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Real Estate and *stuff*

A real person helping real people with real estate

By Amy Mullen, Realtor CPA | Agent in Marlborough, MA
  • Got a gift card you don’t want…trade it!

    Happy holidays!  Seasons greetings!  Merry merry merry!

    Here are some great sites to add to you bookmarks…

    cardpoolhttp://www.cardpool.com:  Buy and sell gift cards!  If you received a gift card that you’re not going to use – don’t waste it!  Sell it on cardpool.com and buy one that you will use!



    airbnbwww.airbnb.com:  Traveling for the holidays?  Your favorite hotel booked up?  Use this site to rent a home in the area you want to stay in. Pictures, contact information and rates included.  Listings in 192 countries and 33,382 cities!  It’s easy to find a great place to stay at a great rate!



    barterquesthttp://www.barterquest.com:  This is like trading your lunch in school but a great place to turn an unwanted Christmas sweater into a new set of ear buds!  Don’t let your gift giver’s money to go waste and trade up for something that you really wanted.



  • Buying Bargain Plants – late summer sales are here!

    Posted Under: Shopping & Local Amenities in Massachusetts, Curb Appeal in Massachusetts, Going Green in Massachusetts  |  August 24, 2012 3:42 AM  |  651 views  |  1 comment

    azaleas-at-augusta-lyle-huiskenNow is a great time to buy plants and trees on sale. But bargains come at a price.  If you like bargains, you’ll love the late-summer/early-fall sales nurseries stage to clear out inventories.

    “Fall is a fantastic planting season,” says horticulturalist David Yost of Merrifield Garden Center in Virginia. “You can find plants for a really great price.”

    Buying plants and trees now, however, can be a little dicey. Some have lost their blooms, so you don’t know exactly what color you’re buying — fine if you’re adding to a naturalized landscaping plan; a design mistake if you have formal gardens.

    However, if you can stand a little suspense in spring, you can save money by buying now. Here are bargains to look for.

    • Azaleas and rhododendrons: They won’t have blooms, so you won’t know their exact hue, but their tags will indicate their color family.
    • Tropicals: Buy hibiscus and bougainvillea now for a pittance, and nurse them through winter in a sunny place indoors. Then transplant in spring.
    • Annuals: They’re cheap now because they’re not cold-hardy and will die at the first hard frost. So be aware that you’re buying a splash of color for the next few months only.
    • Broken branches: Like dented cans, plants with imperfections like broken branches often are good bargains. If the plant otherwise looks healthy, buy it.
    • Lost tags: Many nurseries put tagless plants on sale. You’ll be able to tell the plant family but not the species or color family. You’re buying a pig in a poke. But if you’ve got space to fill and don’t care too much about the hue, tagless can save you money.
    Remember to thoroughly water when you plant. And check every three or four days to make sure the soil is damp — like a sponge — not sopping or dry.
  • Top 10 Wild Kitchen Gadgets You’ll Use Only Once

    Posted Under: General Area in Marlborough, Quality of Life in Marlborough, Shopping & Local Amenities in Marlborough  |  December 6, 2011 3:05 AM  |  2,601 views  |  1 comment

    I found this article last night and I couldn’t resist.  I thought it would be a short list of pasta thongs and wooden bowls – but since this appeared in Popular Mechanics – it’s beyond that! I had to share – this article has all the fun stuff in life – beer, pizza and ice cream!

    We have a special place in our hearts for crazy, single-purpose gadgets that straddle the line between humorous and ingenious. These one-use wonders should be on any high-tech chef’s wish list.

    1. Jumbo Jerky Works Gun /// $19.99

    Jumbo Jerky Works Gun

    We’re hard pressed to think of a more macho kitchen gadget than a gun that shoots beef jerky. Maybe one that makes beer at the same time. But then it would be multipurpose, and out of the scope of this article. The barrel of the Jerky Works Gun holds a whopping pound of meat, which means less refilling (reloading?) for you. It comes with five spice packets and three different nozzles, each of which “shoots” a different style: strips, double strips, or sticks. Once you’ve discharged all your beef, simply dry your jerky in the oven at a low temperature, or in a dehydrator.

