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Some things are just meant to go together: macaroni and cheese, Pam Beesly and Jim Halpert, a bubble bath and a glass of wine. But when it comes to bathroom decor, some pairings are less obvious.

If you’re looking to liven up your look or add value to a bathroom in your home you plan on selling, the following design ideas are sure to provide some inspiration. Here are five dreamy bathroom design pairs made in heaven:

1. Natural wood cabinetry + black walls
If you have a natural wood vanity in your bathroom, this tip is for you. The painted black walls really make the wood tone pop. The mix of rustic wood and black walls is fast becoming the newest take on modern farmhouse decor. Lighter oak finishes are having a moment, and what better way to highlight them than with the dark contrast of black walls.
Get the look: Complement the light wood cabinetry in your bathroom by painting the walls Midsummer Night by Benjamin Moore.

2. Brick flooring + cream-color walls
Whether you start with the cream-color walls or the timeless brick flooring, there’s no denying the power of this decor combo. The design creates such a wonderfully warm bathroom with creamy walls and rustic flooring. The natural world is being brought into bathroom design lately to great effect: creamy natural colors and organic materials are all trending right now. Cream and beige tones have eclipsed gray as the neutral shades du jour.
Get the look: Get in on this trend by painting your bathroom walls Pink Damask by Benjamin Moore and installing herringbone tile that looks like brick (without the brick price tag).

3. Exposed beams + a Turkish rug
When you have a neutral-tone bathroom, lean on colorful, handwoven textiles to invigorate the space. We love the combination of the wood beams and the vintage Turkish rug. This combination of materials and textures creates an eclectic look that works for a variety of different design styles, from bohemian to modern.
Get the look: Shop for antique Turkish rugs on Etsy, or up the warmth in your bathroom with colorful washable rugs.

4. Marble wainscoting + a bronze mirror
Marble and metallics are a classic combination for the bathroom. Marble wainscoting adds a sense of sophistication and refinement to a powder room, while brass decor adds a touch of glamor. The result is a high-end and cohesive design that’s visually stunning, functional, and easy to maintain.
Get the look: Combine Carrara marble tiles with a bronze mirror for an opulent powder room.

5. Vintage vanity + geometric tiles
There’s nothing quite like pairing something old (like a vintage vanity) with something new (like a geometric tile backsplash). Using a vintage piece of furniture as a vanity is a great way to repurpose materials and bring true design cred to your space, while the geometric tiles climb the wall like a trellis and work to draw the eye upward.
Get the look: Pair your perfectly vintage vanity with these marble mosaic tiles.


Get Ready: The Best Time To List Your House Is Now!

If you’re thinking about selling this spring, it’s time to get moving – the best week to list your house is fast approaching.

Real estate experts have looked at seasonal trends from recent years (excluding 2020 as an uncharacteristic year due to the onset of the pandemic) and determined the ideal week to list a house this year:

Home sellers on the fence waiting for that perfect moment to sell should start preparations, because the best time to list is the spring. If you’ve been waiting for the best time to sell, this is your chance. But remember, before you put your house on the market, you’ve got to get it ready. And if you haven’t started that process yet, you’ll need to move quickly. Here’s what you should keep in mind.

Work with an Agent To Determine Which Updates To Make
Start by prioritizing which updates you’ll need to make. Not everything needs to be done to sell your home, but an agent can help you choose what areas will show off your house in its best light.

If Possible, Plan To Have Your House Staged
Once you’ve made any necessary repairs and updates to your house, consider having it staged. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 82% of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home. Additionally, almost half of buyers’ agents said home staging had an effect on most buyers’ view of the home in general. Homes that are staged typically sell faster and for a higher price because they help potential buyers more easily picture their new life in the house.

Bottom Line
Are you ready to sell this spring? Let’s connect to plan your next steps. You can start by making a checklist of what you think your house needs to get ready. Then, we can work together to prioritize your list and move forward together. It wont be as daunting as you think!


​Garden Trends to Revamp Your Landscaping

It’s an exciting time for gardeners. We’ve reached mid-spring and now is the time to start making our summer-garden plans. While it’s always important to touch up your garden this time of year, why not go a little bigger this time and give your landscape a complete renovation with these hot summer trends?

