What a winter this has been here in the northeast (well, in New Jersey to be exact!).
With all of the snow that has been hitting us and our homes this
winter you might be experiencing the damaging effects of ice dams. The
gutters clog up with ice, then water runoff from the roof gets trapped
by the dam and eventually backs up the roof, travels under the shingles,
and leaks into the house. While a permanent fix for ice dams usually
requires increasing the insulation, sealing, and ventilation in the
attic, our trusted friends at
This Old House suggest a simple
way to diminish the damage after the dam has formed. Fill the leg of
discarded pair of panty hose with a calcium chloride ice melter. Lay the
hose onto the roof so it crosses the ice dam and overhangs the gutter.
If necessary, use a long-handled garden rake or hoe to push it into
position. The calcium chloride will eventually melt through the snow and
ice and create a channel for water to flow down into the gutters or off
Also - don't forget to check your sump pump to make sure it's
working properly.......once all this snow starts melting, it will
certainly get a good workout!
Just think - by this time next month, it will officially be Spring!
"Smell" of Success!
sellers do everything they can to make their home look as visually beautiful as
possible, yet appealing to home buyers' other senses can be just as important -
especially when it comes to the sense of smell.
While you might not think
your home has a smell to it, freshening the air and filling the home with sweet
aromas can do wonders in making a favorable impression.
Most people know
the old trick of baking bread or cookies, or simmering cloves and cinnamon
sticks, to entice the noses of those looking around the home. That fresh bread
smell can be achieved by slicing open a large loaf of bread, dropping in vanilla
essence and popping the loaf into the oven at medium heat for half an hour
before the showing.
Another way to perk up those looking around is by
enfusing the house with the aromas of French vanilla, butter cream or coffee.
Ever walk into a house where a fresh pot of coffee has just been brewed? Makes
you want to sit down, pull up a chair and stay a while!
the atmosphere," said Michelle Bardwell, an aroma therapist in Dallas, Texas.
"You can create a delightful, but subtle aromatic space by using theraputic
grade essential oils."
Bardwell recommends using cardamom essential oil
in the kitchen to create a sense of warnth, lavendar essential oil for the
bedroom to evoke thoughts of relaxation, and a combination of eucalyptus and
ravintsara for the bathroom. "This will give the bathroom a fresh, clean aroma,
and simultaneously kill bacteria and viruses on surfaces and in the air," she
said. "Put several drops directly on surfaces and wipe down. You can even put a
few drops on the shower floor and in the toilet."
Scented candles are
another way to achieve a fragrant aroma in the air, but there's not always time
to let them burn before a home showing. Electric plug-in products with fragrance
and potpourri pots also are effective. Keep the scents subtle (don't overdo the
pine cones and cloves during the Christmas season!).
Of course, pet odors
must be addressed (kitty litter boxes, doggie mats/crates and even bird cages),
and be sure to check for smells coming from your refrigerator and garbage cans.
I'd also suggest holding off on frying fish or using strong spices in your
cooking when you know the house is being shown the next day. "You want to send a
positive image about every aspect of your home," Bardwell said. "Kitchen trash
does not send a positive message. "Make sure all trash cans are clean and fresh
Scents register in our brain and frequently remind us of our
own experiences. Create pleasant aromas throughout the house to help the
homebuyer make a positive connection and a faster sale.
Thoughtful use of
these delicious smelling scents just may make the next buyer that comes
When it comes to dining out, I can be your "go-to" person!
I LOVE to eat out (or is that, I LIVE to eat out??).......and try new restaurants all the time.
So......here are a few of my recent favorite "go - to" places in the area.
There's a lot to choose from, and the surrounding towns offer pretty much any kind of cuisine.
In Livingston, I enjoy Pizzeta Enotecca - one of the limited number of places that has a bar , so.........go ahead and enjoy a glass of their delicious red or white Sangria (or a peach martini, my personal fav) while munching on a thin crusted pizza, salads, or a piece of fish or pasta. You can find pretty much anything on their menu, so there is something for everyone!
Try Baumgarts (byob) , in the Livingston Town Center for unique, refined Asian food (and some of the friendliest servers in the area!) - best of all - you can order the children a grilled cheese sandwich, while enjoying your sushi, warm sesame noodles or delicious crispy shrimp with walnuts!
Thavma (byob), on the second level of the Town Center, has seen a lot of me lately (they deliver, too) .
I especially love their appetizer chicken wings with dipping sauce, and their entree of Chicken Limonata - a really generous portion - half of a roasted chicken with yummy lemon sauce, julienned mixed veggies and potatos - at $15, it's the best deal around by far!
Dine in, and they include a small Greek salad and that most delicious, warmed pita bread!
Speaking of great deals.........(I create my own segues!!)....... head up Columbia Turnpike (aka S. Orange Ave) into Florham Park and try out the Brick Oven, located adjacent to the Trader Joes shopping center.
