Sunday, 23 September 2012

Babies, Biltmore & Business, Oh My!

Hola Chicas (& chicos)!! :) 
I have got to stop this habit of not blogging for weeks and then overloading with one major long blog post!!!

I swear, I have no clue where 2012 has gone...? 
It has just flown by! I can not believe it is FALL already!
(my favorite time of year by the way!)

I'll just go ahead and throw it all out there this post ... no beating around the bush ... 
I moved to Keller Williams! 
I am super excited about the new opportunities that I have been presented with in my real estate career! This past 2 weeks has been totally crazy and hectic because I decided to make a change in my life and switch from RE/MAX over to KW... it was a hard decision ... and I literally thought about it for a month. I loved my previous office and all the people there :( but just felt like I could grow my business more at my new office. With that said, I have started my own Real Estate Team! Woop Woop!! :) 

Take a look at this ... 

My new logo :) 

How do you feel about it?? I'm pretty pumped! 

This also took some thinking ... but when Chris and I get married next year, I didn't want to give up Gentry only because I have built my business around my name for the last 7 years!! So I decided I will hyphenate, and be Dana Gentry-Jackson. Which prompted my new team name! 

This week will be crazy switching everything over (think 30 signs, business cards, new website, marketing info, blah blah blah!) ... but I am excited! I already started with the bloggy, so take a look around at the "my business" and "about me" tabs, as they are slightly new ;)

A lot has happened since my last post so just to sum it up ...

You know my adorable Godson, Connor ... right ??

Well ... his BABY BROTHER is here!!! :) 

(Idk why those dang black lines are on there?!)
He is adorable ... that is a cute little collage his aunt Steph made from the day he was born.
PS. How good does my BFF Chrissy look in that pic? Eye makeup done and all! Ha! She's a trooper! <3

Carson Alexander :)
Is that the sweetest face you have ever seen in your life or what?
 I am obsessed. Purely obsessed. Love him so much. 

Last weekend we had a busy weekend ... 

On Friday night we attended the Art of Making Miracles Charity Event for the Makenna Foundation in the RE/MAX parking lot ... this was the 12th year and it was awesome! 
KY Wildcat Theme this year!  

Chris and I came home with some goodies ... 
One of which being this... that I won for Chris for his bday :) 

Thats right ... an autographed pic of Anthony Davis, #1 NBA draft pick and 2012 National Defensive Player of the year candidate ... not to mention a UK Wildcat legend! Ha! It was our trophy piece of the night ;) 
Chris was VERY excited! 
It was an awesome night raising money for a great cause!!

In case you're wondering where the picture is now .. Ohhhh in my hallway, where a really cute mirror WAS hanging ha ... pick your battles ;) that is what I am telling myself LOL 

The next morning, Chris, myself, my brother and my dad left out early to head to Ashville, NC to my cousins wedding at the Biltmore House.
We had sooo much fun!!

Her wedding was beautiful! She looked beautiful! It was perfect. 
How pretty were her flowers on the tables?
For favors they gave little personalized jars of honey ... it was adorable! 

Jessica & Me :) 

Chris & I <3
(Dress is from Bella Rose in Lexington)

My other Chris ... my brother... ha :) 

The next day while we were there we went to the Biltmore and toured it ... it was AMAZING!!
If you have never been I would highly suggest going ... it was so neat! Ashville is the cutest little place and the mountains were beautiful! 

Here are a few pics from the day ... 

So insane. Loved this place! 

The flower garden behind the Biltmore

My dad, me and my bro. 

I have a million pics ... but didn't have time to upload them all! 
We had a blast! 
We also visited Bravard College in NC, which is where Chris went to school ... it was fun to see! :) 

Next .... 
I didn't get to give a shout out on Grandparent's Day ... ;( 
But we had a great time celebrating with Chris's parents and the kids ... 

I ended the night talking to my Papaw on the phone ... and watching Frankie sleep like a spoiled baby ha!

Ok that is about all the major stuff over the last two weeks! 

