Good- bye 70’s

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The temperatures dropped, corn and soybean harvest is in full swing with the geese enjoying the leftovers, the woolly caterpillars emerged, and it is time to pack away the sandals and shorts. I personally cringe at the falling temperatures and thoughts of the long winter ahead but also take joy in the changing colors of the trees, walking through the rustling leaves, and looking at everyone’s fall decor.

Octoberfest may have come and gone but our area offers a plethora of fall activities both for families and adults. I encourage you to take some time away from your fall clean-up and experience some of what our area has to offer. Buying your apples or pumpkins at the grocery store or Farmer’s Markets lacks the same experience and fun that picking your own at the pumpkin patch, corn maze, and apple orchard offers, especially if you have children. Although I must admit, even though we are empty nesters we still go to the apple orchards on a regular basis. We find the apples taste so much better when we pick our own, talk to the growers, and watch the small children running around experiencing nature and all that it has to offer. Click here for information on local pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and apple orchards.

Of course, picking apples and finding the perfect pumpkin are only a small portion of what you can experience in the Fox Valley in the fall. There are haunted houses, pumpkin carving contests, boo- fest, Halloween walks, trunk or treat activities, trick or treat, and other spoo-tacular activities.  Click here for more.

If celebrating Halloween isn’t your cup of tea and you prefer something a little more stout, the area offers many Brew, winery tours, and tastings. It is a great time to take a little road trip to visit a winery, or visit the 2nd Annual Craft Beer Walk in Downtown Appleton this Saturday, October 14. The following weekend you shop local as you take part in the 9th Annual Soup Walk.

Falling temperatures and leaves doesn’t mean it is time to stay home. Before you cuddle up in front of the fire take advantage of some of our areas best offerings. The Fox Valley offers something for everyone. Please comment and add your favorite fall activity in the area.

Purple, Passion, and a Prayer

Purple, Passion and a Prayer- Realtors® usually share horror stories with friends, clients, and associates. I personally do not have any horror stories in my back pocket but would like to share some success stories; thus the title Purple, Passion, and a Prayer.

I love purple, as do some of my past and present clients. I love purple flowers, pens, clothes, and have even decorated some former clients’ homes with various shades of purple and lavender. But, as a Stager® and Realtor®, I try to limit the purple passion.

A few years ago, I met with some Sellers relocating back to their hometown where I had recently lived. The Sellers, deeply religious people, met with several agents and wouldn’t commit to any until they prayed for an answer. I apparently was the answer to their prayers. The house was in great shape, including the VERY purple bathroom. After much discussion, persuasion, and the over -used term, “trust me,” I convinced Mrs. Seller to paint the bathroom a neutral color. When selling  home you are displaying it as a product on a shelf and want it to be as neutral as possible so the Buyers can visualize putting their own stamp and passion in the house.

My Sellers had a few other caveats; they wanted to stay so their children could complete camp but move before school started.

As I mentioned, I was the answer to their prayers. I sold the house on day 1 and was able to negotiate all their terms.

Staging a home to sell, even in a Sellers market, brings a higher price and a quicker sale. I’ve many more success stories in my arsenal to share including the pink teddy bear castle and the pink bathroom, six refrigerators, and papers piled to the ceiling home. Contact me at Susie@starservicerealty.com or (920) 659-0556 to hear more and find out how we can work together to sell your home more quickly and for top dollar.

Honoring the Red, White, and Blue

 

DiemThe 4th of July is upon us and we all look forward to celebrating with family and friends. Unfortunately today, we seem to have lost sight of honoring the red, white, and blue.

The 4th of July is all about BIG sales, hot dogs and hamburgers on the barbecue, circus peanuts, boating, neighborhood parties, and fantastic firework displays. Lest we forgot, the 4th of July is also about celebrating our independence. On July 4th,1776 13 colonies claimed their independence from England, eventually forming the United States. Believe it or not, fireworks were originally part of the first Independence Day celebration which took place on July 4th, 1777, mandated by John Adams. The 4th became a federal holiday in 1941, celebrating the birth of American Independence. John Adams, as one of the originators of the Declaration of Independence, envisioned celebrating with,”Pomp & Parade… Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, And Illuminations from one end of this continent to the other.”  