Good food (Chicken Arturo gets my vote)... nice sized portions (most include pasta or vegetable as a side)......and.......for the budget minded (well, who doesn't like to save money these days), there is currently an "early bird" opportunity if you are seated by 6 - and it runs 7 days a week!
For $15.95 you get a choice of 2 salads, generous selection of entrees (w/ pasta as a side dish) and even dessert, plus a beverage.
Really hungry?? Go ahead and add an appetizer for the bargain price of $5.00!!!
At that price, it doesn't pay to eat home!
My last two suggestions for the day are located in Millburn (both are byob, too).
It's always nice to dine in Millburn, as you can catch a movie there, or just stroll around window shopping after dinner (to work off that dessert you shouldn't have ordered!!).
Peter's is a byob , small and cozy, with a great selection on the menu and generous-sized portions......but more importantly, the food is great and tastes home made!
Finally, my new favorite, and the newest pup in the litter is.... Ma Maison Brasserie (only open since July) located on Essex St. in Millburn.
What a nice surprise to see a French restaurant open in the area....and the food makes me salivate just thinking of it.
Ever try Caesar salad with bacon??
I hadn't........... but can't wait to go back and have it again!
Mussels (avec frites!), duck with fig and balsamic reduction, spinach stuffed chicken breast......and the list goes on.
Franco, the owner/chef couldn't be nicer (he and his wife also own Cafe Luna just down the street)...and the profiteroles for dessert (with nutella , not chocolate sauce - an innovative change on a classic dish) are worth the trip!
So............these are a few of my favorite places this week.................tune in again as I increase my list.
Please let me know what you think if you try any of these places for the first time.......or second or third!
and..........as Julia Child always said.
BON APPETIT !
Well, it's almost here - beginning October 1, 2012 - Â the "Livingston Primetime Shuttle"!
A commuter's delight!
Livingston willÂ begin offering a jitney/shuttle bus service from the Livingston Mall direct to the South Orange train station and the Mid-Town Direct train into Manhattan's Penn Station.
This service will be open to Livingston and non-Livingston residents.
There will be 2 round trips per hour from 5:30AMÂ - 9:30AM.Â Â
Return trips will run between 4:00PM - 9:00PM.
It's a quick 15 minute ride, and there will be plentry of FREE parking at the LivingstonÂ Mall, on the Walnut Street sideÂ of the parking lot.
The cost will be $2.00 each way, with monthly passes selling for $70.00.
At last - Manhattan commuters will have an exciting new, convenientÂ option getting to and from work.
Here's to the success of this wonderful new project!
Spring is here, and for those selling their home or getting ready to put their house on the market, thereâ€™s nothing quite as beneficial as doing a great â€œspring cleaningâ€ job to not only make your home look great, but to get rid of some of that clutter that could distract someone coming to see your home.Here are 5 Sring cleaning tips that will help you sell your home.
1: Curb appeal becomes as important as ever when the weather turns nicer and buyers are more likely to spend time outside looking at the exterior of the house and the property. Make sure to have a well-maintained lawn with all the leaves and twigsÂ gone, the grass mowed and the hedges trimmed.Spruce things up by buying some inexpensive, yet colorful flowers and spread fresh mulch in flowerbeds. Fill in any bare spots on your lawn with sod or seed. Make sure to also clean your gutters, wash your welcome mat (or buy a bright, inviting ne one) and put away any rakes or winter shovels that clutter the yard.
2: Let's talk windows! The phrase â€œI donâ€™t do windowsâ€ should never apply when selling a home. While a REALTORÂ® may tell you that homes show better with the blinds or curtains up, this will not be true if the windows are dirty. A clean window brings more light into a room and allows buyers the chance to see what the view will be when they look out of their potential new home. Itâ€™s important to clean both the inside and outside of all windows until they are streak free and spotless. This includes all sliding glass doors, garage windows and outside doors. Clean windows tell a buyer you pay attention to details when maintaining your home!
3: Pay close attention to the â€œlittleâ€ things that might draw the eye of a prospective homebuyer. Go around your home with a pad and pencil and inspect each room for things such as small holes in the wall where a painting used to hang, outlets that are missing a cover or doorknobs that are loose and squeaky. Also, be sure to check all of the caulking around sinks, faucets and tubs, as well as any grout in tile counters or bathtubs faucets and tubs, as well as any grout in tile counters or bathtubs. As you take the time and the small amount of money to fix these items you reduce the reasons for someone not liking your home.
4: Power wash your driveway, walkway, siding and deck. You donâ€™t need to invest in the money of buying a new power washer as they are easy to rent from stores such as Loweâ€™s or Home Depot. Power washing removes layers and years of dirt and grime from stone and cement, including mildew stains from the winter. Power washing the porch, a fence or deck clears away all the dirt and debris and makes the home instantly seem cleaner. If the outside of your home looks dingy, you may be setting the impression that you didnâ€™t keep up the home itself well, so make sure to have everything looking top notch.