1. Go Bold
Plant dahlias such as the Coral Gypsy, Tempest, and Beach Bum varieties to bring bright color to your yard. Planting summer-cypress adds serious pops of color, and by adding some of your standard favorites, you can perfectly complement the bright reds. For year-round boldness, plant some hardy succulents or evergreens in large, brightly colored planters that make a statement.

Wildflower and perennial meadows also create a casual style of planting. Gardens are getting more natural and less manicured, so you should think about how you can keep your arrangements loose and less structured, which will make your garden standout. Think like the Japanese, who are known to embrace garden imperfections, asymmetry, and incompleteness.

2. Try Textures
Silvery dusty miller and ruffled ferns are in style this season. Bounce colors off one another with orange lilies and purple verbena. Contrast shapes by planting things like yucca and lantana. Don’t forget those hanging baskets, either. Start your hanging basket with a tall statement piece, surround it with something that fills the gaps well, and finish with some color to spill over the edges.

3. Get Cooking
Spending more and more time outside, including time to make a nice meal, is nothing new. Outdoor kitchens are rising in popularity, especially for homeowners who entertain a lot. When designing your outdoor cooking space, try to take your design choices in a different direction than your indoor kitchen to keep the space feeling unique. Contrasting the indoors with the outdoors is what will make your space feel truly refreshing.

4. Get Out
A place to relax within your garden can feel like a vacation, especially for those who don’t have the time for an official trip. Creating a lovely area to relax, read, or meditate is gaining in popularity as people become more aware of the need to decompress. Find a secluded space in your garden and set up some of your favorite chairs and a table. Or if you want to go big, build a little open-air art studio situated around or within your favorite plantings. A garden is a great place to refresh after a long day.

5. Give Back
You can get much more enjoyment out of something when you share it. Give to your neighbors and give back to the planet. Look into how you can make your garden a Certified Wildlife Habitat to benefit wildlife. Donate some of your fresh produce to your local food bank or share with your neighbors to really build a feeling of homeliness. Find natural solutions for weeds, slugs, and snails. Include plants that attract pollinators. Enhance your soil with organic compost by creating your own composter. It’s simple and keeps a lot of waste out of the garbage piles and puts it to work in your garden. You can also buy packaged or bulk compost at most home and garden stores.


April Showers Bring May Flowers!

Many people use this as a month to focus on their own garden or lawn and others use it as an opportunity to beautify their community. However you want to usher in the warmer growing weather, these are some ideas for you!

Organize a Neighborhood Clean Up
Gardening extends beyond your backyard. It’s important to take proper care of your neighborhood and community too! Rally up all your neighbors and friends and get to work. You can walk the streets and collect trash, plant flowers in heavily populated areas, connect with local charities and create a community garden. The opportunities are endless, but the more projects you complete together the better your community will look.

Start a New Gardening Project
Now is the perfect time to start a new project in your garden! Get lost on Pinterest till you find a project that stands out to you. If you aren’t much of a DIY pro, you can start with something as easy as scrubbing down your lawn furniture. More advanced projects can include building your own flower beds, trimming overgrown shrubs and even planting your own vegetable garden.

Take Time to Enjoy your Garden
Now that the weather has changed for the better, it’s important to take advantage of that beautiful garden in your backyard. Have some friends over for a picnic and put those homegrown veggies to use. Gardens are also a great place to relax and catch some vitamin D.

Start an Indoor Herb Garden
Don’t have a yard, but still want in on the action? Indoor herb gardens not only provide fresh herbs at your fingertips, but also fill your home with fragrance and greenery. Most herbs can be grown indoors like basil, chives, mint, oregano and parsley. Growing your own herbs makes cooking at home easy and healthy. Be sure to do some research on the best type of herb garden for your space.

Enjoy a Local Farmer’s Market
Farmer’s markets are a great way to eat organic fruits and veggies without the hassle of going to a grocery store. By shopping at your local farmers market, you will eat fresh, nutrient-rich foods for an affordable price. Farmers markets are a great way to bring communities together and support local small businesses and farms. Check out your local market today to see what you’ve been missing.