We are not so far off in our celebrations but I urge you to take a moment to reflect on the origins of our July 4th celebrations, bless our country, and pass down the story to your children and grandchildren. 

Happy 4th of July to you and your family

.God Bless America

Simple Things

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The old saying, ” Home is where the heart is,” rings true for myself and others who’ve experienced moving; especially numerous times. No matter where we live, we put down out roots, literally by either planting a tree, bushes, flowers, or volunteering within the community.

Moving and changing communities makes it difficult to form new relationships, especially as an older couple without children. That is why it is so important to take a few moments each day to take joy in the simple things. Take time to play tourist in your new community and share your finds with the natives. And don’t be afraid to ask about their favorite spots.  I’ve learned that long time members of a community often become so complacent that they overlook the little things their community has to offer.

Today, I’m keeping this post short but wanted to share a few pictures of the “simple things” that add joy to my daily living. It seems lately, that no matter where I live, I have native visitors. Living in Appleton, I love to walk along Apple Creek listening to the birds during the day, the frogs at night, and watching the carp as they mate. I also take great pleasure in the flowers and plants that we have so lovingly planted to beautify our yard. I hope that you also find pleasure in my simple joy.

The Holiday Staycation

We stayed in Appleton for the holiday with big plans to play tourist again. Our daughters came to visit and one brought along a cold or the flu, thus our tours were cut short and this blog post is late.

We had plans that included visiting ice sculptures, touring holiday light displays, volunteering with We Care Meals, hiking on Christmas Day, and stops at various museums and local shops and coffee shops. Surprisingly, we accomplished several of those things.

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Before our daughters arrived and the rain melted the Appleton downtown ice sculptures, my husband and I ran downtown on Christmas Eve to take a gander.We didn’t have a lot of time as we spent the morning shoveling the heavy wet snow, building a snowman, and needed to rush home for the Packer game.Although the sculptures had started to melt, you could still see the creativity and skill that went into each one. It is a shame that the wicked temperatures on carving day put a damper on the winter event.Still, we enjoyed the sculptures and the snowman in Houdini Plaza and appreciate the Downtown Appleton, Inc. on their hard work in continuing to make the downtown thrive.

My family toured different Christmas displays than we saw last year. For the most part the ones we saw in Appleton were somewhat disappointing. We got a chuckle out of ourselves  as we loved the home that played a Santa video on a projection screen in the front window. Even as four adults we enjoyed the creativity.

Although the flu put a damper on our staycation, we did find an opportunity to venture out at the end of the week. First we enjoyed brunch at Appleton’s iconic Little Diner Xpress followed by a trip to the Kohler Design Center and museum. We spent hours in both. A trip to Kohler is well worth the drive; especially if you take the more scenic back roads. The ideas and technology displayed in the two levels of the design center are endless and have something for everyone.We loved the history in the lower level; having no idea that the Kohler family was involved in the manufacturing of agriculture implements, cast iron furniture, and in helping farmers and the country with the development of the diesel engine connected to an alternator; as well as design and manufacturing of plumbing fixtures. Kohler invented and manufactured the first dishwasher and garbage disposal as well as the first indoor bathtub modeled after a horse trough. Kohler, an innovative and forward thinking company, believes in taking care of their families and employees. The beautiful American Club is a prime example of the hospitality and warmth the Kohler family extended towards their employees and the community. Their story is worth reading and telling.

Lastly, we took a short jaunt to Menasha on New Year’s Eve for coffee and lunch at the charming coffee shop , “Your Daily Grind.” We stopped in a few shops which are all independently owned. At the recently opened Renewed and Reclaimed,we happened upon a great find we couldn’t resist. These simple snowmen were made by the Neenah High School special needs students in Workshop 120. The owner of “Renewed and Reclaimed”, Jodi, sells these items to support the students in the endeavor to hone their skills and buy specialty tools . One hundred percent of the proceeds goes directly back to Workshop 120. Please stop by “Renewed and Reclaimed”, located on Main St., in Menasha to support Jodi in her efforts.