5: One of the first pieces of advice you will get from any real estate agent is to reduce clutter in your home. Spring cleaning is the perfect excuse to get rid of things you donâ€™t really need. Go through all your closets and bag up all the clothes that donâ€™t fit, are out of style or you simply donâ€™t wear anymore and donate them to a charity. Take your old books,Â toys no longer played with and those kitchen knickknacks and hold a garage sale. A de-cluttered home is always more attractive to the homebuyer - you mayÂ like it better decluttered, too!
Even if you donâ€™t decide to sell your home, the above steps will leave your home bright, organized and spiffy for Spring, or any season!
OK, so now you worked hardÂ enough - go outside and enjoy this beautiful Spring season!
IÂ recentlyÂ attended a delicious,Â catered lunch (feed us, and we'll come!), for a select group of local agents, invitedÂ Â to preview the new phase ofÂ Â townhomes being built in our town's Livingston Town Center....an upscale mixed use development with a variety of residences, boutiques and Â restaurantsÂ ...... only steps from the NY bus.
"The Gables" Â consists of 2 newly designed, Â elegant models with unique floorplans, The Barnard priced at $699,000 and The Cambridge priced at $759,000 & $765,000, Â both offer 3 bedrooms (optional 4th bedroomÂ is available),Â plus 2 full, and 2 half baths.Â The Barnard consists of a spaciousÂ 2760 square feet with luxurious amenities, and the equally luxuriousÂ CambridgeÂ offers a very generous 3,088 square feet.
Included in this pricing are numerousÂ high-end features such as elegant marble master bath, gourmet kitchen with granite topped counters, center island and Â stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, finished basement with "Imagination" Room and half bath, plus 3 bedrooms all on 1 level. Elevators are optional inÂ both models. Two car garages are standard, as areÂ Â entry level "parlor" rooms and family rooms with fireplaces.
The Gables will share a number of exciting club amenities, including indoor pool with rooftop sun deck, billiards room, business center, well-equipped gym, and concierge services.
The good life awaits you in Livingston, NJ Â - Enjoy suburban life with an urbane flair!
So here I sit, trying to come up with an idea for a new blog, and all of a sudden, the lightbulb goes off in my brain (or, what's left of my brain!)!
Having lived in Livingston 22 years, and having raised my son here, as well, I started thinking about why I enjoyed living here, and what I loved most about that experience.
Voila - a blog was born!
Rather than write in paragraph form, I decided to keep it simple, and list the things I love most about "living in Livingston", so here goes..........
1. Everything I need, I can find here - hair salons (Dieci, Antonios, Midtown Salon, Lucios), restaurants for every yen you might have - from Chinese to sushi to Italian to Greek to yummy deli and good ole American hamburgers and hotdogs - don't forget that delicious apple pie at the Ritz diner, too!
2. Price ranges for every budget - with homes ranging from the $300,000's to millions - there certainly is something for everyone. If you buy an entry level home here, and want to "move up", you don't have to move out!
3. Home styles for every preference - you can find everthing from traditional colonials style homes to ranches to cozy capes and tudors - contemporary homes with soaring ceilings or majestic brick colonials - you want it, Livingston has it. And, if you don't want the responsibility of lawn care or exterior maintenance anymore, there are several townhome communities to choose from - The Fairways, The Regency, the new Cedar Gate and our upscale Livingston Town Center complex which offers several multi and one-floor living designs. The Pointe is an elegant over 55 gated community, and we even have a senior citizen rental complex located on East Cedar Street.
4. Exercise?? You want exercise?? Ok - we have the NY Sports Club or the YMCA, but for no money at all - take a walk around the 1/2 mile Oval - trackÂ located in front of our top-ranked Livingston High School. Exercise your eyes, too, and stop by the new and impressive Livingston Public Library!
5. Want to go to Manhattan?? No problem - just hop on the Coach USA bus # 77 , and NYC is less than an hour away. Care to drive instead? It's an easy drive via Route 280 - less than 30 minutes to the Lincoln Tunnel (ok, so maybe longer during rush hour!)...or, drive to Harrison and step on the Path train. Another option is taking the convenient Jitney service (park for free at the Livingston Mall) which takes you to the Mid Town Direct train into NY's Penn Station!
6. From upscale boutiques and trendy shops..... to dry cleaners, a hardware store (Karig's), Walgreens and CVS pharmacies....florist shops....Starbucks (of course!).....a custom dress designer, gourmet food stores/delis and 3 grocery stores..... they're all here in Livingston! You don't have to leave - if you want or need it - it's here!
Great schools, great shopping, great eating....what more could you want?
Welcome to town!