Friday, April 18, 2014

Freshen up That Front Door ~ Tips for Selling a Home

Spring is making its way to the Alabama coast.  

Most folks notice all the green and pastel colors popping up.  Here at the beach, we notice all the vehicles loaded with vacation stuff on Gulf Shores Parkway, a very good thing.  As a tourist town, we thrive on visitors.  With the warmer weather, another season follows, real estate season {See Here}.  It's the time when many sell and purchase new homes.

With over 23 moves in my history, I can remember over half of those occurring in the first or last part of summer.  This means that we both sold and purchased within the spring to early summer months.  If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, I have lots of advice for you as I have been on both sides many, many times.  In this post, I will address the Selling side.  

One of the most important aspects of selling your home is to be able to receive as much value for it as possible without putting an excess of money back into the property that may not pay off in the end. There are several small steps you can take to increase the value of your home without a lot of time.  One of those steps involves your front door, no kidding. 

A home's entrance is crucial because it will be the first and often last impression left upon the buyer.  If your entry door's paint or stain is chipped or faded, a fresh new coat of paint or stain is an inexpensive way to increase value to your home.

Here is a list of what you may need and an estimate of the costs.
  1. A can of paint or stain   $30 - $75
  2. Tape                              $5 - $10
  3. A spatula to clean          $1 - $10
  4. Sanding paper                $1- $10
  5. Paint brushes or rollers   $5 - $20
  6. A roller pan                    $5 - $25
  7. Newspapers or plastic     free - $10
A single day, from early morning to evening, is usually a good time frame to plan for this project.  If the hardware of the door is tarnished, has a cracked surface, or is sticking, instead of replacing it, which can cost from $25 - $150, try this simple trick.
  1. Purchase a metallic spray paint that matches the hardware.
  2. Far away from the entrance, (or anything else for that matter), spray the metallic paint into a plastic cup or container, (a small amount at a time).
  3. Take a small artist's paintbrush and lightly touch up the hardware, (be sure to tape around it and test to match before covering it completely).
  4. WD40 works wonders when sprayed into keyhole, latch, and doorknob.
Lastly, a grapevine wreath with a simple bow ($10 - $25) makes a nice decoration.  In the picture below, this simple door decoration was made by my teenaged daughter.  

Supplies Included:
  1. 1 2x4 plank    $1                                   
  2. 2 small nails   $0.50 
  3. Hammer (You should have one of these, if not, borrow the neighbors)
  4. OR hot glue gun & glue sticks  $6 (Scratch this if you have a hammer or the neighbor's)
  5. Natural colored thick crochet yarn  $6
  6. A small grapevine wreath  $2
  7. A stem of flowers  $1
The plank was sawed into two pieces.  Those pieces were nailed in a cross position, but could have been glued.  The yarn wrapped in a single layer around the cross until it was completely covered.  The flowers were cut with long stems and woven into the grapevine.  A picture hook was attached to the back which was a thickly braided yarn piece.  We used our Christmas wreath holder to hang it in place.  

There are many ways to increase the appearance of your home without investing a lot of money into it.  A clean and picked up home only cost  time and energy, but sure goes a long way.  

Stop back for more tips.  Please share your experiences or leave a question if you have one, I'll do my best to answer it.  Wishing you well in your home selling or buying ventures this season and as always...

Thank you for stopping by.

Planning a move to the Alabama Coast ~ {Click Here} ~  for more information.

Friday, April 11, 2014

3 Creative Benefits of RELAXATION

A little peace and quiet can go a long way in boosting your CREATIVE Genius.


Studies have shown that taking time out of your day to turn off everything, allows your body to naturally relax.  Taking that time late in the evening before bed and saying no to media, actually helps the body prepare for sleep.  When your mind is racing, it interferes with the natural progression of falling to sleep. What can you do?


It is in the quiet times that some of your very best ideas can be found.  Taking a hot shower can actually help your brain produce dopamine.  Having a hobby promotes healthy brain stimulation that could prevent clinical signs of dementia.  Don't believe me?  Check out these guys who were taking it easy.


A daily walk can do more than relieve stress.  It can clear your mind and give you an opportunity to enjoy the beauty around you.  A walk in a park or around your neighborhood can spark new ideas or give you clarity from the drowning noises of the day. 
  • Robert Frosts' "The Road Not Taken," is a perfect example of what can happen on an outing.
  • Mark Twain's daily hikes along the mighty Mississippi provided tons of material.

Take a lesson from this kid.  When the tension builds up, rip up what's not working and have a do-over, (with a good attitude).

Some of my best ideas have developed while I was walking along the serene beaches of Gulf Shores late in the evening.

What are your favorite spots to relax?

As Always, Thanks for Stopping by

Warm & Fuzzy Comments Wanted

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Note to Self ~Rules for when you become a Published Author~

1.  Never let reviews rule you.  Write  what God gives you to write, then throw it into the soil. Let him grow it the way He wants to.  Negative comments can keep us from pride but like darkness can blot out the sun, they can steal away our confidence.  Never  listen to people over listening to God’s direction.  Positives can puff us up, and help set up idols in our hearts for ourselves. (Who wants to go through the chastisement of that?)

2.  Never for a moment think you have arrived.  Continue to listen to others, grow, press yourself to become better, never settle nor become the know-it-all.  Be kind to those who want or need your advice and never snob anyone, even if they snob you.  Remember you are writing for God alone and pleasing him is the only thing that matters.