    2. Waring Pro Professional Cordless Wine Opener /// $39.95

    Waring Pro Professional Cordless Wine Opener

    Not quite as savvy as a sommelier when it comes to opening wine? Until now, the fanciest alternative to the basic corkscrew was the Metrokane Rabbit, which, with all its lumbering levers, is a bit confusing to maneuver and more than a tad inelegant. But with Waring Pro’s new Professional Cordless Wine Opener you can say Ôso long’ to splintered corks and jammed synthetic stoppers, all while one-upping your friends and neighbors.

    The battery-operated opener is easy to use: to extract the cork, simply place the lightweight, rubberized handset on top of a wine bottle and press the “down” button. To release the cork from the opener, press the “up” button. You’ll be swirling your sauvignon blanc in no time. The opener can uncork 80 bottles on a full charge, making it an ideal choice for the office Christmas party, and overkill for pretty much everything else.

    3. Harriet Carter Chicken Rack /// $14.98

    Harriet Carter Chicken Rack

    If you ask us, chicken wings–whether cooked at home or purchased by the bucketload–are supposed to be a greasy, saucy mess. But maybe for some misguided reason you disagree. In which case you might appreciate Harriet Carter’s Chicken Rack, which is kind of like a coat hanger for everyone’s favorite game-day grub. Capable of dangling up to a dozen wings over your grill or in your oven, the Chicken Rack cooks meat evenly while all the unhealthy (read: delicious) fat melts away. You won’t be able to slather them with mop sauce and they probably won’t turn out all that crispy, but then again you won’t stain your shirt and your pants will still fit. Hey, life’s a compromise.

    4. Pizza Pro Pizza Shears /// $19.99

    Pizza Pro Pizza Shears

    Ever ordered a pizza and had it delivered unsliced? Neither have we, but stranger things have happened. Arm yourself with the Pizza Pro Pizza Shears, a combo cutter/spatula that allows you to slice and lift at once, without fear of spilled pepperoni or dreaded cheese dislocation. Made of dishwasher-safe stainless steel, the shears can be used interchangeably by right- and left-handers, and will fit right in with the rest of the junk crowding your kitchen drawers. Perfect for those ambitious, if often imprudent, Boboli moments; as well as all those times when you only want half a slice. Though, come to think of it, that’s never happened to us, either.

    5. Brütül Lagerhead Black & Tan Turtle /// $11.95

    Lagerhead Black & Tan Turtl

    Say “Brütül” three times fast: Brütül, Brütül, Brütülbrew tool. Get it? This “snappy” silver contraption bills itself as the world’s most “versatile” beer-layering device. Perfect for those times when you just can’t choose between a rich, creamy stout and a crisp, clean ale, the Brütül lets you enjoy both at once. Simply pour half a glass of the lighter beer, balance the Lagerhead Turtle on the rim, and top off your pint with the darker brew. Now you can enjoy blended beer beverages like the Black Velvet (Guinness and Champagne), the Snakebite (Guinness and hard cider), and the Bumble Bee (Murphy’s and Dundee Honey Lager) without having to go to a fancy bar. Guaranteed to come in handy at least once every few decades.

    6. Big City Slider Station /// $19.99

    Big City Slider Station

    Whoppers are so over. The biggest trend in hamburgers these days is little. Sliders are popping up at many of the nation’s choicest restaurants–made with grass-fed beef and topped with artisanal cheese, of course.

    The Big City Slider Station is kind of like a stove-top muffin pan, but for meat. Made from aluminum with a double-sided nonstick surface, it allows you to cook five perfectly proportioned mini burgers without the “hassles” of pressing or flipping them in a plain old skillet with a boring old spatula (yawn). You see, the Slider Station cooks the burgers on both sides at once: simply scoop your meat of choice into the divots; press on the handy, grill-marked lid; and sear on the stovetop. In just two minutes you’ll be digging in to beefy, bite-size bliss. Making hamburgers has never been easier, not that it was ever that hard. For tastier instructions about how to cook a burger, check out our expert advice from Steven Raichlen.