This week I am working on our wedding website and app! Anyone have any tips? Would love to hear them!
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My love story with Dinner, A Love Story

I have followed the blog, Dinner, A Love Story for a while now and I recently read my friend, Ada's review of the Dinner, A Love Story cookbook on her blog, Spark!. After reading her review, I decided to add Dinner: A Love Story: It all begin as the family table to my cookbook collection. Not since 50 Shades of Grey (yes I read all three books), have I turned the pages of a book so quickly. The author, Jenny keeps a dinner diary and has since 1998. This book is the story of how Jenny and her husband, Andy started cooking and serving dinner every night for their family and what they learned along the way. It is filled with real advice on working parents trying to get meals on the table. Added bonus...they also have a picky eater that reminds me of Clyde. I am really excited about the new ideas and recipes I have uncovered in the book.

My old method for capturing our weekly menus!

I have had a dinner diary of sorts for a while now with my menu planners but most weeks they are scribbled in an old notebook or on post-its. Dinner: A Love Story has inspired me to start an actual dinner diary. I have a nicely bound red notebook that was a Christmas gift from a co-worker years ago. I have yet to write the first word in the book but it will now become my diary. I think it will be neat to look back and get inspiration from previous meals and see how things change year after year. I am also hoping to incorporate some of the meals into dinners that everyone in the family actually eats. Right now, Michael and I are eating one dish and Camille and Clyde something else but we are eating together. Oh and sometimes Clyde is naked or only in his underwear at dinner and one night he cried on the floor under his chair for most of the time the rest of us were eating. We are trying!  Baby steps, right? 

Here goes with our first dinner diary entry.

Monday - Whole Roasted Chicken in the Crockpot, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Tuesday - Taco Soup from Dinner: A Love Story (using leftover chicken from night before)
Wednesday - Buttermilk Oven Friend Chicken with Rainbow Salad from Dinner: A Love Story going to try to get Camille & Clyde to eat. Fingers crossed!
Thursday - Kickin' Mini Meatloafs with Beans & Rice, Corn
Friday - Chicken Parmesan Burgers with French Fries

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Are the stars aligned?

As mentioned in this post, I have two back to school year dinner as a family and implement a chore and good eater chart. We have had some success with family dinner and the reward chart. Woot! Woot!

Our Toys R Us is moving locations so they have most of the store for 30% off. I went and selected about six $5-10 toys (three that would interest Camille and three for Clyde). I wanted to get something a little more significant then a Dollar Tree find. I put the toys in a large basket and they are hidden in the attic. Camille got stars for cleaning her room, helping me empty the dishwasher, and setting the table. Clyde got stars for picking up his toys, staying in his room until his tot clock turns yellow at 7 am and pooping in the potty (woohoo!). Both got stars for being clean clubbers. After 15 stars, they got to pick something from the basket. It was a fun exercise and they seem excited about getting the next 15 stars.

We are on our second row of stars now, about five in...we have slowed a little in the frequency and Clyde seems to be coming around to potty training (finally after 5 short months) so he is not getting stars for those tasks. The charts and rules are evolving but hopefully we can keep it up.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Menu Planner

I am a little late getting this goes...

Monday - Robin Miller Pork Soft Tacos

Tuesday - Chicken Paprikash

Wednesday - Pizza with homemade crust from my freezer

Thursday - Turkey Burger & Fries

Hope everyone had a good weekend. We spent some time at Sandbridge hoping to enjoy one last dip in the ocean but it was cold! So I made a trip to TJMaxx...Long Sleeve Ralph Lauren Polos & Jeans on clearance for Clyde, a new purse & tennis shoes for me, Levis jeggings for my skinny Camille.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Bar Stool Refresh

When we completed our kitchen remodel in December 2009, we had a bunch of furniture to buy for the room (not to mention the expense of the remodel) as well as Christmas presents so our budget was spread pretty thin. We purchased some inexpensive bar stools from Target and they took quite a beating from our children however I don't think they were made well to start with. I would love to get some news ones but it still isn't in the budget so in the meantime, I spent about $12 and spray painted them.

I am happy with the results.They do look much better however still not perfect. I sanded the tops with sandpaper that was too rough so you can see the lines but an improvement nonetheless.

I used Rust-Oleum's Painter's Touch Ultra Cover 2X in Glossy Black. It did a great job covering with no primer. I used 2.5 bottles for all 4 stools.


