Photo Journal of a Temporarily Childless Mom

Since my children were away, the amount of free time I had was a ridiculous eye opener to how much time and energy those munchkins consume. While I love them dearly, mommy time was much needed, much appreciated and long over due. My adventures (if you could call them that) sans babies/toddlers.

20130821-003641.jpgFine Dining With the Eldest. 

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1st Kickboxing Class, ever. 

20130821-003657.jpgLazy Days at the Beach.

20130821-003714.jpgNo Sharing of My Sushi.

20130821-003758.jpgAdmiring (or maybe questioning) Unnatural Colored Orchids. 

So You Need to Stage Your Home?

FrontBeing in property management for sometime now and since I have been told that I am pretty good amazing at organizing, I thought I’d share a few tips when it comes to home staging. I don’t think that a professional is always required when it comes to home staging because it’s pretty easy to do if you follow a few important steps. It also helps to enlist a few decorating savvy friends, because it’s really about presentation, details and making things look as inviting as possible to potential renters/buyers. While I am not a home staging professional, I have seen extremely bad and very pleasing to the eye when it comes to staging.

Whether you are looking to rent, sell or shoot some marketing photos, I recommend keeping the following in mind.

1) DE-CLUTTER WHEREVER POSSIBLE – When accessing your home, take note of areas that could use de-cluttering. Now I’m not saying you should simply shove things into closets, but maybe now is the time to give those random items that are lining your wall their permanent homes (closets, garages or storage areas work best). Clear those kitchen counters of all those gadgets and things that you are simply storing. A few choice gadgets, such as a coffee machine, are okay but put everything else away. The only exception to this would be in the kids room. You don’t have to put ALL the toys away because well, it’s a kid’s room. Parents will understand that those stuffed animals on the bed actually belong there and it will look lived in. Lived in is a good thing as the feelings you want to evoke are warmth and comfort.

Bathroom

2) OPEN UP SPACES – Keep the flow of your furniture in mind when you are staging. Most of the time, simple and neutral is better. Think about the positioning of couches and tables and try to make them flow with your rooms. Try not to box areas in or prevent easy access to living spaces. If you have to squeeze past the couch and the wall, then it may not be the ideal configuration to appeal to interested parties.

LR-before

3) KEEP THE BEDROOM & OFFICE SEPARATE (Provided you have the space) – If you have the room to have a separate office, then make that extra room an office. Do not clutter your bedroom with that desk if you don’t have to. Bedroom spaces are supposed to be your escape and area of relaxation, not an extension of your work area. Put away documents and keep the bare minimum on the desk. A tidy desk is ideal and no one wants to see your stack of paperwork that you need to sort through.

Before-MasterAfter-Master4) NATURAL LIGHT WORKS BEST – When taking photos, using natural light is the best way to go. Don’t forget to open up blinds/curtains to be able to brighten up the rooms. For smaller areas (like bathrooms) turn on all the lights prior to taking the photos. Make sure that all the bulbs are working as well. When shooting an exterior photo, dusk is a great time because it allows you to turn on the interior lights and minimizes the chances of shadows based on the location of the sun.

5) IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS – Sometimes you are so used to your home that it is often difficult to discern what changes you should make in general. It helps to employ help from friends, family or your real estate agent, in order to suggest helpful changes. If necessary, you can always hire a home staging professional, but before you do that consider your resources first.  Also consider what items that you may already have at home that would assist in home staging. Sometimes moving around key pieces of furniture can do wonders in changing the appearance of a living space.

The process of home staging can be daunting, but it can also give you that long awaited opportunity to sort and organize your home at the same time. Don’t be afraid of stepping outside your comfort zone for the greater good. Simple changes can yield huge results.

Thank you to my sister for allowing me to “stage” her home and her custom flyer looked awesome as well.

That Headache Today is a Lesson Tomorrow

RinaPicking up my four year old today consisted of her yelling at the top of her lungs for an otter pop and screaming like a banshee or at least what I expect one would sound like. As a mother, I know to pick my battles. Certain things are not worth fighting over especially when it comes to cranky kids. However, there are definitely times when I need to put my foot down because a lesson must be learned. These times are obviously not during that morning rush because I pick my battles wisely and often when time is on my side.

Back to the otter pop situation. Today she actually crawled on her hands and knees to the car because she wanted an otter pop from summer camp. I would have considered buying her one  Actually I was not planning on buying any for the simple fact that we have a freezer full of those suckers and I did not feel like buying not one but three for the little people in my car. Parents know that buying a treat for one means buying a treat for all. After she finally crawled into the car, it was non-stop screaming for a good 30 minutes. While it was rough on all passengers, I had to stand my ground. These little ones are smarter than many would give them credit for. They are testing you, every minute, every hour and every day. After we finally got home, she continued with her crying and everyone went inside, except her. A few minutes later, she was done. She gave me a hug and inside we went. Katarina 0, Mommy 1.

I honestly believe that these small but significant life lessons will teach my children that Mommy is the queen (yes, I said it) and that what I say is the law of the land (haha, I just made myself LOL). Bottom line is that some battles are worth fighting because it teaches them life lessons such as why pay for it when you have it at home, though that sounds like more of an adult topic than anything else, but you get the gist. Teaching children how to accept what you say today translates to a life lesson tomorrow.

The Beginning

first

For the longest time, I’ve been wanting to have my own blog. Every time I decide to create one, it is always based on kids. What the kids are doing and random kid photos. While I love my kids, I don’t always need to blog about them, although it will happen from time to time. For now though , I want to be able to blog about whatever I want to versus “Look at how crazy my kids are.” Even though they are. Welcome to my blog I guess, hopefully this one sticks and I won’t have to ever create another blog on another website that I won’t use ever again (you know exactly what I’m talking about). Blog post one. Done.