3.  Be authentic and transparent.  Be yourself, laugh at yourself, don’t try to impress people or compare yourself to others.

4.  Engage with others.  Be interested in them, truly, ask them questions, get to know them, invest in other’s lives, build relationships, not a platform. (Remember the old ineffective and annoying strategy of LOUD commercials, LOOK at ME, LISTEN to ME, MEMEME... Wrong, wrong, wrong.)  It’s not about YOU, its about Them and how you can bless them for God.

5.  Be generous, gracious, and kind.  Go beyond what is expected of you, do something for your audience, don’t look for what You can GET, look for what you can GIVE.

6.  Turn marketing into be conversations.  Remember the stories older people would tell you when wanting you to do something, “I walked 5 miles in the snow, barefoot.”  Stories have an impact on people far greater than telling them to do something, “Follow me, share me, tweet this, comment here, buy my book.” It has to draw them into the experience with you where they become part of your story.   Instead engage your readers, “I’ve learned this, let me share it with you, Help me, Join me on the Journey, Let’s be friends.”

7.  Become meaningful and memorable. Leave an impression that lasts, a smile or an encouraging word that lingers and lifts the mood of those in your company.  When you impact the people within your sphere of influence, it begins a ripple effect.  When a stone is thrown into a lake, it hits a specific mark, but the ripples continue on until they bounce back from the shoreline to the place that they began.  Word of mouth is like this, the ripple effect carries farther than any other marketing tool you can use.

8.  Never disrespect your competition.  No matter how great they are or how horrible they treat you.  Your respect, especially toward a demeaning competitor, will grow a compassion for you while setting a high ethical standard that is very attractive in today’s dog-eat-dog world, plus it’s an attribute that God can and will bless unlike the opposite.

9.  Build meaningful relationships.  Use people’s name, look them in the eye, don’t interrupt, don’t always have the first say so, or talk the whole time.  Involve them, this is connecting with people, which lasts longer than building an image, name or product.

10.  Give people and yourself room to fail.  If you say something you didn’t mean or if others took it wrongly, don’t dwell on the negative, give the correct response and move on.  (I remember Kay Arthur telling a group at a Deeper Still event (in the Q&A segment) how painful it is to be totally misunderstood by something said or quoted out of context. She said, “If I somehow get my words wrong, haven’t we been together long enough for you to know my heart??” It hit me so powerfully.-Beth Moore)

11.  Make sure you know why you are writing and who you are writing to.  Ask yourself why would anyone want to read it, what will it do for them, does it increase value and worth to their life, change something for the better?

 Good leaders provide: insight, initiative, influence, direction, counsel, and integrity.

12.  Don’t frustrate your fan base.  Supervisors frustrate their employees by doing the following and this can be the same for your readers.  

DON’T: call too many meetings, (emails, tweets, blog posts, advertisements, etc). Don’t be late to your meetings.  Always be on time, (better yet, be there early and plan to stay later than expected).  DO: understand the work process and where each writer is in their career. Don’t expect them to understand everything you do, take the time to patiently walk them through anything they haven’t learned without talking down to them or ridiculing them.  BE: Responsive, interested, listen to their ideas and give their thoughts a chance.  They may be onto something really good.  DO: return calls, emails, letters, don’t brush away people and treat them like they don’t matter. (Remember when people did that to you and how bad it felt.) MAKE: time for everyone, make them feel special and give them attention.

13.  Be gracious to those who do not like you or are critical of who you are, what you look and sound like, what you believe, what you write, how you write, the characters you write about, the setting and plot that you write about.  

14.  Keep things in perspective when others say hurtful things, remember what’s important is God’s word in your heart and your obedience to what He’s told you to do.  Jesus, the perfect story teller, had many enemies, yet he rose from the grave and His stories still affect, move, and save trillions.  

15.  You’re not writing to please everyone and anyone, only those God gives to you, or impresses to read what you’ve written.  Always look for treasure, a word of wisdom that you can use in all the criticism, make good out of evil.  Never respond to a negative comment, but move on.  Never strive to please people, that’s a no-win situation.  Enjoy what you’re writing and the journey you’re on, otherwise find another career.

16.  Don’t force something when it’s on the verge of breaking something else, (your will, your heart, Your Sanity!).  Take time to relax, refocus, and possibly wait on God’s timing.  It may not be the project you are to work on, it may need to be reworked from a different angle, or it may be a distraction.  Either way, if you are at the point of forcing it and nothing is working, it’s time to back off.

17.  Always be moving forward, believe in what you’re doing, Say it out loud as many times as needed everyday!  Don’t let excuses stop you, find a new creative way to move forward, don’t spend time on perfect, do what it takes to push through, you can always go back, give room for mistakes,(they may actually be better than what you planned), move no matter how small or slow as long as you move, what’s the rush.

“Keep Moving Forward,” Walt Disney once summed it up. What if he would've given up at his dreams and stuck to driving an ambulance, see here.  And what about Charles Schulz? He was dubbed a failure, yet he persisted in his dreams.  Where would we be without the likes of Charlie Brown? see here.

And one of my favorite quotes that keeps me going comes from the lady of determination.
 Eleanor Roosevelt once said, 

Thanks again for stopping by!