Making the Most of a Winter Farmer’s Market

Winter’s chill is in the air and spring is still several weeks away, but there’s plenty to do in your hometown during the colder months including checking out a winter farmer’s market.

Traditional farmer’s markets usually run from early spring to late fall, but there’s a growing trend popping up in cities across the country: the winter farmer’s market.

Typically your local winter farmer’s market is held indoors, which means no matter the weather, you can still shop in comfort for your favorite offerings of the earth’s bounty.

Want to make the most of your next visit to a winter farmer’s market? Here’s what you need to know:

Manage Your Expectations

When strolling around your favorite farmer’s market during warmer months, you’re likely to find all sorts of bright, juicy fruits and beautiful growing plants. The purpose of a farmer’s market is to help connect local farmers and producers with the community, as a source of great seasonal offerings.

Your winter farmer’s market likely won’t have the same options as the markets held in spring and summer. This is mainly because those fruits and vegetables aren’t being grown or harvested during colder months.

Depending on the size of your market and where you live, it might not be possible to do all your grocery shopping at your neighborhood winter farmer’s market, but you should be able to check several items off your shopping list.

Think Outside the Box

Winter farmer’s markets are a great opportunity think outside the box, with regard to the produce you buy. There you may come across different varieties of your favorite fruits and vegetables, or different options altogether.

Take this as a chance to try something new! Never cooked with baby bok choy or purple potatoes? These are some delicious choices, and likely to be spotted at a winter farmer’s market.

And make sure you talk to the farmers or sellers about their wares. They are likely to be a wealth of free information for you. For example, if you usually cook with cilantro in the spring and summer, ask the farmer to recommend another herb you might try when it isn’t available.

Ask the farmer if he or she has a favorite way of preparing the veggies or a tip for making fruit last longer. This is your chance to talk directly with the expert about his or her produce.

Stock Up on Essentials

Whether you are a dedicated home cook or someone who just enjoys trying a new recipe every now and again, there are certain essentials that a well-stocked kitchen must have.

Often a winter farmer’s market is a great place to find things like local honey, spices and jams or preserves. It never hurts to have these pantry staples on hand. Plus, you’ll feel great knowing you are supporting the livelihood of local growers and producers.

Since these types of items are usually canned or dried, they have a longer shelf-life and will serve to be very useful for all your culinary creations until spring arrives.

You might also see cut flowers or winter plants. Depending on the type, winter is often a good time for planting. Some farmers also sell or swap their seeds, especially heirloom varieties, so make the most of this opportunity to stock up for your spring and summer garden.

Give the Gift of Local Made with Love

Winter farmer’s markets are often more than just farm fresh produce and things grown in the ground. There will likely be offerings and wares for sale by local artisans and makers.

From handcrafted jewelry and pottery to unique and one-of-a-kind art or woodworking, these selections make wonderful gifts for friends. Other items you might find include essential oils, handmade soaps and lotions, and natural cosmetics. Sellers will often allow you to sample their wares in order to see what you might like.

These are just a few ways you can enjoy a winter farmer’s market in your neighborhood. Before too long, spring will arrive with all its blooming beauty. But until then, it’s nice to know there are still some fun things to do to make the most of winter.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on February 13, 2018 at 9:52 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Farmers Market | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Spring Selling Checklist

 

With the early spring selling season kicking off shortly after the new year, it’s time to give your home the boost it needs to meet today’s buyers’ expectations. Take advantage of being inside during the cold winter months with these quick fixes that will help your property stand out from the competition, boost its value and sell quickly.

Family Room Staged by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Declutter & Organize

Start tackling one room at a time by packing up anything that will distract buyers from seeing the unique features of your property such as personal collections, family photos, newspapers, books and magazines. Rearrange and remove excessive furniture to simplify and make the room appear larger.

Make Basic Repairs & Updates

Make sure everything is in good working condition. Repair and replace broken light switches, bulbs, ceiling fans, door knobs, leaky faucets, shower heads, windows, thermostats, etc. Update lighting fixtures with contemporary styles and consider replacing older kitchen appliances with sleek, eco-friendly models to capture young buyer interest.

Bedroom Staged by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Refresh and Brighten With Paint

Remove wallpaper and cover bold wall colors with a fresh coat of neutral paint to set the perfect backdrop for simple, updated styling. Give older style kitchen cabinets or wood vanities an instant facelift by covering with bright white or dark espresso paint. Then pair with knobs and drawer handles in brushed nickel or satin brass for an elegant finishing touch.

