National Pie Day!

Today is National Pie Day!!  For all of you (and I’m in this group) cake lovers, you might want to skip this, but know that National Cake Day is November 26th for future reference!


Apparently, The American Pie Council (who knew there was such a thing right??) set aside January 23rd to celebrate the pie, bake the pie, share the pie and I assume eat the pie! There is also a National Pie Championship where one could win the “American Pie Council’s Best Pie in America” award.

Here’s a link to a “perfect” apple pie…but a word of caution, it starts with a boxed pie crust!

So are you a pie or a cake person?!

Moving Day in Midcoast Maine

The big day is here, and no matter how ready you think you are, chances are, you aren’t!!  Have you thought about how to deal with exhaustion? Distractions?  Unforeseen obstacles? What about the fact that the WHOLE neighborhood is watching?

Here are 3 tips that might come in handy and might help save your sanity on moving day.


#1: Anticipate Distraction!

Some of the distractions will come from the new neighbors. You’re just trying to unload the moving truck but the neighbors won’t offer to carry anything, they just have questions!  ~ what did you pay for the house? are you making any changes? do you have children and want to join a playgroup?  Be ready, have your answers rehearsed.  The best answer may be “I’d love to chat but can we do this a bit later, maybe tomorrow when the truck is emptied?”

#2: Fight Exhaustion!

The physical and mental stress of moving out of the old home and into the new one, even if you have lots of help, will disrupt your routines. Fast-food and junk food may seem like an easy fix, but you really need more substance to be continually refreshed and recharged during the moving process. Stock up on healthy snacks, bottles of water and energy drinks.  And don’t try to do it all at once ~ there is plenty of time to unpack the boxes after the big furniture is in the next day after you’re refreshed and rested.

#3: Prepare!

If you prepare for the worst, you won’t be surprised by some common moving day problems…the couch won’t fit through the door (measure furniture and doorways prior to the big day)…the cable and internet can’t be hooked up for 2 weeks (call the cable company 2 weeks prior to the move and schedule a set up for the day after the move)…the moving truck can’t fit in the driveway (make sure there is a clear path for the movers especially if there is snow or ice on the ground).

Moving day can be fun…if you have the right help, take deep breathes and prepare…prepare….prepare!!



Pets at showings?!

I know you love your dogs. I know you love your cats.  And for some reason that I’ll never understand, I know you love your snakes. But not everyone does.

You’ve made the decision to sell your home, and with that comes the knowledge that strangers will be traipsing through your home peeking into closets and cabinets, looking into attics and cellars and sitting at the table and on the couch getting a feel for the kitchen and living room. I’ve yet to have someone lay on a bed to get a feel for the bedroom but……

So you’ve scrubbed, packed, decluttered and staged. The dog hair is vacuumed up, the litter box is clean, empty and odor free. Thank you for that, by the way, your home is now truly “show ready”.

BUT, since you’re a pet owner, you still have one more thing to do.  Please remove your dogs and cats prior to the showing!  Yes, remove them.  There is nothing worse than trying to show a home with barking and lunging dogs and sneaky and escaping cats. If the potential buyer is not a dog lover, the minute they hear a bark, they become nervous.  I’ve had buyers decide NOT to look at a home because of barking dogs inside, even if it’s the house they put #1 on their list.  If buyers have allergies, walking into a house and having a welcoming cat rub up against their legs can send them right out the door before they even see the foyer.

dog and cat

Cute, I know,but to a non pet lover……

many dogs

….this is what they look and sound like!!


This may sound harsh, but it’s reality.  So find a doggy day care,  a cat sitter or pet walker…..but when we’re coming to decide if YOUR home is going to be THEIR home, don’t let your pets be the decision makers!

Oh, and please, cover the snake tank. Please.



Pantone Colors of the Year….with nothing to do with hair products

So the news is out, and Pantone has chosen Rose Quartz and Serenity as the two colors of the year.  Basically that’s pink and baby blue…neither or them are favorites of mine, but that’s okay as I don’t have anything to paint this year.  But the biggest news is that even though I see the chosen Colors of the Year each and every year, this is the first time I’ve realized that it’s PantOne not PantEne, like the shampoo!!!!  How many times have I just seen what my eyes think I should be seeing, and read what my mind thinks it should be reading.  Wow…have I done this with other things?  Is this a reality check that I need to slow down?  I love to read, and I know that I read fast and tend to speed read if I think it’s not that important, but this may have gone to far…for years I thought that a hair product company had influence over our color choices for decorating!


To read more about the real company behind our decorating choices click here:

To read more about the hair company, click here:


Random Thought….

Sitting outside in a cafe in San Diego (well, Encinitas actually by my son’s office) having coffee and sending emails… mid-November…..basking in the sun’s warmth…..I was having those “I need to move south” thoughts once again.  But then I recieved a phone call from a women who is moving back to New England after spending the past 10+ years in South Carolina.  She knows that it’s cold in Maine in January, and we have snow and blizzards and freezing cold temps, but as she said “there’s no place like home”.  