Start Composting
One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and yard waste such as grass clippings can be used in a compost pile. Compost improves soil structure and provides nutrients for plants, all from waste you typically throw out.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to enjoying the warmer weather.  Regardless if you choose a small task or a big task this spring, getting outside and enjoying the environment and your community has hug health benefits. Why wait for the summer months to begin?


How to Dye Easter Eggs

If you're dyeing Easter eggs this year, follow these six simple steps for adding a coat of colour to those hard boiled eggs. Beautifully dyed Easter eggs are a surprisingly simple DIY project. And you don't have to rely on store-bought kits to get colourful Easter egg perfection. With a few key tips and tricks (i.e., let your hard boiled eggs cool before you dye them), you can ensure an Insta-worthy finish every time.

What You Need to Dye Easter Eggs

  • Hard boiled eggs 
  • Paper towel or newspaper
  • Bowl or cup deep enough to completely submerge an egg.
  • Tongs, egg dipper, or slotted spoon
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • Liquid food colouring (about 20 drops per colour)

How to Dye Eggs

1. Protect your surface by covering with a sheet of newspaper or paper towel.

2. Use cool hard boiled eggs.

3. Fill container with enough water to cover the egg, one teaspoon of white vinegar, and about 20 drops of food colouring. The more food coloring you add, the darker the color of the egg will be.

4. To create unique patterns on the eggs, use rubber bands, wax, crayons, or waterproof tape to mark off stripes or designs where you don't want the dye to hit.

5. Place your egg on a slotted or regular spoon and dunk, turning occasionally so both sides get colour. Keep your dyed egg in the liquid for up to 5 minutes. The longer you leave your egg in the dye bath, the more vivid the colour will be. You can also dip only part of the egg in one colour, then switch to another colour to create a multi-colored effect.

6. Carefully remove the egg and set it aside to dry. Once the eggs are dry, you can apply stickers, washi tape, gold leaf, or other decorative elements to finish off the look.

Have fun getting creative!



Refresh for Your Home

Warmer Months are Coming!

Now that Spring is on our doorstep, it's the perfect excuse to refresh and brighten your home. It’s time to put away the faux fur throws and plaid wool pillows and bring in some vibrant colours and light, airy fabrics, and textiles. To help you freshen your home this Spring, we provided you with a list of ideas to freshen up your space!

Clean Windows
It’s finally time to let some light in! Now that the sun is shining, it is important to clean and open your windows to let the fresh air in. Washing and dusting your windows will help decrease the dirt and debris blowing through your house when it comes time to open the windows. During this time, if you notice your window screens have holes or rips it may be time to purchase and install new screens. If you’re feeling extra fun, you can even purchase new curtains to make your window space pop with color!

Check HVAC System
What’s worse than a 90-degree day with no air conditioning? To ensure that nightmare doesn’t happen to you, check your home’s HVAC system to ensure it’s working well before temperatures get too hot. That way if you run into a problem, you should have more than enough time to have a professional check it out for you.

Put Seasonal Stuff in Storage
Simplify your life!  Store away items that aren't useful in the warmer months, such as blankets, thick Afghans, and heavy quilts, so that you can make space for things that are!  Lightweight throws are the perfect spring/summer sofa or chair accessory because you can curl up in them comfortably, even when it's hot outside!

Add Some Greenery/Fun Accessories
Flowers and plants are your best friends when it comes to bringing charm, beauty, and fragrant smells into your home. Pull out your vases, and stock fresh flowers of all kinds and colours in every room that you can! You can even get faux plants if you don’t want to buy the real thing!

Additionally, you can brighten up your space with fun warm weather accessories. Beachy wall art, lightly scented candles and fresh fruit arrangements are all great ways to decorate for the sunny months ahead.  

New Bedding
Bulky, heavy, warm bedspreads in the summer are bad news. Thick bedding ends up on the floor anyway because it's too hot to try to sleep with.  Put it away for the next few months and use a thin down comforter for a cooler night's sleep. And by the way, if you have access to simple white bedding, use it!  It's the perfect peaceful bedroom colour for the warmer months.

