Karen Lawley's Blog
The holiday season is possibly one of the most beautiful seasons of the year. Besides the fact that the year is winding down, there’s a simplistic joy that hovers in the air. If you’re wondering how to bring the magic of the holidays into your new home, here are a few easy tips to follow:
A Few Basics
The most iconic holiday decoration is the evergreen tree. From fir to spruce to pine, real to synthetic, green to multi-colored, there is no mistaking that it's time for the holidays when you see one. However, you’ll want to ensure that you choose a tree that is the right size for your space. Be sure to take into account the placement of the tree and any additions that you may have added to your walls and ceilings such as ceiling fans or crown molding to ensure your tree doesn’t get caught or misshapen by the extra features.
If you’re keeping decorations to a minimum, for that simplistic highlight, be sure to plan where you want the decorations to go. If you’re hanging lights, make sure that you have the right type of lights and a long enough cord to ensure ease of use. A cord that is pulled too taught could result in the lights being pulled from the hooks or pins holding them up.
Adding a few knickknacks? Try using bookshelf ledges, fireplace mantels or window sills to incorporate your figurines, small trees, candle holders or other holiday trinkets to add a little extra flair to your space. Be sure these areas are away from small hands or wagging tails if you have others living in the home with you. Likewise, if it’s a solitary affair or your housemates happen to be older, try to avoid placing these items anywhere that they may be kicked or stumbled over.
Entertaining this holiday season? Adding small pieces such as table runners or a nice centerpiece made from holly or other seasonal plants may be just the thing you need. If you fancy a more traditional spread, try using a tablecloth with small pieces of garland around the backs of the chairs to delight your guests.
Having a cozy get-together? A quick run to the craft store could give you just the right amount of oomph. Get a few white coasters, garnish them with small blue and silver tinsel and place them around your coffee table. You could use a small tree or gift wrap a small, empty box and use it as your centerpiece with the coasters around it. Add a few trays for warm drinks and a little added protection for your furniture.
No matter what your style is this holiday season, you’ll be able to enjoy it in the comfort of your home with these simple tricks.
Boston, with its rich history and cultural scene, is a city that can easily take a week to explore. So what can you do if you have just one day to experience its wonders? While you won’t be able to see it all, there are some must-see attractions that you can work into a day. Here’s what you’ll want to do.
Focus on Downtown
Downtown Boston is where its oldest, history-rich neighborhoods are, so this is where you’ll want to spend your time. This is also where the museums and art galleries are. You may want to decide just a couple of things to see and experience, depending on your preferences. However, if you’re wanting to see as much of the city as possible, focus your efforts on the historic sites downtown.
Start with the Freedom Trail
The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile-long red line that takes you past some of the most historic sites in the city. It can take all day to walk and experience the Freedom Trail, but you can focus on the first two-thirds of the trail if you wish to see other things as well. Start your journey at Boston Commons, and pick up a Freedom Trail pamphlet from the Boston Common Visitor Information Center. This trail will take you through several of Paul Revere’s historic sites, as well as other important pieces of Boston’s history.
Do Your Shopping
You’ll want to grab a souvenir or two on your trip. During your walk down the Freedom Trail, end at Faneuil Hall, where you can find plenty of shopping options. Among those are Quincy Market, which is the hall’s food court. You’ll find a lot of excellent meal or snack options to grab-and-go as you continue your exploration of the city.
Grab Some Coffee
If you’re getting a little tired at this point, head to Hanover Street, which is known for its many coffee houses. Bag an espresso and a fresh-baked pastry, and see the historic buildings of the city’s North End while you indulge.
Head to the Waterfront
Now you’re ready to see the waterfront. Walk from the North End to the harbor, and jump on a ferry ride from Long Warf to Charlestown and back. You’ll also have the option to tour the New England Aquarium or the Institute of Contemporary Art in this area. This will finish out your day, and you will end at the perfect spot to pick up some fresh seafood for dinner.
You can’t fully experience Boston in a day, but you can get a good taste. With this itinerary, soak in many of the most important parts of the city and get a feel for its history and culture before your travels take you elsewhere.
If you're on the fence about whether to attend an open house, there is no need to worry. Ultimately, it is always better to err on the side of caution, especially if you're on the hunt for your dream home. And if you attend an open house, you may be better equipped than ever before to determine whether a particular residence is right for you.
There are many reasons why you should attend an open house, and these include:
1. You can assess a house both inside and out.
An open house provides a stress-free opportunity to walk through a house and examine it on your own. As such, an open house is a can't-miss event, particularly for a homebuyer who is actively seeking the perfect residence.
Of course, an open house enables you to learn about a home's condition both inside and out. And if you find that you like a home after you attend an open house, you can always set up a one-on-one home showing with a seller's agent or submit an offer to purchase.