Sunday, 9 September 2012

Weekend Recap

Today is my birthday. We celebrated by having a few friends over for drinks, dinner and Pearls cupcakes last night. It was fun and Michael cooked, planned, organized the whole thing. Super sweet husband!

Oh and we have had some success with eating dinner as a family. I hope we can keep it up.

Monday - Crockpot Ranch Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Tuesday - World's Best Lasagne (from the freezer)

Wednesday - Baked Potato Soup (from the freezer),  Mozzarella  & Prosciutto Panini

Thursday - Crock Pot Beef & Broccoli 

Apartment Property Management

Apartment property management is considered the managing of a multi-unit rental property and the residents or tenants that occupy it. These properties can range from small multi-unit buildings to very large complexes housing hundred of residents. Residential property management is a more industry used term and could include the managing of single-family homes as well as apartment complexes.

As you can imagine the managing of these types of properties can become quite complex and time consuming in comparison to managing a single-family house. Many owners of apartment buildings do not have the time, expertise or the desire to manage such on their own. In these cases, it is recommended to hire a qualified property management company that specializes in apartment property management.

Responsibilities of an Apartment Property Manager

Here are just a few apartment property management responsibilities that could be required of anyone managing an apartment building:

  • Rent collection

  • Showing available units to prospective tenants

  • Credit and background checks

  • Initiating lease contracts

  • Monitoring and processing lease renewals

  • Enforcing the rules of a lease contract

  • Dealing with violators of a lease contract

  • Handling an eviction from start to finish

  • Mediator when feuds between tenants occur

  • Utilities

  • Grounds keeping

  • Security and safety of premise

  • All types of maintenance issues or repairs you could think of

  • Knowledge of landlord/tenant law

  • Knowledge of fair housing laws

Not ready to manage your Apartment Buildings YourselfThe good news is you can enjoy all the financial benefits of owning these types of properties but not have to deal with the managerial responsibilities of managing them. Some apartment building investors though may decide to take on certain responsibilities themselves. This is a great way to educate yourself, learn from real life experience the in's and out's of the real estate investing business and of course save some money. That being said, we highly recommend acquiring legal advice or counsel if you are unfamiliar with landlord/tenant and fair housing laws in your state and at the federal level.

Hiring an Apartment Property Management company

There are many apartment property management companies in your area who are well-qualified, licensed, and well versed in city, state and federal laws regarding the responsibilities between landlord and tenant. If you're ready to delegate the management of your apartment building today, we recommend interviewing several apartment property management companies. Having an apartment property manager on site at your apartment complexes is a good idea, especially when you cannot oversee the maintenance and renting business that comes with owning larger properties. Often, on-site apartment property managers that maintain apartments will be given their own apartment as part of their compensation.

Things to ask before hiring an apartment property management company

Experience - How long in business. Does the Apartment Property Management team have a proven system in place to streamline operations such as maintenance repair, timely statements, rental deposits, and communication channels? More companies are giving owners access to their property account information via a web site portal. Here you can view your statements, any repair items or rent deposits..etc.

Credentials - Does the Apartment Property Management team possess all licenses or certification required by state law? Unfortunately every state licensing requirement is different. We always recommend using a licensed Property Manager for all your rental property needs whether state required or not.

What percentage of their management portfolio are apartment complexes. If 90% of their portfolio is managing single-family homes, you may want to consider hiring one with more experience in managing larger multi-units.

Get references - Always ask for a current list of properties they manage (do some drive-by's) and talk to other property owners who are their clients.

We suggest hiring a local real estate lawyer to review the Manager/Owner contract and the Landlord/Tenant contract. And don't be afraid to request changes be made if necessary.

And go over all the fees involved in the management of your property. Set up fees, lease renewal fees, do they impose a mark up fee for service/repair calls etc. Find out what their cancellation policy is too. Once you think you've got all your questions answer, then ask this one "Are there any other fees I should know about that we have not discuss that may affect me?"

Investing in apartments for cash flow

Investing in apartment buildings is a great way to build your real estate wealth. Typically these types of properties do well for cash flow to the investor versus single-family houses where you may see appreciation in value more common. When qualifying these types of properties for your portfolio you will want to take into account the passive income that will be generated along with the expense ratio. It's all about the numbers. A good apartment property management company should be able to help you in your decision-making.

