Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pumpkin Spice ANYTHING!

Is there anything that says “FALL” more than Pumpkin Spice?  From lattes, to muffins, to pies, to candles and even hand sanitizers----You don’t even have to say it-----Just smelling the spicy combination of clove, ginger and cinnamon makes you immediately want to jump into your cozies, grab a blanket and join the crew at a chilly football game or sit in front of a hot, crackling fire! 

So now that I have several of your senses at attention, here’s a recipe to satisfy your taste buds!  A piece of this Pumpkin Pie Cake with a dollop of fresh whipped cream is a perfect way to tame that Pumpkin Spice craving!  

Pumpkin Pie Cake
Cake Ingredients:
1-lb. can pure pumpkin (not pie filling)
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
1 large can evaporated milk
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 box white cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans
1 stick margarine, melted

Mix all cake ingredients together and pour into a well-greased 9X13 inch pan.  Sprinkle dry cake mix  over the pumpkin mixture, then sprinkle with nuts.  Drizzle with melted butter.  Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until knife inserted comes out clean.  Top with a dollop of fresh, whipped cream.

Lovin' Life in the Lowcountry,


My mission statement:  To live each day to the fullest, with excitement, enthusiasm and a strong desire to build a successful and highly respected real estate business, earned by developing relationships through consistent and predictably high work ethic of always going above and beyond, and always doing so with a creative surprise up my sleeve.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What's In Your Bucket?

Since Monday, I’ve been taking a class called "Ninja". Not Ninja in the physical sense, but Ninja in the mental sense. Among other things, it's about having a plan along with "eye of the tiger", laser focus, to get to where you want to be. It's about coming up with better systems and improving discipline to accomplish your goals. All week long my classmates and I have had several "ah-ha" moments, epiphanies, if you will, leading us to thoughts of how to do things better by working smarter, not harder, to achieve the goals we set for ourselves. (And by the way, we were challenged to create goals that required us to stretch beyond what we thought we were capable of achieving.)

On Monday, the first day of class, we watched a video clip from a news program that aired a couple years ago featuring the mother of one of the 9/11 victims, Ann Nelson. In the interview, she shared that when she had received her daughters personal items after the tragic event, it took her a long time to have the courage to look at what was in the box.  Among those items was her daughter's laptop computer. The mother struggled for a very long time as to whether she wanted to open the computer and read what was inside. Eventually she did turn the computer on and found a list her daughter had created. It was her bucket list. It was her list of goals and dreams. It was a list of the things she wanted to accomplish during her lifetime. Two of these goals were to learn to ski and the other was to help other people. Turning a huge tragedy into a positive gift, along with the help of "New York Says Thank You", and hundreds of thousands of volunteers, "Annie's House" was built. It is an 11,000 square foot ski lodge built to accommodate and teach disabled children and US troops to ski.

So one of the things that we've learned this week is to start each morning focusing on what we are grateful for. This has been one of my greatest takeaways this week. Think of all the things that you're grateful for, first thing in the morning when you wake up. See if that doesn't get your day off to a great start! Having an attitude of gratitude WILL change the tone and outcome of your entire day. By having your own bucket list of things that you'd like to have, be, do or accomplish… Gives you something to be excited about,  giving your days and activities laser sharp, "eye-of-the-tiger" focus, drive, and purpose.

So as we think about 9/11 today, and the tragedy that took so many lives, take a moment to reflect and think about what you're grateful for. Think of how some people were able to turn something so horrific into something that continues to give to others in the years that followed the tragic event on September 11, 2001-a day that started out as any other day of the week. A day that eventually changed our country forever.

What's on your bucket list and what are you going to focus on today?

Lovin' Life in the Lowcountry, 


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Another Royal Baby is On The Way! Wonder What's on Kate's Baby Shower Menu?