She’s right.  And I will probably always have at least one son living in southern California, so will probably always have a place to visit and escape the cold and snow, so I’m okay now.  I can go back home next week and relish the fact that whiles “there’s no place like home”, there’s also a place for me here as well when I need it!

What about you? Love the cold and snow and wouldn’t leave it, or do you have an escape plan for January/February?  

Is it time for you to remodel?!

So the new year has begun, and if you’re like most people, that gets you thinking about remodeling. Actually, if you’re like me, you never stop thinking about remodeling, but this is a great time of year to actually begin carrying out some of those plans!  Either way, let’s look at what “THEY” are saying are the trends this year…..

1. Bathrooms are big ~ “This year, the kitchen as we know it completely changed,” said Huffington Post. “Shelving opened up, cabinets went darker and metallic accents moved well beyond cabinet knobs. But come 2015, we can expect to see a major overhaul in a different room of the house — the bathroom

Everything from sinks and color schemes to tubs and tiles will see some sort of upgrade, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s style reports.”

2. Bath, Not Shower ~ Inside that bathroom, trends are moving away from showers and toward large soaker tubs. “Forget about glass-encased showers—these days it’s all about the soaking and free-standing tubs, so much so that we can actually expect a decline in standard tubs with shower-surrounds,” said the San Antonio Express-News.

3. Not So Fast With That Shower ~ For those that do want to keep their shower, bigger is better, said Houzz. “That’s certainly the current school of thought when it comes to the shower…with more walk-in showers with oversize panes of glass or solid walls that completely enclose the space, rather than bathrooms with tiny cubicles.

4. Color ~ As gray continues to invade every aspect of our home, replacing beige as the go-to color, darker hues are starting to make an impact. “Shades of charcoal are finding their way back into our kitchens with a mix of whites and black giving them a sophisticated and refined feel and look,” according to Imagineer Remodeling.

For bathrooms, gray is also a growing trend, according to Huffington Post. And all those white tiles on the wall? They may soon be replaced by sleek black.

5. The Sink ~ If you’re remodeling and your kitchen is more than a few years old, you’re probably due for a new sink. Those giant two-bowl sinks are on their way out, said Houzz. “Deep, single-bowl sinks are the current trend in kitchen sinks.” This style of sink can more easily accommodate large bowls, pots, and pans.

6. The Healthy Home ~ According to design-build remodeling firm Neil Kelly Company, remodeling for health reasons is the next frontier. “Remodelers have a critical role to play in helping people make changes—large and small—to improve their home environments,” they said. “Whether it’s non-offgassing finishes, no-formaldehyde cabinets, or better air filtration systems, homeowners realize a benefit to the family in creating a healthy living space. Take this notion one step… or flush… further and you’ll discover Kohler’s SanSouci Touchless Toilet. That’s right, to flush this water closet you just wave your hand over the toilet — no touching required.”

7. Heavy Metal ~ The metal accessory trend is apparently going nowhere, and it’s largely focused on one particular shade. “Shades and tones of copper are in the mix,” says Neil Kelly Design Company’s Heidi Hawk. “For 2015, it has moved from accessories to lighting, sinks, and even countertops.”

8. Accent Walls ~ Yes, they’re back! But don’t go searching for a sea sponge. Today’s accent walls are taking on a natural element in a different way. “Inside and out, homeowners are choosing textures and natural wood accents for walls,” said Willamette Living. “Reclaimed and vintage barnwood adds warmth. Chalkboard and faux finishes can be used in any room, from kitchen to office to bedroom.”

9. Floor It ~Hardwood continues to be the leading trend in floors. However, it’s engineered hardwood that is showing up as a strong trend for 2015, said HGTV.

For bathrooms, Houzz says to expect an uptick in feature floors. “Statement-making floor tiles proved popular in 2014, and this striking look doesn’t appear to be leaving in a hurry,” they said. “They are stunning and provide a great design opportunity when working with challenging bathrooms that have no clear walls for a feature wall.”

Well, that’s “THEIR” opinion anyway…..what’s yours?!


Selling and staying Merry this Holiday season….

Yes, it’s just now truly winter ~ and you really need to sell your home. If you’re in a Buyer’s market, you can and probably will see some “lowball”offers, but homes that are priced right and that are in good ~ and by good I mean great ~ condition will be treated with more respect by buyers.

If prices are falling in your area, then you mus price your home accordingly.  You need to price according to recent sold properties and even put weight on pricing to pending sales — those homes that are “under contract” but haven’t closed yet.

You have to know what your bottom line is, BUT pricing your home ~ the market value of your home ~ really has nothing to do with how much you owe on it, how much cash you want out of it, or how much you need for your retirement. Buyers will ONLY pay current market value as determined by the most recent market sales.

So what else can you do?  

You’ve priced your home properly and now an offer has come your way….please remember to keep negotiations pleasant.  This is the MERRY part!!

Negotiation is a fine art, and typically works best when both parties get what they want. For example, you may be willing to take less in exchange for a quicker closing. Your buyer may be willing to pay your asking price, but they may ask you to pay their closing costs.