Is The Property Management Business For You? Mini Guide For Real EstateInvestors - Part 1

This mini guide for real estate investors is written to help entrepreneurs like you with the mystery of property management career. The investment risks are higher when decisions are made without enough information. By now you know that you want to invest profitably in real estate or already started the process. All the motivation is coming from your desire for financial independence. I know that, because I am with you right on the very same goal.

Assume you have just purchased your investment property. It does not matter whether it is a 10--unit apartment building, a small office building or a single--family home. It is an attractive rental property and you are asking a fair market value rent.

You should have no problem attracting tenants and maintaining a high level of occupancy. What happens with the tenants once they move in is going to depend on you.

The problems with property management are not caused by the business itself, as much as by a lack of education. The property management is the most misunderstood parts of real estate investing. If you do not have good property management, then you will have high management costs, bad tenant relationships, high vacancies and that will be the end of your business.

You would consider these ideas in making your managing investment decision; I did it when I started:

  1. The money you save, by doing property management, may mean the difference between a positive or a negative cash flow for your rental business.

  2. Managing your own properties, at least in the beginning and learning the management business is something to consider. After you become familiar with the manager responsibilities and acquire more properties, you will be able to do a better job of managing professional managers.

  3. More management and investment resources are available at my website.

How I start my property management? I went to school to gain my knowledge before facing the real life competition. I start my property management from the bottom up. My previous experience with real estate renting was being a good tenant for about five years in two different places.

Eight years ago I passed the real estate agent state examination and I worked for two brokers and managed properties on the side to build experience. I got my associate broker license in real estate about four years ago.

We resettled in the U. S. A. coming from communist collapsing East Europe, in 1990. Our assets at that time were intangible, mechanical engineering education and big hopes.

We did not have this game of "getting rich with properties" in the socialist economies. Actually, it was forbidden to even think about owning properties. It took me five years to comprehend there is a less risky way of investing by using real estate properties and rentals.

For $50 and about one hour conversation with our previous property manager -- a very nice lady -- I was in business. The management forms I received helped me to build my forms and gave me enough confidence before the closing on my first apartment building. I was on my way, investing in real estate and managing my own properties for profit. This is how I started my property management career. Now, I appreciate a property management career or a job in property management a lot more.

I am not preaching here to manage your rentals yourself forever. For us, property management is part of getting the necessary life experience to succeed in this new country.

Dealing with people and their needs gets messy if you do not use a system. Qualifying the potential applicant over the telephone saves time and money. Renting real estate is the toughest part of the property management job. Here is how my qualifying filter system is working:

The local newspaper classified ads bring most of my renting real estate applicants. I call them Potential Applicants (PA) before submitting the rental application. I give to potential applicants enough info in the newspaper, so they may drive by and talk with our tenants. The prospect applicant should come ready, wanting to rent the apartments from us, because we take good care of the tenants and the apartments.

This is what I want with my ads.

"My town, clean 1 bedroom apt. $500 plus deposit, utilities included, A/C, coin laundry available, 123 Main Street, (222) 333-4444"

They have the address for the location, that the utilities are free and my cell phone number. Here are examples of first conversations over the phone with the potential applicants (PA).

PA: Hello, is the apartment available? Me: Yes, when you want to move in? My name is Ernest. PA: Thanks, my name is Mary. It is for my son John; He is planning to move soon. Me: Sorry, is it a strong reason way your son can't call himself?

(My experience tells me I may stop here and deal with the real party later, the relatives or friends have a different agenda sometime. In reality, I continue giving information about renting.)

The son is calling me later.

PA: Where is this apartment located?

Me: At the corner of Main and Grand, next to the gas station, across the Seven Eleven. Look for apartment no.30. You can drive by and get from "Take One" box, an application with info printed the other side. PA: Do you accept pets?

Me: What do you have in mind as pet? (Reptiles, rodents, dangerous dogs, etc are not on my list, I ask because the applicant will talk and I can mind his/her personality).

PA: It was my aunt' cat and she is 10 years old, etc. Me: Yes, we accept a qualified cat with a "Pet agreement". The no refundable fee is $175. Do you have some pay stubs from your job? That will help us to check your employment; or

PA: No, I receive social security checks, I am on disability.