The best way to celebrate the season change is revamping your space. Hopefully these tips will help you brighten your space for spring and the coming summer!


10 Home Renovation Trends That Could Hurt Future Sales

Spring is the time for many major home remodeling projects. From installing new flooring to upgrading your porch or patio to any other number of home upgrades, warmer weather seems to signal the perfect timing for making renovations.

We also know that spring is a prime time for selling a home. While many buyers love a few upgrades, it pays to choose carefully when it comes to your renovations. Why? The design choices you make might not align with every buyer’s taste, which could hurt your potential for selling in a competitive market.

Here are 10 trendy renovation choices to avoid if you’re planning to sell your home in the future:

1. Overdoing it in the kitchen. Yes, granite countertops are appealing to many buyers. However, high-end appliances might not increase your resale value as you would hope. Sure, they are great if you’re planning to use them for the long term, but they probably won’t give your home an edge over others on the market.

2. Being overly bold with your paint choices. Who doesn’t want to follow current trends when it comes to paint colors? But if you’re going bold in a lot of parts in your home, you could be creating more work for yourself when it comes time to sell. Loud paint colors can be covered up, but it can be a time-consuming and costly process.

3. Forgetting about your curb appeal. Don’t get so caught up in renovating the interior or exterior of your home that you forget about your lawn and landscaping. Remember, your curb appeal is one of the first things that buyers notice about your home. Give it proper attention when you’re making renovations too.

4. Leaving out lighting. Like finely pruned landscaping, great lighting can be an awesome selling point in a home. So, if you’re doing a major design overhaul in any room, don’t forget about upgrading your lighting. Whether it is a new fixture or adding energy-saving bulbs, good lighting can increase your home’s appeal when it comes time to sell.

5. Buying on impulse alone. Typically, there are many parts to a remodeling project. Think about a kitchen renovation. You might choose new flooring, cabinets, countertops, appliances, and hardware. Be sure to coordinate your choices so that you’re creating a fluid look throughout the project. Otherwise, your result could be disjointed and even unappealing to buyers.

6. Only focusing on appearance. Together with coordinating design choices is making sure that your stylistic upgrades are supported by structural renovations too. It is one thing for your home renovation to look good, but if it negatively affects your home’s structure, it could cost you far more money – and a potential home sale – in the future.

7. Skimping on good materials. During a home renovation, you want to get the most for your money. But that doesn’t mean you should buy cheap materials simply to achieve a certain look. While they might be appealing at first, lower quality materials probably won’t last, which could cost you more in the long run.

8. Choosing the cheapest contractor. Like good materials, a good contractor can make your home renovation project last. When you’re ready to renovate, be sure to choose a reputable contractor. Otherwise, you could be paying for repairs – or a total redo – when it comes time to sell.

9. Thinking you don’t need a permit. This is especially true if you’re completing your spring home renovation projects by yourself. Be sure to check local regulations before demo day. If you make renovations without a needed permit, you could be fined or even asked to tear down your work!

10. Being the biggest home in the neighborhood. Finally, remember that while your renovations are meant to add beauty and value to your home, they do not need to make it the showiest home in your neighborhood. In fact, if your home is the biggest or most expensive in your neighborhood, you might not recoup your investments when you go to sell.

The bottom line when it comes to your spring home renovations: be sensible if you’re planning to sell in the future.


Forcing Spring Inside

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.

Forcing bulbs is a wonderful way to bring spring into the house a little early. It is easy to do, whether you are forcing bulbs in water or soil. And a great way to feel like spring is on its way!

Almost any spring blooming bulb can be forced to bloom indoors, but some spring blooming bulbs are more popular for bulb forcing. Some popular spring bulbs to force are

  • Daffodils
  • Amaryllis
  • Paperwhites
  • Hyacinth
  • Tulips
  • Crocus
Choose flower bulbs for forcing that are plump and firm. The larger the flower bulb is, the bigger the bloom will be.