Now is the time of the year when there are lots of get togethers---tailgates, pot lucks, baby showers etc.  Here is a fun way to serve salad using lettuce cups placed on a tray for individual salads that don’t require a salad bowl.  The salad is similar to the Chopped Salad at The Outback.
1/3 cup pecan halves
½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons butter, melted

¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup white vinegar
¼ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sour cream or Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
½ cup crumbled blue cheese

3 cups chopped bibb lettuce
3 cups chopped red leaf lettuce
3 cups iceberg lettuce
1 green onion, chopped
4 ounces angel hair pasta
Canola oil (for frying)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix together the cinnamon and brown sugar. Toss pecans with melted butter, then with the cinnamon/sugar mixture, coating evenly.  Put the nuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 5 to 8 minutes, until sugar is caramelized. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, slide the parchment off the baking sheet onto a cooling rack and allow nuts to cool.
In the meantime, whisk or shake the vinaigrette ingredients together, and set aside.
Yum! Yum!
Wash the lettuces and drain well until dry. (A salad spinner is good to use if you have one.  Chop the lettuces into tiny, bite-sized pieces.  Slice the green onion and set aside.
Break the angel hair into small, 2 inch pieces. Cook until al dente and drain well. Heat oil in a skillet to 350 degrees, and fry drained pasta until crispy. Drain on paper towel and cool.
Place the chopped lettuce in a large serving bowl (one large enough to toss the salad in). Add the vinaigrette and toss thoroughly to coat. 

If making an individual serving, divide salad into lettuce cup and sprinkle with chopped onion and chopped pecans. 
Sprinkle with the chopped onion. Break the cooled pecan slices apart and sprinkle them over the salad and serve immediately.

Lovin' Life in the Lowcountry, 


Friday, September 5, 2014

Happy Grandparent's Day!

I noticed on the calendar that this Sunday, September 7th is National Grandparents Day.  I started thinking that as a child in the 60’s and 70’s, I don’t remember ever having celebrated my Grandparents on one day in particular.  So to confirm I hadn’t missed something (or that my mother had forgotten to remind me when I was 12 years old to call my grandparents, after 7 pm when the long distance rates were cheaper, to wish them Happy Grandparents Day), I looked it up.  FYI---National Grandparents’ Day wasn’t founded until 1978 by President Jimmy Carter, just in case you want to throw out a little trivia this weekend while you are celebrating!

I never lived in the same town as my grandparents…that is, not until I returned to Knoxville, TN, to attend college at the University of Tennessee.  So when we loaded up in the station wagon (4 kids and 2 adults!) to drive 12-15 hours to Tennessee to visit them every year for summer vacation, I remember how exciting it was to get to visit my grandparents every summer.  (Especially after being cooped up in the very back of the car the whole time, making sure my younger brother didn’t cross “the line” in the middle onto my territory, look at or breathe on me. I was #3 of 4 kids and didn’t get to sit in a real seat on these trips until my sister went away to college and left a vacant seat.  But my brother and I had way more fun than anyone in the car, waving at the truck drivers and getting them to honk for 609 miles. Each way.)  I just could not WAIT to see them, and get loved on, pampered and spoiled for a few days each year.  

Now, as an adult, my grandparents have all passed, so this is a time to reflect on their memory.  When I think about my grandparents, I think about the fun times we had, but also what I learned from them.  I hadn’t really thought about the “legacy” they had left with me until I attended a financial planning presentation with my husband several years ago.  The speaker posed a question to the audience:  What are your grandparents doing in their retirement (or what DID they do?)  Did they retire at the age of 65?  Did they have enough money to live comfortably? 

As we all commented and contributed to the discussion, I found that, sadly, most reported that their grandparents weren't able to retire because that they never had enough money to cover their expenses.  I was surprised at how many people in the room shared similar stories.  At that moment, my husband and I realized that both our grandparents had passively blessed us, by example.  Our grandparents had set some really fine examples:  Don't spend everything you make, and when you DO spend, spend wisely.  Educate yourself and make wise investments.  Having lived through the Great Depression, they knew how important it was to be frugal, patient and to save for a rainy day.