(To assume when renting real estate that all tenants on assistance or seniors will be bad is wrong. Some may get a co-signer.)

Me: Sorry we only take applications if the total monthly documented net income is 3 times the rent. The no refundable application fee is only $20 and we do a credit report request and pay a different company for that service. (Some applicants just gives up after this phrase.); or

PA: Yes I work two jobs: manager at Mac Donald and telephone marketing at night. My girlfriend is working as telephone marketer. Together we make $1400 a month.

(This is a border line situation, they may pay for a few months and something is happening and girl/boy friend is gone. He/she no longer qualifies by income requirements. In this cases if the vacancy is hurting me and I cannot wait for a better applicant, I might take them, but the lease will have a clause: "If he or she intends to leave any time, they both must leave at the same time"); or:

PA: Yes, I work part-time at "Printing Nice" and I am full-time student. It is my fist time out of home; my mom may co-sign the lease.

Me: OK, bring your mom when you want to see the apartment.

PA: We want to see it, Saturday morning at 12 noon, it is our time to look for apartments.(PA may put some pressure on you)

Me: OK, see you then, at apartment no.30 second floor, a sign "For Rent" is in the window/door.

The potential applicant interview is very important. You have to see face to face the potential applicant and their pet. Watch their car how clean is outside and inside and get an idea about how much that person care about personal staff.

My "good tenant" definition is: A good tenant is paying always on time, takes care of apartment, is friendly and comprehends "quiet enjoyment" words.

It is better for me to wait for the right applicant and do not rush to make a buck. Also, I discovered that the service to society, the humanity we share is coming after you take care of our business. Otherwise you will not be in this business for very long time.

Eleven Key Attributes of a Good Property Manager

Property Management is a career profession. The industry allows for employment growth, continual learning experiences, and the opportunity to work with diverse people and income groups. The Property Manager can work either directly for an owner of real estate properties, or for a property management company, contracted by an owner or legal entity to care for the real estate over a specific period of time.

The Property manager has a fiduciary relationship with the management company and property owner. A fiduciary relationship is one that is based on a mutual trust and complete confidence in one another.

The Property Manager is provided an owner's real estate portfolio to manage to its "highest and best use" in exchange for an employment contract or salary. Real estate assignments for the property manager includes apartment buildings, condominiums, hotels, storage facilities, shopping centers, office buildings, government subsidized properties, rooming houses, abandoned buildings and plots of vacant land, to name a few.

I have managed almost all of the above types of properties for over twenty years. I have managed public and private housing, for non-profit organizations, for the federal government, and for private developers and real estate investors. I also owned my own property management company for eight years. I now teach, speak, and write about property management standards and techniques. Here are some crucial skills, which I know from first hand experience, must be accepted as required attributes and learned skills in order to be a good property manager.

1. Must Know and Stay Current on Local Ordinances and State Laws

Managers are required to perform their work according to the laws of the land. The government (city, state, and federal) dictates how real estate is to be managed, from requiring a real estate license (depending on the state), to the use of the real estate (such as rent control laws). From proper trash removal to how and where we must keep security deposits, the manager has to keep abreast of the many legal requirements of managing real estate. If a mistake is made or a task is forgotten, it could cost the owner his or her property, and/or a management company's reputation, loss of the account, or even the loss of real estate licenses.

2. Must Be Highly Ethical and Honest

Property Managers work on the Honor Code when they handle other people's money. By collecting rent, security deposits, laundry machine money et al, the property manager holds a fiduciary relationship with the property owner and/or management company. The owner entrusts the property with thousands of dollars each month, plus the value of the real estate itself. The manager is hired to perform at his or her highest level of integrity. On a daily basis, the property manager's good judgment and sense of what is right and wrong is called into play.

3. Must be Detail Oriented and Organized

Managers collect the rent daily, and must ensure that each rent is paid and posted to the tenants' account as received. Financial records detailing each and every rent transaction are kept, either by rent cards, or on the computer. Lease expirations and renewals, rent increase letters, and rent invoices must be mailed on time. lines for court appearances must be kept, and clients must receive their written monthly report of operations. A skilled property manager is able to multi-task, keep site files organized, and prioritize repairs and assignments.