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Although our holiday and the beginning of the new year were hampered by illness, we enjoyed getting to know our community of the Fox Valley a little better and highly recommend you touring these places. We are open to hearing about other “must see”destinations in the Fox Valley.

 

 

The Moving Experience

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The Moving Experience- I am an expert. In the last 37 years my husband and I personally moved 9 times. We also moved our children multiple times, more times than I want to count, and my parents once. We spent Thanksgiving weekend moving our daughter to her first home as a homeowner; thus the reason for this post.

Moving is a pain. I’ll admit it, I hate moving. But as a new home designer, all of my clients need to move. And no, those of you reading this post will not benefit from my physical skills at moving. But I offer free advice. I won’t even lament on how difficult it was to move my daughter as I want to save her any embarrassment and would like her to be there for me in my old age.

The first rule of thumb in moving is to declutter all your belongings. I personally am not a saver. Given our numerous moves, I tend to keep our belongings streamlined. I try to live by the motto of, “if you haven’t used something in the last couple of years than it is time to consider getting rid of the item.” Albeit, that is somewhat difficult with wedding presents and family heirlooms. Before you start packing sort your things into groups:

1. for keeping

2. for donating

3. for selling

4. for throwing away.

Take pictures of the things you need to sell and post them on the many Facebook selling sites. Choose your charities and don’t worry about the multiple trips you make as others benefit from the donated items.

If you tend to be a pack rat or haven’t moved for many years, the task may seem daunting. Set yourself a schedule and start with one closet or one drawer. Work your way through them and around the room. Finish one room before starting on another. It can actually be somewhat fun going down memory lane.

Next, as each box gets packed make sure it is labeled well. This can be done right on the box or with a typed up list inventorying the contents of each box. If you employ a mover to load and unload your household items, this is an excellent method of ensuring nothing gets lost or damaged. Also make sure to mark the box on several sides describing the room in which it belongs. Make sure to keep important items such as checkbooks, passports, and closing papers in an envelope or safe place.

I’ve noticed that many people are self moving rather than using a moving company. If that is the case, plan ahead by gathering all the needed supplies. Boxes and often packing paper can be found for free by posting on Facebook or looking at Craigslist. If you ask ahead you may acquire boxes at local grocery stores, Kwik Trips, and liquor stores. Make sure you purchase plenty of packing tape and good markers. Survey your larger decor such as pictures and mirrors to decide what kind of packing material to use. Most importantly, do not plan to pack everything one weekend. We sold our condo at the end of last November and moved December 18th. Knowing we were going to move soon, I started packing unnecessary items early. Even for an expert, packing up a whole house can be overwhelming.

Bottom line when moving- plan ahead. Keep it organized to make the whole process easier for both the move out and the move in. Change your address early on subscriptions, contact the utility companies so you have power upon move in, decide on internet and TV services and schedule the appointments for the day after you move in to your new home. Don’t be afraid to clean out, toss, sell, or donate old unused item. Take it from someone who hates clutter and disorganization, by following these simple suggestions the moving experience won’t be so traumatic.

3 Tips for Getting to Know your New Neighbors

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Moving into a new neighborhood can be a bit daunting, especially if you don’t know anyone. We recently moved into a new neighborhood and took it upon ourselves to make connections. Knowing your neighbors is very important for your own security and safety.

  1. Exchange contact information- My husband and I went door to door in our new neighborhood to introduce ourselves. We then put everyone’s names, address, emails, phone numbers, and kids names and ages into a shared google doc and sent it to everyone.
  2. Get up close and personal- When each new neighbor moved in after us, we took over a plate of homemade cookies to reinforce the “moving troops.”
  3. Arrange for a neighborhood get- together. This works especially well if it can be held outside so that the kids can all run around and play. A barbecue, potluck, or just an evening with BYB drinks provides a great opportunity for everyone to get together without having to go to a lot of work.

Knowing your neighbors makes living in a new city or neighborhood much more enjoyable. Our neighborhood has been able to share information about contractors for landscaping, patios, HVAC contractors, and watch each others’ homes while they are away. We often meet on the street to visit and have arranged for game nights with our neighbors.Don’t be afraid to get out and meet your new neighbors.