to skip them. If you only use peppers in salsa and the occasional stir-fry or soup, 1 or 2 plants is probably enough.That being said, homegrown food is always better. Have you tasted a pea straight from the garden? There is no comparison to the bland store-bought varieties. Especially in the case of picky kids, growing your own, and letting them help, will help them expand their palate  and introduce new foods. Gardening is also an excuse to build up your own tastes.Your menu might never include kale, cabbage or chard- unless it’s right outside your door begging to be used. Once you have your gardening legs under you don’t be afraid to try a few new things!

3. Plant to your climate

Knowing your zone is one of the most important parts of gardening. It will determine what you can plant and when. If you live in a colder northern climate you will have to pick more cold-weather crops and short-season varieties of all the others.If you live in an area that stays warm much of the year you will plant your warm season veggies much earlier than much of the country. When choosing your seeds, pay attention to how many days it will take to mature as well as what growing zone it is best suited for.

4. Pay attention to Plant Spacing

I know many home gardeners- myself included- that try to squish as many plants in an area as possible in the name of conserving space and making room for more plants. This is not the best practice as it tends to invite more pests and disease into your garden as well as having plants that are not as strong and healthy since they will be competing for light and space.You can usually get by with somewhat smaller spacing than seed packets tell you, but make sure that each plant has ample nutrients and sun. You can also use vertical gardening techniques to conserve space.

5. Use Mulch

I don’t know any true statistics, but I would think that weeds are the #1 gardener frustration. They grow fast and can choke out your plants in a matter of days. Weeding should be done daily, but if you don’t want to spend hours and hours on your knees pulling weeds, mulch can be your best friend! Mulching your plants will help to choke out the weeds as well as protect from soil loss and retain moisture. You have a lot of choices when it comes to mulch- from wood chips or grass clipping to straw or plastic. You can use one or all sorts of different mulches, but get that soil covered!

6. Write it down!

Don’t rely on your memory when it comes to the garden. Keep a journal- sketch out your garden so that you can rotate crops next year, keep a list of pests you fought, of what did well and what didn’t, and any other thoughts that might help you.Also make sure to label you plants in your garden. Some seeds are slow to germinate and you might forget that a plot was already planted. It is also helpful to label different varieties so you can begin to keep tract of which do best in your garden- there is no sense in wasting money on seeds that never produce well!My Yearly Gardening Planner is perfect for keeping track of everything- from you seed inventory to planting dates to disease and pest problems.

7. Learn your plants. And your Weeds.

There is nothing quite like tending a tiny little corn seedling for weeks until it blossoms into a lovely shoot of grass! It is helpful to become familiar with what certain plants look like as seedlings- so that you can pull the weeds and not the plants.It is equally as helpful to know your weeds as small shoots and seedlings so that you are cultivating plants not weeds.

8. Amend your soil.

Healthy soil makes healthy plants. Your soil is the most important part of your garden- poor soil will not produce much more than unhealthy plants. Before starting your garden each year make sure you amend the soil with well-rotted manure or compost.Feed your soil and plants throughout the year with manure, compost tea or Epsom salts. At the end of the season top your beds with chopped leaves or sow a cover crop that will provide some green manure for the following year. Your plants can tell you a lot of about the condition of your soil.

9. Be Prepared for Pests.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can just plant your garden and let Mother Nature take care of the rest. There will be pests and you will have to do something about them if you want your plants to survive.
Read up on companion planting and other organic measures of garden pest control. Be prepared to get up close and personal with the insect pests and pick them off! But remember, a few bug holes in your kale or tomatoes never hurt anyone. Cut off the offensive part of the produce and eat up! For further reading, check out my post on using Companion Planting to Control Pests Naturally.

10. Don’t forget the flowers.

Unless you have a garden full or greens and roots, you will need pollinators to help your garden grow to it’s potential. Planting flowers around your vegetable beds- and in them too- will help draw in bees and other pollinators as well as beneficial insects that will help you fight your garden pests. Plus they are beautiful, smell wonderful, and make a room and yard that much more cheerful!

11. Water when needed

Water is just as important as healthy soil. Too much water can cause disease in plants- and too little- well they just won’t grow. Most plants need a deep watering at least once a week, so if Mother Nature doesn’t take care of it you will need to step up to take the job.
Just remember that it is best to water the base of the plants as opposed to from above, so using a drip hose or irrigation is better than a sprinkler that sprays water through the air. Watering early is the morning or in the evening is best to minimize water loss from evaporation.

Source: 11 Tips for a Successful First Garden – The Free Range Life

Strawberry Pineapple Mojito

INGREDIENTS:

4 limes, cut into wedges

8 strawberries

1 bunch mint, tough stems removed

4 tablespoons sugar

6 ounces pineapple juice

6 ounces light rum

*2 cups club soda

DIRECTIONS:

1.  For each cocktail, muddle 3 lime wedges, 2 strawberries, 1 tablespoon mint leaves and 1 tablespoon sugar in a cocktail shaker until lightly crushed.