4. Must Have Good Communication Skills

Managers must be able to communicate with people from all walks of life, cultures, ethnicities, and personalities. Managers must be able to articulate their cases in front of judges, talk to the owner, negotiate with vendors as well as speak appropriately with tenants, who are often frustrated, upset, or angry. A good manager must be able to stay calm, and communicate in a professional manner. Familiarity speaking in other languages is always a plus.

5. Must have Good Computer Skills

Computer competency is a technical skill, like driving, typing, etc. The use of email, mail merge, and faxing through the computer is at the heart of property management today. This is especially true if the property is on one part of the city or state, and the home office is a distance away from the site. If a manager does not have a solid command of the computer and its basic programs, such as Microsoft Word and the spreadsheet Excel, you may be hard pressed to find an administrative position in this field.

6. Should Like Working with the Public

If everyone paid the rent on time by the fifth day of each month, the manager would not have rent collection work to do. If a property never had problems, such as toilet overflows, lost keys, or defective smoke detectors, a property manager would have little to do. Therefore, it is important that a manager enjoy dealing with people with problems. A manager should at least like helping tenants with dignity, and in a responsible manager. If you do not like being interrupted several times a day with a dilemma to solve, this type of job may not be for you.

7. Must Be Patient and Have a Sense of Humor

There is some pressure involved working with the public. There are days when nothing seems to go right, and if you happen to have a headache that day, it could be a long 9 to 5. A calm personality or a good sense of humor will take you a long way in property management. If you tend to be high-strung, anxious, or become angry or impatient while working with tight deadlines or with people with problems, you may want to re-consider taking on this profession.

8. Must Like to Read and Conduct Research

There are many types of leases, agreements, forms, and other legal documents that must be signed between tenants, the manager, government agencies, the site attorney, and/or the owner. Real estate and governmental regulations change; the manager must be willing to read up on them and stay current. Documentation must be read and checked before submitted to tenants, agencies, the owner, etc. If you do not like to read in order to keep up with the latest trends, legal and industry changes and terminology used, you will not be able to properly do your job.

9. Must Have a Strong Sense of Duty and Commitment

Ensuring that the tenants under your control are treated with respect, have heat and hot water, are not subjected to or committing illegal activities or disruptive behavior of their neighbors, are some of the managers' duties. Tenants depend on the manager's sense of obligation to the property and the families or professionals who live in it. The manager may not always have the funds to do everything all the time, but what can and should be done, such as keeping the building clean, and having a sense of urgency to get work completed in a timely manner.

10. Should be Flexible-Minded

Property Management is a fluid profession, in that it follows economic, governmental, industry, and societal changes that impacts how a property is managed. Managers who still like the "good old days" of mistreating tenants and making rental applicants jump through unnecessary hoops to get an apartment (or the opposite, by not checking anything), will find him or herself out of touch, and maybe out of a job. The ability to accept changes of law, obey fair housing laws, have a positive, or at least a neutral, attitude about people who are different, and above all, to be open-minded, is a key element of a successful manager.

11. Must Be an Excellent Follow-Up Person

A manager can never assume that a repair or rent payment plan will happen on its own. Our mantra is: "Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up!" This is one of the most critical skills of a good property manager. The ability to multi-task, keeping several balls in the air without dropping any of them is challenging, and difficult at times. The ability to successfully multi-task is often rewarded both financially and in promotion decisions.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

New Artist Find & Fall Stuff

Happy Thursday friends :)

Let's talk about what my life consists of these days ...

1. Work
2. Work.
3. More work
4. Wedding Planning (fun!)
5. Getting on Pinterest and obsessing over wedding stuff and new fall clothes every night before bed ha!

That pretty much sums it up :) No but really, I have been having a busy week as usual ... doing big things with my real estate business right now and have been spending some time getting a new logo made, doing some research on getting more in tune with the SEO search engine stuff, blah blah blah haha not super exciting things, but things that are a necessity in the crazy world of real estate!

I am ready to take my business to the next level so I have been kicking it high gear!
Can't wait to share my logo and new stuff once it get's finished!