Fresh Flooring

There is nothing that dates a room more that worn, soiled carpeting. Remove and/or replace carpeting to reveal hardwood flooring underneath to instantly brighten and make the room feel more spacious. There are also many budget-friendly, easy to install options on the market now for replacing damaged flooring such as laminate and vinyl that look and feel just like wood.

Mudroom Remodel by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Add Storage Options

Today’s buyers are looking for plenty of storage. Added storage solutions such as built-in bookshelves, window seats with storage underneath, entry storage units, and extra closet hooks and rods are a practical way to attract immediate buyer attention.

Partner With a Pro

Consult with a professional stager who will have an objective eye and knowledge of what appeals to today’s sophisticated buyers. They will provide a range of solutions for enhancing your home showings by recommending everything from furniture placement to wall color to complementary modern accessories to add clean, welcoming style.

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.

 

Patti Stern, principal, interior decorator and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full service home staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. Her company has received Houzz 2015, 2016 and 2017 Awards for Customer Service.

Patti has been featured in Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, Danbury News-Times and on NBC Connecticut and FOX TV.  She is a regular contributor to the National Association of Realtor’s Blog, “Style, Staged and Sold.”

For more information, contact Patti Stern at 203-640-3762 or patti@pjstagingdecorating.com

Posted on February 7, 2018 at 8:53 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Spring | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Coldwell Banker is Home To: Just One More

One more phone call. One extra mile. One more opportunity to lend a helping hand. Here is the story of a Coldwell Banker Brand Ambassador who always makes time for “just one more”.

Coldwell Banker Brand Ambassador Joycelyn Jaggers has a motto, and it is her North Star. You see, each day she wakes up with the goal of making a positive impact on the businesses of the brokers and agents she serves.

“If I take the time to do one more thing. I might be able to turn someone’s day around”, she says. Joycelyn does make a positive impact, and on more than just her book of business.

The latest installment of our “Coldwell Banker is Home To” video series highlights this exceptionally dedicated and talented professional who embodies the work ethic and commitment to service that makes Coldwell Banker a special place to hang your hat – and the world a much better place.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog
Posted on December 22, 2017 at 8:42 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: market trends, media, real estate, Real Estate Agent | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Special Delivery! How Video Cameras Can Help You Keep Track of Packages

As convenient as online shopping is for consumers, it’s even more convenient for package thieves.

 

Families are shopping online more than ever before, and for a good reason—the web allows every store to compete for your business with instant comparison shopping, and to deliver your hand-picked items straight to your doorstep with a few quick clicks. Who wants to fight through lines in a crowded department store when it’s so easy to shop from the couch?

As convenient as online shopping is for consumers, it’s even more convenient for package thieves. It’s not unheard of for homes that used to receive packages once in a blue moon to now receive deliveries on almost a daily basis (especially during the holiday season). This makes entryways and driveways prime targets for criminals who can slip on and away from your porch without a trace.

According to findings from a new Wakefield Research poll for Comcast, 3 in 10 Americans who live in houses or townhomes have been victims of package theft.  And 53% of Americans know someone who has had a package stolen from outside their home.

Thankfully, today’s smart security cameras can help you stay on top of every delivery and get those holiday packages safe and sound.

Outdoor Cameras

Battery-powered outdoor cameras from companies like Nest and Canary are a great way to stay on top of activity in your driveway. Manage them with a mobile app, and integrate all your connected devices through a smart home hub from your internet service provider, and you can receive instant alerts the moment a delivery truck rolls up. Most cameras offer motion-based recording that can help catch suspicious characters, and many offer powerful night vision sensors that can detect even the sneakiest thief when they think they’re imperceptible.

Indoor Cameras and Doorbells

When it comes to protecting your porch, indoor security cameras facing a window are a great option, as are products like the Ring video doorbell. Video doorbells offer live video and two-way talk, allowing you to verbally accept deliveries when you’re not at home, direct delivery people to leave boxes in a more conspicuous spot, or ward off “porch pirates” before they even have a chance to touch your packages.

For a comprehensive solution, you can integrate your cameras, doorbell and lights into a full-home security system with professional monitoring, protecting your home, inside and out, 24/7.

Whichever devices you choose, mount them so that they’re visible to deter nefarious activity. Angle the cameras so that they’re sure to capture the image of any faces. That way, if the worst does happen, you’ll have a high-quality recording to hand over to law enforcement officers.

Don’t let your online shopping habit turn into a magnet for crime this holiday season. Keep an electronic eye on your front door, and ensure that your holiday packages arrive safely.

Eric Murrell is a software developer and technology contributor to XFINITY Home. He enjoys sharing tips on how people can benefit from incorporating smart home automation and security in their homes on his blog At Home in the Future.  