With the exception of amaryllis, unless you have bought flower bulbs that have been specifically prepared for forcing, you will need to prepare them. Place them in a cold place, between 35 and 45 degrees F. (2-7 C.) for 10 to 12 weeks. Many people use either their refrigerator in the vegetable drawer or an unheated garage to do this. This is called pre-chilling. Once your flower bulbs have been pre-chilled, you can start forcing bulbs indoors in either water or soil.

When forcing bulbs in water, first choose a container to use for forcing. You can buy specific vases called forcing vases to grow your flower bulb indoors. These are vases that have a short, narrow necks and wide mouths. They allow the flower bulb to sit with only its roots in the water. You do not need a forcing vase to force a bulb to bloom in water. You can also use a pan or bowl filled with pebbles. Bury the bulbs halfway into the pebbles, with the points facing up. Fill the pan or bowl with water so that the lower quarter of the flower bulb is in the water. Make sure that the pan or bowl always has water.
Flower bulbs can also be forced inside in pots filled with soil. Fill the pot with a light potting mix. Do not use soil from your garden. Plant the flower bulbs you will be forcing half to three-quarters of the way deep into the pot. The pointy tops of the bulbs should be out of the soil. Water the bulbs and keep the soil moist.

Keep your planted bulbs in a cool place, 50 to 60 degrees F. (10-60 C.), until it starts to form leaves. This will help it to form a more compact flower stem, which is less likely to fall over. Once leaves appear, you can move the flower bulbs to a warmer location. They prefer bright, indirect light. Make sure to keep your forced bulbs watered. The roots should always have moisture. Once your forced bulbs have finished blooming, you can cut the spent flowers off and plant them outside.



Is Our Real Estate Market Due for a Big Correction?

The market has slowed from it staggering highs of 2021. But it still remains to be seen where home prices will go from here. Everyone is speculating.

The average price for a home in New Tecumseth was $800,668 in January 2023, according to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board. That’s down 1.2 per cent or $9,968 from December 2022 and down 30 per cent or $342,880 compared to January 2022.

There were 35 home sales in New Tecumseth after an average of 29 days on the market and 105 active listings at the end of January. Sales were down 14.6 per cent and active listings were up 275 per cent compared to a year ago.

The continued interest rate increases, as well as potential economic slowdown, are offering new opportunities to engage in the market for buyers and sellers because of improved affordability.

For buyers, this includes having fewer competitors, reduced prices and an increase in choices in the market. Meanwhile, sellers will have a trade-up advantage, reduced competition of listings, a stronger ability to re-locate to the suburbs. 

Looking for your opportunity to buy or sell in this changing market needs a knowledgeable guide. Have questions? I'd be happy to help!



Would You Try a Frame-Filled Accent Wall?

Bold DIY project adds drama to any space!

Sometimes we need a little drama in our lives. Don't let fear of making mistakes stop you from installing a gallery wall in your home.

Create a statement accent wall by hanging frames of different shapes and sizes, then cover everything with a fresh coat of paint — preferably something bold. Make sure to mix and match frames, using both horizontal and portrait orientations to add excitement. 

Craft stores, antique and secondhand retailers, as well as flea markets are all excellent resources for finding a variety of frames that speak to you.

Once you have established which pieces you'll be using, it's time to come up with a layout that works for you. Gallery walls may look effortless, but they take planning. So you will want to use the largest frames as an anchor piece and let the design shape the overall display.

What do you think? Would you try a bold gallery wall?


Tips For Online Home Searches

five tips to help you get your online home search started

Today’s home searches do not begin by simply driving by a “for sale” sign and stopping in to view a home. In many cases, buyers begin searching for their next properties from the comforts of their current homes.

In fact, online home searches have become such a reality for today’s home buyers that listing photos have become an integral part of curb appeal. If you’re planning to start your new home search online, how can you be sure you’re finding a home that will match your needs?

Here are five tips to help you get your online home search started:

1. Know your needs and wants list.
One major difference between searching for homes online and scouring local neighborhoods for available homes is the sheer number of homes available. If you don’t have a clear idea of the features you want to find in a home, you might spend a lot of time sorting through available inventory online to find even a couple homes that meet your desired criteria. Spend some time before you begin your search and determine the home features that are most important to you. Focus your online efforts on finding homes that meet all or most of those criteria.