You’ll quickly realize if you’re dealing with a sincere buyer. Respond to the buyer’s negotiations with documentation, receipts and other information in a timely manner. If you feel the buyer isn’t negotiating in good faith, simply stop responding. You’re under no obligation to respond to an unreasonable offer. The buyer will get the message and either go away or get real.

It may surprise you to learn that buyer’s markets work for sellers, too. In a perfect world, you’ll get top dollar for your home and buy your next home at a bargain basement price, but that’s rare. Instead focus on the big picture — both selling and then buying at a reasonable price. Don’t worry about what you didn’t get or what you wanted for your home. When you buy your next home, you’ll be able to take advantage of falling prices, too. It all evens out.

Remember your goal…SELL this house and BUY a different house!!  And choose your merry!!

merry 1    

Which way does the Housing wind blow?

It sometimes seems like housing markets move whichever way the wind blows. When the weather’s cold, home sales tend to freeze. Prices fall and supplies of homes for sale increase. Buyers have been known to become more demanding.

It may be cold outside here in the Northeast, but that doesn’t mean your home won’t sell, you may just have to work a bit harder to make it happen.

There’s a lot about winter that’s fun. We have snow, sometimes lots of it, so why not turn it into an attraction. Do you have a fireplace or woodstove?  Make sure it’s lit and warm for showings.  Make your home smell inviting with hot cider spiced with cinnamon sticks simmering on the stove.

snowy house

Always Always keep your driveway and walkways snow and ice free. If it’s a dark day or evening ~ and at this time of year that’s pretty much a given by 4:00pm ~ put the exterior lights on as well as your interior lights…you want to make having a home in the winter warm and cozy, not cold and dark!

Snow also brings wet and mud. If you don’t have a dedicated “mud room” try creating a mud nook by the front or back door. Put out an attractive mat for shoes and boots as well as baskets for mittens and gloves and a few hooks for coats.  But don’t overload it, as always, keep clutter to a minimum!

These are the first impressions the buyer will have of your home….so make it count! And let the wind blow you into a sail! (get it? sale!)


Should you move or remodel…….

cost vs value

Not sure if it’s time to move? Wondering if you should just stay put and remodel? Think about these 3 questions:

1. Do you really need more space?

If you answered yes, do you need more space more than you need a college fund or a nest egg? It all comes down to priorities. Yes, space is important. If you have more children than bedrooms, more stuff than you can store, or are in an older home that would be impossible and/or price prohibitive to enlarge and/or update, that’s one thing. If it’s just a “Keeping up with the Joneses” thing, well, then there are a few other questions you’ll want to ask yourself, like whether or not the Joneses will make your house payment if you get yourself in trouble by biting off more house than you can chew.

2. Is staying in your existing neighborhood important?

Your kids may not appreciate the extra bedrooms or the pool out back if they have to move our of their schools and leave their friends behind. Make sure if you’re making a move for the good of your family that you are in touch with what your family really wants.

3. Should you stay put and renovate?

Whether to move or improve is always a difficult question, but by taking a few minutes and doing a few calculations you can make the right decision.

Generally, improving costs less than trading up depending on what kind of improvements you’re doing. General rule of thumb, figure on between $100-$200/square foot for new construction or a major remodel. Of course, this will depend on the scope of the project and labor costs in your area.

If you’re thinking about moving because of space for family, it might be a smart decision to add on. Not only will you get the space you need, with a design created to your specifications and style, but you may also increase the value of your home. For more information, check out the Remodeling magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report to get an idea of return on investment for different improvements.

Is your home ready for winter in Midcoast Maine?

Now that summer is behind us, and fall (and don’t forget daylight savings tonight) is upon us, our thoughts should turn to turn to preparing for snowfall and winter, and there are a few things we should do to our home to get ready.

Is your home drafty? Air leaks around doors and windows are one of the primary sources for energy loss in a home ~ and energy loss means money loss. But there are things you can do to check for and eliminate those leaks. Begin with a visual inspection, both inside and out.  Outside, look for areas where the old caulking has deteriorated, showing a gap between the window or door frame and your home’s siding. Most of the time, caulking will easily seal the gaps. Look for daylight under and around each exterior door, and add weather stripping where you see light!

How are your furnace filters? Check the filters throughout the house to make sure they are clean so air can flow through them smoothly. According to, the filters on your furnace likely need to be changed either once a month or once every three months, depending on the type you’re using.

How about your smoke detectors? Everyone knows that daylight savings time also means time to change out the batteries in your smoke detectors. While you’re at it, check and clean out your dryer vent at the same time, clearing any buildup of lint since this can cause a fire.




Do you have a fireplace or wood stove? The place where you actually want a fire in the winter, but also want to keep it safe,so inspect this area as well. Woodburning stoves and fireplaces need to be cleaned because of the potential for buildup of soot and creosote. Gas fireplaces should also be checked for debris and to make sure the chimney structure is secure with no cracks or crumbling mortar joints.





Once you’ve checked off this list, your home should be in good shape to get you through another fall and winter.