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on December 21, 2017 at 10:50 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Alexa, Apps, real estate, video | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Key Questions to Ask When Choosing a Real Estate Agent

Whether you’re buying or selling, working with a real estate agent is an essential part of the process. But before choosing an agent to work with, there are a few key questions to ask to determine if their expertise & marketing tactics are right for you — and your home.

So, how do you know if when you’ve found “the one?” Consider asking these questions that cover everything from an agent’s experience to marketing plans, track records of success and staging tips. Armed with these answers, you can be confident that you’re choosing a real estate professional that fits your needs.

In this episode of NBC Open House, Tim Murray of Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber & Wendy Walker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage share their must-asks.

To find the right agent for you, visit coldwellbanker.com.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on December 20, 2017 at 9:24 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: first time buyers, real estate, Real Estate Agent, research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Carve Out a Personal Retreat for Yourself at Home

The holidays are always a stressful season filled with family and friends and loaded with work and travel obligations. Having a personal haven at home to unwind and restore your mind, body and soul is key to staying sane and on top of it all. Even if you’re renting or moving soon, it’s important to have a space to de-stress on busy days. Make the most of your nooks and crannies at home with these ideas for a rejuvenating retreat.

Set Your Focus and Intentions Upfront

Decide what’s most important to you and what you want to achieve in these personal sessions. It doesn’t have to be an ambitious goal; a simple wish to rest is perfectly valid. Alternatively, you can use this time for spiritual exploration or to work on your craft. Jot down your thoughts in a journal before, during and after the experience, and keep it nearby to reflect on in future sessions.

 

Make it Yours

However nice a personal corner is, it won’t mean much unless you can connect with it on a deeper level. Place special mementos around the area that are extremely significant and meaningful to you. These could be pictures of your loved ones and favorite places, or trinkets you’ve collected throughout your life and travels. Store a couple of your favorite books nearby, light candles, start an aromatherapy diffuser and brew a hot pot of herbal tea to add to the ambience – whatever speaks to your heart.

 

Turn on the Tunes

The right music has the power to immediately energize or stabilize your mood and take you to a place of idyllic tranquility. Before indulging in a personal retreat session, put together a playlist of your personal soundtrack or download a relaxing podcast. Invest in a white noise machine to set the mood if words are too distracting to you.

 

Layer it Up

If the only free space you have left is a spare corner of a room, don’t fret. Turn it into a cozy comfort zone by adding as many pillows and throws as your heart desires. They will immediately warm up any space and serve up a whole lot of style. Winter is the perfect season to snuggle up with lots of layers, especially if your retreat space ends up being your bed, as many are.

 

Practice Meditation or Yoga

Once you’ve set up your space and are all ready to go, you may begin to think “now what?” and you certainly aren’t alone. Having moments of silence are key to self-reflection but can also get boring fast. A wonderful way to combat this is to set up an activity such as meditation or yoga that keeps you focused while also allowing for room to unwind and relax. Lay down a yoga mat and get started with a couple of beginner stretches.

 

Go Outside

If your home is simply too stuffy, step outside for a breath of fresh air. Bonus points if you have a lush garden to retreat to. Hang a hammock or set up camp beneath a shady tree for a place to call your own. Being surrounded by greenery and basking in natural sunlight will immediately elevate your mood and induce relaxation. Furry friends are always welcome too, like the cat seen on this Australian patio.

 

 

If you’re in a highly urbanized neighborhood, you can still reap Mother Nature’s benefits by taking a stroll to a nearby park. If you’d rather keep it all indoors though, pull up a chair near a sunny window and add a few low-maintenance houseplants. Succulents are great for first-timers and come in a variety of eye-catching arrangements. This welcome addition of life amidst the bleak winter landscape will keep you happy and healthy this season.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on December 18, 2017 at 10:43 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: decorating, real estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

DIY Ideas to Make Your Home Feel Bigger—Without Construction

 

Breaking down walls and renovating an entire space is not only time-consuming, but it’s also expensive and, in most cases, requires the help of professionals. Luckily, you don’t have to do major construction to make small spaces feel bigger.

If you’re not up for knocking down walls, focus on small DIY projects that can make your home feel bigger, the following of which are perfect for every homeowner, regardless of skill level or budget. From lighting to ceiling paint, consider how you can open up the space in your home without a sledgehammer and construction team.