What is a good investment? To begin with, you want a financial portfolio with investments in several different types of accounts and markets. Building wealth is about getting your money to WORK for you, and not putting all your eggs in one basket. Obviously, regular savings accounts aren’t likely to work very hard for you.  Even money market accounts and CD’s take a while to grow. But these types of savings accounts are a great place to park your money that is easily available for those “rainy day” expenses that come up unexpectedly or short-term savings goals like a vacation or automobile so you can pay cash.  The stock market is another option, but as we all know, it goes up and it goes down, and is not likely to have a good “short-term” return on investment. 

But what about real estate?  (You didn’t think I wouldn’t bring up real estate, did you?) The real estate market can take a long time, too.  But if you plan to invest in something that you can hold on to for several years, real estate can earn a good profit.  (Especially if you have picked up a really good deal, maybe a foreclosure or distressed property to refurbish.)  As an example of wise investing, young parents can pay for their child’s college education by investing in a sound rental property when the child is a baby, then selling it when they graduate high school.  Most, if not all, college expenses will be met! 

If you would like to learn more about investing in real estate properties, give me a call!  Charleston has loads of investment opportunities! You can either reach me at 478-973-2684 or 843-410-9906.  And don’t forget to wish your Grandparent’s a Happy Day on Sunday!  You don’t even have to wait until after 7 pm anymore!

Lovin' Life in the Lowcountry, 


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Camaraderie and a Winning Team

This past weekend, I, along with hundreds of thousands of others across the country, attended the first football game of the season.  As I sat and watched our team’s players interact with each other, both on the field as well as on the sidelines, something really jumped out at me:  Camaraderie.  The way they interacted with each other was different:  This year, I noticed they encouraged each other, expressed enthusiasm, promptly responding to others when they were down……It really created a winning environment, and win they did!  During the game, I leaned over and mentioned my observation to my husband.  Being the less knowledgeable about football, I thought I was merely stating my motherly opinion at how well the “kids” were getting along.

Or so I thought:  The next day, the press wrote that the coach observed the same:  Camaraderie.  From a post on www.saturdaydownsouth.com, “(Coach) Jones preaches to his roster about camaraderie and brotherhood and it is evident the team is working cohesively….Thus far, a great coaching display by Jones and his staff that will likely start a trend moving forward.”  (This is a team that has spent many years re-building from some really bad coaching hires.) 
As I read these comments yesterday, I thought about how important camaraderie and team-work are in the business world.  I have ALWAYS considered my real estate business a team:  

-The Coach (Me, Your Realtor®) 

-Players (Buyers, Sellers, Lenders, Home Inspectors, Professional Stagers, Insurance Agents, Pest Control  Inspectors, Movers, Professional Organizers, Marketing Professionals, Attorneys, Title Professionals, Caterers, etc.)  

-Managers (Administrative Staff)

-Trainers (Continuing Education and Training Instructors)

-Fans (Your CLIENTS….And, they should be RAVING Fans by the time you close, sending referrals for future business your way!)

-Cheerleaders (Your Broker, Colleagues, Mentors, Friends and Family)

-Stadium (My Real Estate Office)

-Marketing (Facebook, Blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, C180 Marketing Solution, snail mail, email, print ads, yard signs, fliers…the works!!!!) 

-Technology (IT, iPad, iPhone, PC, printer, audio-visual, etc!)

-And of course we can’t forget----Concessions/FOOD! (Open Houses, Agent Opens, meetings and Special Events---if you feed them they will come!!) 

What I have found over the last ten years in this business is that the most successful and pleasant transactions are those that take a team approach, including planning, communication, execution, cooperation, effort, determination, endurance, integrity, input and feedback from everyone that is involved. Getting to the closing table (end zone), takes effort from everyone.

Ready to get in the game?  Give me a call!  I work with a winning team, and would love to work with you!   

Lovin' Life in the Lowcountry,