2. Stir in pineapple juice, rum and club soda.

3. Serve over ice, garnished with remaining lime wedges, if desired.

Source: Strawberry Pineapple Mojito – Damn Delicious

Fourth of July Pool/Garden Orbs

Supplies

Makes six pool/garden orbs

2 red balloons

2 blue balloons

2 white balloons (Amazon has a nice pack of Red, White & Blue Balloons for cheap)

6 submersible tea lights (*The Dollar Store sells the battery operated non-submersible tea lights at 2/$1. They are slightly larger, but may also work in this application since the lights don’t actually get wet….haven’t tested this though, so not sure if you could fit it in the balloon)

Directions

First, twist your tea lights to the on position. Then, stretch the opening of each of your six balloons and pop one tea light into each balloon.

Blow up the balloon to the desired size. I wanted mine to be more round and less oblong, so I didn’t fill mine up to maximum capacity.

You may need to tilt/shake the balloon to ensure that the tea light is facing up. The added bonus of using these tea lights is that they have a bit of weight to them, so they ensured that the orbs would stay right side up, and that the tied end of the balloon stayed under water (or in the dirt).

Float the orbs in the pool. Alternatively, you could scatter them around the garden if you don’t have a pool.

 

Source: Fourth of July Themed DIY Pool/Garden Orbs – Beckham + Belle

7 Food Scraps That Are Perfect for Your Garden

 

1. Egg Shells

Egg shells are rich in nutrients like calcium, so they are perfect for adding a calcium boost to your soil. You can stir the ground up egg shells directly into the soil where they will break down further, or just toss them into your compost bin. Roses especially love egg shells, and slugs hate them! They truly are a wondrous item to use in the garden.

2. Citrus Peels

Citrus peels can be tossed around the garden for butterflies and bumblebees to feed on. They will love the sweet treat and it will help them get the energy they need to pollinate. They can also be tossed into compost bins where they will break down and add vitamins to the soil.

3. Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds (used) can literally change the quality of your soil. You can dump the grounds into your compost bin, stir it in around the base of the plants, or sprinkle it into your container gardens. You can also water down leftover coffee and pour it into the soil for the same effect. It will add acidic matter to the soil which can be quite beneficial.

4.  Used Tea Bags

Don’t toss those used tea bags! The nutrients found in the remaining grounds can be beneficial to your garden as well. You can toss the entire tea bag into your compost bin, or tear it open and sprinkle the grounds directly into soil or around the plant.

5. Stale Bread and Cereal

You might think that no one wants your stale bread and cereal, but your garden does! These items can be buried into the soil where they will feed earthworms, or break them up and add them to your compost bin and they will work wonders. In the compost bin any crawlers you add are going to dine on them, and give them energy to do their job.

6. Banana Peels

Banana peels are so rich in potassium, which is just what your garden needs. You can bury banana peels directly into the soil or add them to your compost bin. Chop them up into smaller pieces so they break down quickly and get to work faster.

7. Old Herbs and Spices

If your fresh herbs go bad or your spices expire, don’t just toss them in the trash. These items can be added to your composting or directly to the soil where they will feed the matter with their nutrients. They can also help repel bugs that you don’t wish to be near your compost or plants.

 

While these kitchen scraps can work wonders in your garden, here are a few you should never use: Meat scraps or cheese scraps. You will not only get a horrible smell from your compost bin, but you will also attract flies and other critters which is no good. Instead, opt for the items mentioned above.

Source: 7 Food Scraps That Are Perfect for Your Garden

4th of July Bark

Ingredients

  • 1 pound white melting chocolate, white chocolate chips or almond bark.
  • ½ pound red candy melts
  • ½ pound blue candy melts
  • Various red, white and blue candies and sprinkles

Instructions

  • Line a 9×13 pan with foil
  • In a microwave safe bowl melt the white chocolate in 30 second intervals, until melted, stirring as you go.
  • Carefully spread the white chocolate down the bottom of your lined pan.
  • Melt the red candy melts in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals, until melted, stirring as you go.
  • Melt the red candy melts in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals, until melted, stirring as you go.
  • Dollop the red and blue chocolate all over the white chocolate.Using a butter knife gently swirl the red and blue chocolate into the white creating a pretty marbleized pattern.
  • Top the chocolate with your candies and sprinkles.
  • Let set until fully hardened. You can refrigerate to speed up the process.
  • Remove bark from pan by lifting edges of the foil.
  • Break into pieces and serve.

Source: 4th of July Bark

31 Clever Ways To Decorate Your Outdoor Space

1. Start from the bottom: cover up the concrete floor.

  • Many hardware stores sell interlocking deck tiles that you can then lay out to fit the square footage of your space.

2. Or if wood is not your style, treat a table cloth with a water-based polyurethane to make an outdoor rug.

  • Maybe it’s not the most durable of all outdoor rugs, but it is certainly one of the least expensive.

3. Crochet an outdoor rope rug out of colorful polypropylene rope.

  • There isn’t really a pattern for this, it’s just a super basic crochet stitch using a durable material

4. Turn crates into cheap, cozy seating.

  • You can find inexpensive ones at hardware stores and craft stores. To make sure they’re rain-resistant, treat them with a weatherproof stain, and if they feel unstable, screw in a few corner braces.

5. You can also turn crates on their end for handy end tables.

6. Put together a super simple bench with cinder blocks and 4x4s.

7. Freshen up the furniture you already have by giving it a fresh coat of exterior paint.

  • Yes, the cushions too

For the other clever ways to decorate your outdoor space visit: https://www.buzzfeed.com/nataliebrown/someday-my-porch-will-come?utm_term=.wb2DVv959#.uhWja5kOk

 

Source: 31 Clever Ways To Decorate Your Outdoor Space