In the meantime, I am making a BIG change and ordered a Mac yesterday ...

I know, I know ... you're thinking how in the world have I not gotten one thus far in life? 
Honestly I was so afraid to switch from PC that I have procrastinated. 
BUT, with the iPhone, my iPad that I use every day, and the fact that I am so sick of cleaning viruses off of my computers... I figured it was time to switch!  

Anyone have any tips or suggestions? Please pass them along ha I will be in training for a while once this beast gets here ;)

Couple things I have discussed on Fbook but not gotten to blog about yet... 

A few weeks ago Chris, myself and Frankie (field trip day for him ha!) went to the Woodland Art Fair downtown Lex and scooped up one of my favorite paintings by the most awesome artist EVER!

Chris Hartsfield 
Watercolor Realisms 
He is amazzzzzzzing ... I was midly obsessed with him.

This is my favorite one we bought ...
(**We did not buy his originals, they are super pricey and out of my budget ha, these are copies but look so good and exactly like the originals!**)

"Kentucky Faves" 
My picture on my phone honestly does not do it justice, but it's pretty awesome right? 
I love how custom he makes them to your hometown. I thought they looked kind of rustic so picked up this frame at Hobby Lobby and then Chris actually stained it a few days ago and it looks better now that it is darker! :) 

I hung it right in the kitchen, next to my newly painted kitchen and chalk board painted pantry door! :)
Everyone has commented on it and thought the painting was awesome!

I got two smaller ones for the bathroom but am waiting until those dang frames go 50% off at Hobby Lobby!
But they are pretty cute too ...

 Can't find the name of the mint julep one :( 

"Old Fashion Aristocrats"

I loved both of these too. Very Kentucky-like ;) and Southern. Chris nor myself even drink bourbon lol but I  still think they are just super cute!

He has other states that he does stuff for as well ... check out his website at

Let's see... what else ... oh speaking of Kentucky ... 

While showing houses last week look what I opened the back door to see in one backyard ...

Yes, your vision is correct ... a real life UK shrub hahahahaha
If that is not a KY Wildcat Fan then I don't know what is! 
How funny is that? Love it! 

The kids are doing good ... 
They had picture day last week, so of course I made them do a small photo-op before heading to school ... 

They looked so cute! :)

And of course someone had to be involved too in the model session ... 

He's home-schooled 
hahahahaha ;) 
So we had pretend picture day!

Lastly, some Pinterest ... 
I am soooo ready for Fall clothes ... anyone else? 

I am obsessing over the following: 

This mayan tribal chunky cardigan ... love it! 

love her leather pants, short jacket and super cute scarf! 

I love a black dress with boots ... and the tweed jacket is a total fave! 

Big chunky sweaters that are comfy of any kind are my absolute favorite! 

love a little bit of cheetah print somewhere ha 

I am obsessing over this chevron hammered knuckle ring!

Ok gotta go show houses! 
Can't wait for the weekend ... Saturday I might get to relax and not work for a day! yayy! 
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Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Back To School Menu Planner

Picture on my mom's front porch
We had meet the teacher day today and tomorrow school starts for real! Here goes with the back to school menu planner. PS...I failed at family dinner last week. I am having a hard time holding the kids off until Michael gets home from work. We will keep trying.

Tuesday - Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breasts with Cannellini Bean, Roasted Red Peppers & Kale

Wednesday - Tacos with Ground Chicken & Black Beans

Thursday - Brown Butter Gnocchi (carryover from last week)

Friday - Kickin' Chicken with Crunch, Vigo Black Beans & Rice, Corn

Monday, 3 September 2012

Back to School with Lands' End!

Tomorrow school starts (woohoo!) and for the past few weeks I have been stocking up on items to start the year. I have found the cutest things at Lands' End recently.  They always have an additional percentage off if you sign up for e-mails and our local Sears will take the items back if they don't fit or aren't as expected.

Here are some of my finds. Side note....some of these finds are from summer but they still have them if you wanted to stock up for next year.

Bikini Top

Bikini Bottom

Rain Shoe
Legging with Zipper



And look at these cute Halloween totes...more expensive than the ones you can find at Marshalls or even Dollar Tree but really cute to look at it. I am considering....

Halloween Tote