Looking to Travel This Year? Checkout These Destinations!

Traveling can be so much fun. Knowing where to go though can be hard. We found this article from the New York Times that has 52 places to visit this year. We hope it helps you plan your next vacation!

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From the article:

Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
A world-class World Cup getaway.
The street parties, samba sessions and festive chaos surrounding the World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil this summer are bound to be exhausting for everyone. When the action???s over, escape to Fernando de Noronha, a 21-island archipelago about 330 miles off the coast of one of the host cities, Recife. Here you???ll find 250-foot-high black cliffs muscling against peach-sand beaches, Portuguese hilltop forts and blue coves where humpbacks and spinner dolphins linger. Only one of the islands, Noronha, is inhabited, and the entire chain is protected as a park with just 246 visitors allowed per day. Regulations have kept Noronha relaxed, with only small hotels and roads rough enough to make dune buggies the rental cars of choice. Hike along cliffs to gorgeous beaches like Sancho, dive with sea turtles or climb Morro do Pico, a 1,059-foot-high volcanic pinnacle.

Nashville, Tenn.
Leather jackets and skinny jeans join cowboy boots.
Country music lovers have long made the pilgrimage to Nashville, but now the city has fast gained cachet among rock fans and foodies. The city???s vibrant scene is home to the Black Keys, Kings of Leon, Jeff the Brotherhood and Diarrhea Planet, who all play in town occasionally. And a youthquake is transforming scruffy neighborhoods like 12South and East Nashville into hipster hubs. New hangouts include Pinewood Social, a bar, restaurant, bowling alley and karaoke joint, and the 404, a restaurant and boutique hotel in a former auto garage. Add to that a thriving culinary scene, exemplified by the Music City Eats Festival, back for a second year in September. And Nashville???s old standbys ??? like the honky-tonk Tootsie???s Orchid Lounge and the venerable Ryman ??? are as fun as ever.

More flights and lodges in Central America???s eco-frontier.
Twenty years ago, when Francis Ford Coppola opened Blancaneaux Lodge in western Belize, relatively few travelers had ventured into this small Central American country. Slowly they arrived, many of them curious to witness the scenery that had captivated the film director, which he described in an email as ???completely remote, with a beautiful pristine river you could drink the water out of and the most star-studded night sky I had ever seen.??? Since then, upscale rustic hotels have cropped up all over Belize ??? there???s the one-year-old El Secreto in Ambergris Caye, for example, and Belcampo, an eco-lodge and sustainable farm in the south that???s about to unveil a sophisticated redesign ??? adding to the lure of rain forests, Mayan ruins and coral reefs. It helps that Belize is easier to reach: Delta recently announced nonstop flights from Los Angeles to Belize City, and regional carriers like Tropic Air have expanded their routes, connecting Belize to resorts like Canc??n and making remote towns like San Ignacio more accessible.

Looking for ways to obtain a better work life balance? Then checkout this article about obtaining a better work like balance that could be of interest to you.

For all the places click here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/01/10/travel/2014-places-to-go.html?src=mv&_r=0

Looking to Winterize Your Home? Try These Ideas!

Attic-insulationIt’s important to winterize your home. Most people know this but not really sure what to do to winterize it. We found this article that we hope will help you determine what to do in order to protect your home. We hope it helps!

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From the article:

So you’ve pulled your sweaters out of mothballs and found your mittens at the bottom of the coat closet. But what about your house — is it prepared for the cold months ahead?

You’ll be a lot less comfortable in the coming months if you haven’t girded Home Sweet Home for Old Man Winter.

With the help of several experts, we’ve boiled down your autumn to-do list to 10 easy tips:

Insulate yourself
“Another thing that does cost a little money — but boy, you do get the money back quick — is adding insulation to the existing insulation in the attic,” says Lipford. “Regardless of the climate conditions you live in, in the (U.S.) you need a minimum of 12 inches of insulation in your attic.”

Don’t clutter your brain with R-values or measuring tape, though. Here’s Lipford’s rule of thumb on whether you need to add insulation: “If you go into the attic and you can see the ceiling joists you know you don’t have enough, because a ceiling joist is at most 10 or 11 inches.”