2. Use available tools to narrow your home search.
Once you have a good grasp of the home features you’re looking for, allow online search capabilities to assist you! Use search filters to eliminate homes that are not in your price range, or those that do not have the features you’re looking for. Want a single-family ranch with at least three bedrooms, a finished basement, and a little yard space? Use search filters to find homes that might meet all or most of those wants.

3. Be sure to do neighborhood research.
You can learn a lot about a home through an online search. Once you find a home or homes that might be right for you, be sure to take time to learn about their neighborhoods too. Check out what kinds of restaurants, entertainment options, and amenities are nearby. Learn about the schools, commutes and crime rates too. Even if a home seems to have everything you’re looking for, it’s location might not be right for you and your family. Research any neighborhoods you might not be familiar with when you’re searching online.

4. Don’t believe everything you see.
A picture is worth 1,000 words, right? When it comes to an online home search, buyers might need to make sure those 1,000 words are accurate. Professional listing photos can paint an incredible picture of a home. And kudos to all sellers who represent their homes with awesome listing photos. But, buyers beware, seeing really is believing when it comes to a home. Let online photos draw you into a home, but take the next step and schedule a showing before becoming too captivated. Make sure the real thing lives up to the online representation during your home search.

5. Hire a professional to guide your search.
An online search is a great place to start looking for a new home. Once you find a home or a few homes that you’re interested in, allow a professional real estate agent to schedule showings for you. Once you share the homes you’re interested in with your agent, he or she might be able to point you to other homes that meet your desired criteria too. Of course, your agent will also represent your needs when it comes to negotiating a price, working with inspectors and other service professionals, and helping you get all the way to closing.


Beat Cold and Germ Season at Home

You might have noticed that subtly longer days and milder temperatures have been creeping back onto the scene lately. It’s true, spring is on the horizon. But we’re not in the clear just yet. In fact, in addition to those days of sunshine and fresh air we’ve been treated to recently, many of us also have been battling end-of-season cold and flu germs.

Once germs infest your home, they typically take a turn in each member of your family. To get your crew through to spring’s fresh air, here are eight ways to keep your home safe from germs:

1. Set (and keep) a cleaning schedule. Our first and best defense against germs is to keep a clean house. Of course, on top of your work and school schedule, home cleaning duties can be overwhelming. To make sure you’re not feeling like every Saturday must be devoted to cleaning your house from top to bottom, set a cleaning schedule where you tackle a task or two each day. This way, cleaning your home will be less of a chore—and more about keeping out germs that can make you sick.

2. Change your air filters. This chore is on every seasonal home maintenance task list out there. Though it might seem unnecessary at times, changing your HVAC system’s filter can help keep you safe from harmful germs. So, instead of dreading this regular home maintenance task—just make sure you do it on time each quarter. 

3. Circulate the air in your home. In winter, there can be a major lack of fresh air in our homes. Combat stagnant air by continuing to run your ceiling fans throughout the season. This will help improve your indoor air and keep those flu and cold germs from settling in your home.

4. Increase indoor humidity. Speaking of improving your indoor air quality in winter, make sure you invest in a humidifier for your home. The moisture in the air can help prevent sinus infections and other germs from manifesting.

5. Start spring cleaning early. Home cleaning tasks like vacuuming and dusting are easy to remember on a weekly basis. However, did you know that regularly wiping down your blinds and ceiling fans can help to prevent germs from finding a resting place in your home? Instead of saving these tasks for spring cleaning, tackle them before the warmer season arrives.

6. Always put the toilet seat down. Here is an easy defense against flu and cold germs—and any other germs for that matter. Simply keep your toilet seat down. Lowering the lid before you flush and when your toilet is not in use will help keep germs away from you and your family members.

7. Look at light switches, doorknobs, and remote controls. From your smartphone to your remote controls to doorknobs and beyond, so many things in our homes involve our touch. Take a look at your bathroom light switch for instance. You might be surprised at how much dirt and dust can compile in such a small area. Make it a habit to wipe down any devices, doorknobs, and other hand-friendly parts of your home.