2. You can envision what life may be life if you purchase a particular home.
It's one thing to look at pictures of a home and imagine what it would be like to live there. However, homebuyers who want to do everything possible to find the right residence should attend an open house to fully capture what it may be like if they purchase a particular residence.
Remember, how a home makes you feel can have far-flung effects on your decision about whether to submit an offer. And if you attend an open house, you may quickly discover whether you can picture yourself as the owner of a residence. Or, if you find that you are uncomfortable with a home, you can instantly move on and pursue other houses.
3. You can obtain home insights that you won't necessarily find in a house listing.
A home listing often contains details about a home's age, recent house upgrades and other pertinent information. But a home listing alone rarely provides you with all of the insights you need to make an informed decision about whether to submit a homebuying proposal.
During an open house, you can ask a seller's agent lots of questions about a residence. This will enable you to obtain insights that you otherwise may struggle to discover in a home listing. And as a result, you'll be able to make the best-possible decision about how to proceed with a residence.
Clearly, there are many reasons to consider attending an open house. If you need extra help as you pursue residences and debate whether to attend open houses, you may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can offer expert guidance throughout the homebuying journey. By doing so, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to find your ideal residence in no time at all.
Selling a home is a big decision with far-flung ramifications. If you're on the fence about selling your house, there is no need to wait. In fact, there are many reasons why now may be the right time to list your residence, and these include:
1. You can upgrade or downgrade.
Although your current home has served you well for many years, now may be a good time for a change. Fortunately, you can sell your residence and move into a bigger or smaller home that will suit you perfectly.
It often won't take long to transition from one home to another. In many instances, individuals simultaneously sell their current house and search for a new home. This generally enables an individual to seamlessly relocate from his or her current house to a bigger or smaller residence.
2. You can move closer to family members and friends.
If you find your current home is far away from family members and friends, don't stress. For those who sell a home, it may be only a matter of time before you can enjoy convenient access to loved ones.
By selling your current home, you can explore houses in cities and towns where your loved ones reside. Then, if you purchase a house close to family members and friends, you can visit these loved ones without having to worry about a long commute.
3. You can receive plenty of support throughout the home selling journey.
Listing a home may seem virtually impossible, particularly for someone who previously has never embarked on the property selling journey. Lucky for you, help is available to ensure you can quickly and effortlessly sell your home and maximize its value.
Working with a real estate agent typically is a good idea for first-time and experienced home sellers alike. With a real estate agent at your side, you can get the assistance you need to achieve your property selling goals.
A real estate agent understands the assorted pitfalls that a home seller may encounter. As such, he or she works with a home seller to help this individual address potential problems before they escalate. A real estate agent will collaborate with a property seller to craft a house selling strategy. Next, a real estate agent will put this plan into action and do everything possible to promote a house to prospective buyers. And if a seller receives an offer to purchase, a real estate agent will help this individual review his or her options and determine how to proceed.
In addition, a real estate agent provides a housing market resource unlike any other. He or she is available to respond to a seller's concerns and questions. Plus, a real estate agent is happy to provide home selling recommendations.
Take the guesswork out of selling your home – hire a real estate agent, and you can receive extensive support as you navigate the property selling journey.
If you enjoy eating a lot of chicken in your diet because it is easy on your budget, then it pays to have many ways to cook it. Chicken is an affordable meat that many people use in their daily meal planning. The problem with chicken is that creating new ways to prepare it could be difficult. Here are four ways to use the chicken thigh with the leg attached to make a tasty meal:
Roasted must be the easiest way to cook chicken. Just wash, pat dry, rub with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. You can cook with the lid on or off. Many people will cook and take the cover off three-quarters of the way to ensure that the skin gets brown and crisp. Add your one of favorite vegetables, and you have a meal prepared with little hassle.
If you are new to using a BBQ grill, take the skin off the chicken before you start cooking. Removing skin will significantly reduce the chances of a fire starting and burning your meat. Add any style of sauce near the end of cooking. Having 3-4 different sauces will allow you to change the flavor of the meat by using a different sauce. It goes excellently well with steamed rice, veggies and as a side to most dishes.
Breading is a quite fantastic way to cook your chicken. You can purchase different flavors at your local grocery store, or you can mix your own spices and add them to your coating. The best part of making your unique spice blend is that you can control how much sodium you use. Two popular coatings you can use are corn flakes and crackers. If you want to prepare a truly special meal, Japanese Panko bread crumbs will add a nice touch to your chicken.
The Slow Cooker
Another easy way to cook chicken is to add chicken pieces and bones to a slow cooker along with some water. Set it on low, add a couple of bay leaves, some salt, and then leave it to cook all day. An hour before cooking, take the chicken out of the slow cooker and let it cool. While the chicken is cooling, you can add noodles or rice. Pick all the meat off the bones and put it back into the slow cooker and you will have an amazing chicken noodle or rice soup.
Try out these super ways of cooking chicken and expand your cooking horizons today.