A related tip: If you’re layering insulation atop other insulation, don’t use the kind that has “kraft face” finish (i.e., a paper backing). It acts as a vapor barrier, Lipford explains, and therefore can cause moisture problems in the insulation.

Looking for more information on getting your home ready for winter? Checkout this article about winterizing your home for busy homeowners that could be of interest to you.

For all the ways click here: http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=13107899

Think Your House Doesn’t Talk? Think Again!

462806874_f3459c657c_oBad things happen to good homes. Unfortunately this is true. Wouldn’t you the homeowner like to know about problems before they become major problems? We found this article that we hope will help you identify warning signs that something else is happening in order to avoid a bigger headache in the future.

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From the article:

Your home is trying to tell you all sorts of things. The way it sounds; the way it smells. And there are plenty of visual cues to tip you off that something isn???t right. ???Everything is moving all the time, expanding and contracting at different rates, reacting to heat, rain and wind. A house is moving and breathing,??? says Tapley Dawson, a partner at The Home Doctors in Novato, California. In other words, a house is something you’ve got to take care of.

Dawson recommends that you do a good walk around the house every fall before the rainy season begins, checking for cracks, clogged gutters or anything that just doesn’t look right. That way you can catch problems early.

If you own an older home, you should do a thorough check in the springtime as well, since those homes are prone to more damage. “You can’t just live there blindly and assume it???s going to be all right,” Dawson says. “You have to participate and be active. The whole house needs love.”


You see: Bubbling, flaking or cracking paint.
Cause: This means moisture is somewhere in the wall and should be addressed as soon as possible. Some latex-based paint will actually balloon out, says Dawson, which is a big red flag. (During a rainy day in Houston years ago, I had a 5-foot-wide bubble on my ceiling, slowly dripping. When I poked it with a screwdriver, it streamed water into a bucket for half an hour.)

Trapped moisture can occur on ceilings, on walls, around windows and on trim and molding. ???If you see it, it ain’t going away,??? says Ralph Stow, a contractor at the Dallas Renovation Group. ???It???s there for a reason.??? Moisture is somehow penetrating from outside or even from a leaky pipe or A/C unit. The paint might be ???alligator-ing or checkering below windows in the corners,??? Dawson says, which means there’s a leak and water is getting into your stud bay. This can cause mold and wood rot.


Who to call: A home repair specialist can help determine the source of the leak and how to fix it. A plumber, general contractor, roofer, mold removal specialist or water damage professional may be needed also, depending on the problem.

Looking for ways to maintain your home? Checkout this article about maintaining your home for busy homeowners that could be of interest to you.

For all the warning signs to look out for click here: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/17552868/list/10-Problems-Your-House-May-Be-Trying-to-Show-You

Increase the Value of Your Home

classic-houseEvery homeowner is always looking for new ways to increase the value of their home but most of them don???t know where to start or where to focus their efforts. We found this article with tips that we think should help you a lot.

From the article:

Tip 1: Spend an hour with a pro.
Invite a realtor or interior designer over to check out your home. Many realtors will do this as a courtesy, but you will probably have to pay a consultation fee to a designer.

Tip 2: Inspect it.
Not every home improvement is cosmetic. Deteriorating roofs, termite infestation or outdated electrical systems you can’t fix it if you don’t know it’s broken. Hire an inspector to check out the areas of your home that you don???t normally see.

Tip 3: Paint, paint, paint.
One of the simplest, most cost-effective improvements of all is paint! Freshly painted rooms look clean and updated and that spells value.

Tip 4: Find inspiration.
An alternative to hiring a designer is to search for remodeling and decorating inspiration in design-oriented magazines, books, TV shows and websites.

Tip 5: Cut energy costs.
The amount of money you spend each month on energy costs may seem like a fixed amount, but many local utility companies provide free energy audits of their customers homes. They can show you how to maximize the energy efficiency of your home.

If you have additional questions contact us today!

To view the entire article click here: http://www.hgtv.com/real-estate/30-tips-for-increasing-your-homes-value/pictures/index.html