8. Wash your hands. It’s advice that probably has come from every parent out there. Routinely wash your hands to prevent them from collecting and spreading any germs throughout your home. The advice is no different during cold and flu season. Step up hand-washing efforts around your home to help keep germs out.

The moral of this healthy home story? Give your home a little extra TLC – cleaning, maintenance, and care – to be sure you and your family stay germ-free for the remainder of cold and flu season. A healthier season will be here in no time at all!


Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nothing smells better than freshed baked goods!

Want to add a little warmth to your home, try this chocolate chip cookie recipe and have the smell of fresh baking in your house!


3 cups (380 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 sticks (227 grams) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature (67°F)
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups (247 grams) lightly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups (340 grams) semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and eggs. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.

If time permits, wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours but no more than 72 hours. This allows the dough to “marinate” and makes the cookies thicker, chewier, and more flavorful. Let dough sit at room temperature just until it is soft enough to scoop.

Divide the dough into 3-tablespoon sized balls using a large cookie scoop and drop onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Although I prefer cookies fresh from the oven, these can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 


10 Winter House Plants for Your Home

to add fresh energy to your space

Cold weather tends to keep some of us indoors during the long winter months. But there is some hope in battling the cabin fever that can make us feel a little blue. Houseplants are a great way to bring some fresh air and greenery into your home during winter.

What better way to start combatting cabin fever than by adding a few houseplants to your home? Here are 10 easy-to-care-for houseplants that can help bring fresh life to your home this winter and all year long:

1. Garden Mums: Still have some mums left over from this fall? Keep them around to help you get through the cold this winter. They’re colorful and they’ll help provide cleaner, fresher air in your home during any season.

2. Spider Plants: This is one type of spider you’ll always be glad to find in your home. Spider plants add great color and grow well with little care. In fact, this plant doesn’t need much light and is even happy when its soil dries out between watering.

3. Ficus Trees: Want to add some height to the greens in your home? Bring in a ficus tree that could grow to be taller than you! This houseplant does like a lot of light, but it can grow well with little water.

4. Aloe Plants: You probably already know that this plant’s gel can help soothe burns and cuts. But did you also know that an aloe plant can help soothe cabin fever? This sun-loving plant will help clean the air in your home in addition to showing off its bright green hue.

5. Peace Lilies: Not only will this plant help freshen the air in your home all year long, but its flowers will also be a welcome sight each summer. Peace lilies do well in shady areas and will droop a bit to let you know they need a drink of water.

6. Bamboo Palms: Though it is important to make sure this houseplant gets lots of water, the bamboo palm grows well in both sun and shade. It can last in a home for years, which makes this houseplant an excellent addition to your regular décor.

7. Dragon Trees: If you’re looking to add more than just fresh green to your home, consider the dragon tree. Its leaves can be either green or purple! The dragon tree doesn’t need much light and will happily live indoors or outside once warmer weather arrives.

8. Chinese Evergreen: Also known for its vibrant colors, the Chinese evergreen grows well with little light. It is great for most homeowners but is one that pet owners might want to stay away from as it can be toxic to our four-legged family members.

9. Snake Plants: Don’t be turned away by this houseplant’s name. The snake plant can be a beautiful addition to your home décor. The fact that it is easy to care for doesn’t hurt either! This plant does well in dry conditions with some sun and occasional water.

10. English Ivy: With just a little water, a little sun and a little shade, an English ivy plant can thrive in your home all winter long. In fact, it can live for several years. Or, once the weather breaks, you could transfer this houseplant outdoors to welcome spring.

Bring a little green into your home on these dreary winter days by picking up an easy-to-care-for green or two for your home decor.


​Buying a Home with Friends:

Conversations to Have Beforehand

Some of them have been around since you were a child. Some you may have found in college. Some may even be in your neighborhood or at work. No, I'm not talking about your sweater collection—though sweater season is in full swing. I'm talking about your friends. You know, the people who you rely on, confide in and maybe even vacation with.