    7. Remote Control Beer Pager /// $19.98

    Remote Control Beer Pager

    Sometimes, particularly after knocking back a few, it can be difficult to pinpoint where you put your latest beer. Did you leave it next to the fridge, on top of the TV, or (admit it) on the back of the toilet? This handy pager ensures that you will never loose another can, whether you are tinkering in the kitchen or kicking back with the guys and watching the game.

    The cozy-coaster combo comes with a pocket-size pager that clips to your belt. When you can’t find your cold one, simply press the red button–emergency!–and the coaster lights up and emits an oh-so-hilarious belching sound. It works from up to 60 ft. away, even through walls. Just make sure not to misplace the remote–your beer won’t be able to locate it.

    8. Princess International 12-Volt & USB Heated Travel Mug /// $19.99

    Princess International 12-Volt & USB Heated Travel Mug

    Speaking of beverages, nothing adds insult to injury quite like being stuck in morning rush-hour traffic and discovering that the coffee in your (green! reusable!) travel mug has gone ice cold. This mug heats its contents through USB power or via an included 12-volt car adaptor. Though we were initially skeptical about what seemed to be a throwaway gimmick, the gadget quickly became central to the before-sunrise commute of a high school teacher friend. Once connected to a car or computer, the mug instantly heats up to the desired temperature, ensuring that you never have to drink a lukewarm latte again. The stainless-steel mug’s press-on lid features an “easy access” thumb slide for sipping that couldn’t be simpler.

    9. OXO Good Grips Corn Stripper /// $11.99

    OXO Good Grips Corn Stripper

    Go ahead, strip. Corn that is, without making a mess, using this clever if somewhat ridiculous device. How many times have you tried to de-corn your cob, only to send those little suckers scattering across the counter and onto the floor? What’s that, never? Well, it could happen, in which case OXO’s Corn Stripper would come in handy. It looks like a cross between a computer mouse and a Matchbox car and works by collecting the kernels in a 1/2-cup container (approximately one ear, according to experts) as it wheels up and down the cob. There is a hole in the top for pouring out the corn, and the entire contraption comes apart for easy cleaning. The Stripper has a stainless-steel blade and pressure-absorbing, ergonomic grips to prevent you from getting corn-related carpal tunnel.

    10. Play & Freeze Ice Cream Maker /// $16.50

    Play & Freeze Ice Cream Maker

    Wish shaking your WiiMote during all those hours of Cooking Mama had tangible, edible results? We do. The best way to turn jumping and shaking into food is with a Play & Freeze Ice Cream Maker. Unlike most ice cream machines, the Play & Freeze needs no electricity (and doesn’t need to sit in the freezer for 12 hours in advance) so it’s perfect for those afternoons in the park when there’s no Mister Softee in sight. Just fill the two compartments in the ball with ice cream base and rock salt and shake (or play catch) for twenty minutes. Available in both pint (2 pounds; makes 1 pint) and mega (3 pounds; makes 1 quart) sizes, not to mention a rainbow’s worth of colors, the Ice Cream Ball is soft serve meets the gym’s medicine ball. Twenty minutes may seem like a long time to shake and rattle, but look at it this way: you’ll burn off at least 10 calories.

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  • Small Business Sunday…Home Care Veterinary Service

    This is such a great concept and Dr. Cindy McGinn D.V.M. does it with care and professionalism.  Dr. McGinn is a traveling vet in the greater Worcester area to fill the need of pet owners who are unable to bring their animals into a traditional vet office.  Dr. McGinn will come to your home to treat your animals – even on a Saturday!  She serves the greater Worcester area and I hope you pass this link along to someone who needs her services.

    She can be reached at 508-450-8727 or drcindylou8@aol.com.  Video below – let’s hear it for Cindy!  (video link:  http://amymullenremax.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/small-business-sunday-home-care-veterinary-service/)

    Home Care Veterinary Service with Dr. Cindy McGinn D.V.M.
    Home Care Veterinary Service with Dr. Cindy McGinn D.V.M.
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