Paint the Ceiling

The ceiling and trim have just as much an impact on the look and feel of the room as your furniture, yet they’re easy to overlook when painting. To open up your home without construction, consider how you can tie your ceiling and trim into the rest of the room:

“Homeowners typically leave the trim and ceiling white in their living rooms when painting. Since the trim and ceiling both have as much impact as the walls, it’s important to tie them in with the rest of the space, otherwise they’ll stand out too much,” says Brian Patrick Flynn with HGTV. When your ceilings stand out, the size of the space immediately feels smaller.

Flynn’s suggestion for choosing the best paint colors: “A smart way to use one color consistently throughout a common area is to choose a slightly lighter shade than the wall color for the ceiling and a slightly darker shade for the trim.” Talk with your local hardware or paint store to find the lighter shades that match with your current paint, or start over with a whole new color scheme.

Make it Brighter

A dark room always feels smaller, and this is an easy DIY fix: let in the light, as Coral Nafie, blogger for The Spruce, suggests: “Any room will look larger if it’s well-lit, either by natural light or artificial lighting. Get rid of heavy draperies and open up the windows to let the light of the outdoors into the space.” A few more ways to bring more light into the room include:

  • Sheer drapes
  • Ceiling lighting
  • Replace lamp shades with lighter colors or none at all

If the space has no windows at all, consider the costs for installing one or a few, depending on the size of the room. Take the DIY route and follow this tutorial from This Old House.

Convert the Basement

If you already have a finished, insulated basement, the next step is to turn it into a space where people want to spent time. When you do, your home suddenly feels bigger because you have an entirely new room to use. This added area is great for you now and is will be helpful if you’re thinking of selling soon as well:

“All buyers want the maximum amount of living space they can get for their budget. Converting your basement into a living space is a great way to add additional square footage without having to build anything onto the house,” according to Which Home Improvements Add the Most Value to Your Home.

This DIY project doesn’t have to happen in one weekend. Instead, reduce the stress and cost by making upgrades slowly, over the course of 1 to 2 months. Install carpeting or update the flooring, followed by adding furniture and then some artwork on the walls. Final touches can be added as you find fun items or inspiration strikes.

Enjoy More Space

These simple projects will help you create the bigger home you’d always wanted. Instead of knocking down walls, tackle each project one-by-one for a budget-friendly, hassle-free upgrade. As you play with paint colors, lighting and more, you may even be inspired to tackle more fun DIY projects, and you can get some fun ideas here.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on December 13, 2017 at 12:21 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: color, decorating, Paint, real estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Secrets to Selling: Tips from Real Estate Insiders

Coldwell Banker Real Estate professionals weigh in on what you need to know when navigating the real estate process.

Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you will ever make. And if you’re selling for the first time, there’s so much you need to know, it can often be overwhelming.  To uncover some of the insider secrets, we turned to Coldwell Banker Real Estate professionals to weigh in on what you need to know, whether you need help selecting the right real estate agent, or are looking for tips on how to market your property.
In this recent episode of NBC Open House, Coldwell Banker Real Estate professionals Dave Bunker with Coldwell Banker Howard Perry & Walston in Cary, NC and Angel Piontek with Coldwell Banker Elite in Fredricksburg, VA share their best tips for navigating the real estate process.
To find a real estate professional in your area, visit coldwellbanker.com.
Source: CB Blue Matter Blog
Posted on November 21, 2017 at 9:31 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Bidding, Bidding War, Homeowners, real estate, Sellers Market, selling, staging | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Very Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner!

 

Get your game on with a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner! Thanksgiving dinner in Northern California can be more traditional than typical, as many locals will have wild game on their tables on November 23.

Target Your Turkey

Turkey hunting is not just a sport for people who live in the great Nor-Cal area. Once turkey season is open, the forests and ranges are alive with hunters looking for their Thanksgiving turkey. Turkey season is open November 11 to December 10.

Open Range to the Oven Range

Wild turkey is very different from a bird purchased at the grocery store. The breast is much smaller and the legs are longer. The taste is much the same, but if the turkey is old, it can be tough and gamy. Picking the right bird for your traditional Thanksgiving dinner is determined by your experience. Recognizing the difference between a young turkey and an old one is learned from trying to chew the wrong choice a few seasons. Hunters who are true sportsmen always eat the game they take; this is a standing rule here in the North State.

The Call of the Wild

Turkey hunters all have their favorite “call.” Some hunters can imitate a turkey with a certain whistle they do with their tongue. Most hunters prefer a store-bought turkey call. Once tested and found to be irresistible to turkeys, the call goes into the hunters gear and used for years after.