You probably have no reservations about sharing secrets with your friends, but have you ever considered sharing a mortgage with them? It is not uncommon for friends to join forces to take on a second mortgage for a vacation home or investment property. It seems like a no-brainer, right? You’ve already vowed to be friends forever. A 15-or-30-year mortgage should be no problem

However, even the most maintenance-free friendships can face some tough times when it comes to sharing a home purchase. That is unless both parties are prepared for what co-ownership may bring. If you’re considering buying a second home with a friend, here are three major conversations you must have first.

1) How will you split the costs?

Unless you and a friend are planning to pay for a second home with cash, you’ll both be responsible for making monthly mortgage payments on the property. And, no, splitting a mortgage is not like splitting the bill for a night out. Having a conversation about fees like the down payment, closing costs and monthly mortgage payment is crucial before you even begin to consider looking at homes together.

While you’re chatting, don’t forget to include other monthly homeownership fees like utilities, regular maintenance, homeowner association dues or other services.

It is also important to bring up potential scenarios like plumbing issues, roof leaks or other home damage. How will you split all of the certain costs that come along with owning a home?

2) What will happen if someone is unable to hold up their end of the deal or wants to get out of the mortgage?

Any conversation about the potential costs of owning a second home must be accompanied by a conversation about what will happen in the event that one or both parties is unable to make their payments or wants to leave the agreement altogether.

Though this conversation may not be as fun as reminiscing about your long history together, it is a must-have talk before you can confidently enter a home purchase with a friend.

With all the excitement of potentially owning a vacation home or investment property, who wants to get mired down by thinking about the negative aspects of sharing a mortgage?

But, hard times happen for everyone. Before they happen in your blissful home-buying experience, have a plan. Will one person take over the entire mortgage payment? Will you be forced to sell the property? Make sure you consider the “what ifs” before you and your friend are forced into an uncomfortable situation.

3) How will you use your new property?

Once you get the tougher financial conversations out of the way, you can begin to consider the possibilities of what it will be like to own a second home with your friend. If you’re planning to purchase the home as a vacation property, you’ll need to decide if you’re going to split time there, vacation together or rent it out on a seasonal basis.

If you and a friend are looking to buy a second home as an investment property (or if you’re planning to rent out that vacation home), you’ll need to draft a rental agreement, plus decide how you’ll deal with tenants and their issues. You’ll also need to map out a plan for marketing and maintaining your property so that it continues to be a worthwhile investment.

Are you prepared to have a few tough financial conversations with a friend? Are you also prepared to face a few certain disagreements along the way to happy homeownership?

If you confidently answered “yes,” you—and your friendship—may be ready to stand the test of owning a second home together!



Warm up this winter with a cozy bowl of soup

Warm up even the chilliest winter night with a cozy bowl of this butternut squash soup. This recipe is super easy. 


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium butternut squash (3 pounds), peeled and cubed
4 cups vegetable broth
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Optional: Additional heavy whipping cream and crispy sage leaves


In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
Stir in squash, broth, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 10-15 minutes or until squash is tender. Puree soup using an immersion blender. Or cool slightly and puree soup in batches in a blender; return to pan. Add cream; cook and stir until heated through. If desired, garnish with additional heavy whipping cream and crispy sage.



Interior Design Trends in 2023

Trends being revealed for 2023 are focused on sustainable, natural materials, as well as objects that hold meaning, or memories. The pandemic induced a need to update and beautify our homes, but it also had us evaluating meaning and value behind our choices.

There has also been a greater emphasis on making our homes feel calm and cozy in the face of so much global uncertainty. As a result, we’re seeing a pull toward tranquil colour schemes, a pairing down of clutter to highlight our most meaningful objects, and a use of sustainable material that are kinder to the planet. 

Because of the trend muted colors are coming into focus, with inspiration being drawn from nature. Think outdoors brought indoors, with warm daylight, natural wood tones and earthy greens.

If the last three years has taught us anything, it is that life can change in the blink of an eye. Adaptable living spaces that can be easily converted for multiple use are the key going forward. 

Perhaps one day you want to use that little corner of your living room as music area, and the next day you want to use it as a home office. Or maybe your extra room needs to double as your yoga studio  and a guest space. 

Trends here to stay in 2023 are focused on earthy and earth friendly materials, as well as a return to objects that hold meaning as a way to beautify our living spaces.