A Healthy Experience

Hunting for a turkey for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner table is for many people preferable to choosing one in the grocery store meat department. Wild turkeys have free range, they have had no hormones to plump them up, and unlike store bought turkeys, there are no additives. Yes, the ones at the store are guaranteed and there are hundreds to choose from. There’s no need to go out in the cold, sitting and calling for hours unless you truly do want a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

This year, it is estimated that over 20,000 hunters will try to bag their bird, but only 10,000 will be successful. There will still be lots of sales at the super market.

If you think you’d like the experience of going out in the woods, trying your talents on a turkey call, and choosing the right bird, make sure to get your hunting license first. You will also need an upland game bird stamp. Both can be purchased from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on November 20, 2017 at 11:22 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: cooking, real estate, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Smart Home Tech That Makes Holiday Hosting Easy

Save time, energy and frustration by using smart home tech the next time you host family and friends for a holiday meal!

Guest post by June Lawrence

Whether your holiday entertaining features casual cocktail parties, full-fare, sit-down meals, or an open house for friends and neighbors – you can save time, energy and frustration with the latest home tech solutions that make holiday hosting easy. Smart home automation trends have made steady inroads in domestic consumer goods, home automation, and wireless entertainment market sectors, with expectations to surge beyond $3 billion in 2017.

Basic smart home tech starts with voice-controlled devices, wireless sensors, and semi-artificial intelligence platforms changing the way we entertain, work, and interact. These can reduce and help with chores that eat up your time and energy when hosting during the holidays. Whether you are menu planning, grocery shopping, stocking the bar, notifying attendees, or cleaning, there’s an app – or smart gadget to the rescue.

Holiday Shopping Helpers

Holiday menu shopping has never been simpler with The Shopping Button. As you scrutinize the pantry, use the voice recognition and recording features to create your holiday grocery list on-the-go. If this year’s holiday feast and lavish delicacies are a budget-buster, use this gadget to save money by scanning barcodes at your local, premium marketplace. Then connect and download your selections online for price comparisons and fast order placement.

New low-profile robotic vacuum cleaners include many updated features. Precise control directly from your smartphone takes care of last-minute clean-up or tidying between guest functions. Not only can you clean low-pile carpet or hardwood floors with a preprogrammed, recurring schedule, these labor-saving vacuums also dock and clean themselves.

Preparing the Kitchen

Smart home and kitchen automation systems are possibly the greatest application of smart technology for worry-free holiday hosting. Kitchen appliances that mate with a wide array of on-demand applications monitor and provide continuous feedback while preparing holiday dishes and desserts.

Smart kitchen appliances equipped with on-board intelligence, high-powered thermometers, and digital sensors tell you when to stir, flip, or add ingredients – like the pantelligent. Cook fast or slow, but cook smart with pressure cookers and crock pots monitored and controlled via smartphone.

For those with a bigger budget, consider swapping outdated kitchen appliances for new, connected cooking versions. A smart home hub provides seamless connectivity for multiple appliances; such as refrigerators that automatically send restock messages and smart ovens for perfect holiday pies. According to HomeAdvisor, the national average cost for a home automation system is about $1,200.

Cooking the Main Dish

Presenting the perfect Thanksgiving turkey or a succulent Christmas ham can be worrisome. Consider a smart thermometer with presets for all types of meats and weights to take the anxiety out of over or undercooking the holiday bird. You’ll always know the temperature of your food and exactly when it’s done. The key is a Bluetooth connection to your phone and easy-to-use, icon-based apps.

Party Planning

Large parties, especially those held at an off-site venue, often require the same planning and coordination as small corporate events. Consider party planning appsthat feature automated email invitations; interactive, step-by-step mixology videos, and helpful reminders at every stage of your event planning timeline.

Serving Spirits

And not to worry, you can always keep the holiday cheer pouring with an Internet-connected wine cooler. Within 30 seconds, internal cameras will scan wine labels to correctly identify and chill each bottle independently and at the perfect temperature.

Even sensor-driven kitchen fixtures lend a helping hand with liquid refreshments. Taps that deliver steaming hot water on command or touchless faucets that turn off and on with hand gestures are quick plumbing installations that cost between $90 – $500.

Lighting Design

For the perfect finishing touch to a great holiday party complete the holiday ambiance with lighting. Consider installing the Phillips Smart Hue line of wireless and smart lightbulbs. Go from warm white exposure for casual conversation to a holiday-inspired scene for singing, dancing, and drinks. Smart lighting is also a great way to establish different moods throughout the home for an array of holiday entertaining or age groups.

Why spend the holidays frantically keeping up with all there is to do when smart home tech can lend an extra set of eyes, ears, and hands for trouble-free holiday hosting!

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

 

 

Posted on November 16, 2017 at 3:57 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: cooking, grill, real estate, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,