Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The purpose of business is to fund a perfect life.

The purpose of business is to fund a perfect life.

Let's remember WHY you go to work every provide for the life you choose for yourself and your family. And would you CHOOSE to live a life of ordinary? Certainly not! So work with purpose and intention! Work with the knowledge that something great and grand, as you see it, is meant for you.

We all have the power to create, develop, and manifest our perfect life...and it involves more than just going through the motions to survive and "make a living." Your mind may not acknowledge it yet, but the heart of each person knows that life is boundless, limitless.

So, if you haven't already done so; undo that mindset of limitation and work toward your perfect's out there! Go get it!Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by...

Sea Fever

I MUST go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,

And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a gray dawn breaking.

I must down go to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

John Masefield

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Home owners spend more money on kitchen remodeling than on any other home improvement project

Home owners spend more money on kitchen remodeling than on any other home improvement project, according to the Home Improvement Research Institute. And with good reason. Kitchens are the hub of home life, and a source of pride.

A significant portion of kitchen remodeling costs may be recovered by the value the project brings to your home. Kitchen remodels in the $50,000 to $60,000 range recoup about 66% of the initial project cost at the home’s resale, according to recent data from Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report.

A minor kitchen remodel of about $20,000 does even better, returning more than 72% of your investment.

To make sure you maximize your return, follow these seven smart kitchen remodeling strategies.

1. Establish priorities

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recommends spending at least six months planning your kitchen remodeling project. That way, you won’t be tempted to change your mind during construction, create change orders, and inflate construction costs. Here are planning points to cover:

Cooking traffic patterns: A walkway through the kitchen should be at least 36 inches wide. Work aisles should be a minimum of 42 inches wide and at least 48 inches wide for households with multiple cooks.

Child safety: Avoid sharp, square corners on countertops, and make sure microwave ovens are installed at the proper height—3 inches below the shoulder of the primary user but not more than 54 inches from the floor.

Outside access: If you want easy access to entertaining areas, such as a deck or patio, factor a new exterior door into your plans.

A professional designer can simplify your kitchen remodel. Pros help make style decisions, foresee potential problems, and schedule contractors. Expect fees around $50 to $150 per hour, or 5% to 15% of the total cost of the project.

Next: 2. Keep the same footprint





EmailTwitterFacebookDiggLinkedin.. John Riha

John Riha has written seven books on home improvement and hundreds of articles on home-related topics. He’s been a residential builder, the editorial director of the Black & Decker Home Improvement Library, and the executive editor of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. His 1972 suburban house has been an ongoing source of maintenance and renovation experience.








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..Comments(3) .

I have a lot to remodle, I'm put'n tile in for the backsplash in the kitchen. I am taking care of my Dad, (he's bedfast) when it comes time to give him a shower, (took out my garden tub added a shower floor) I put him in a wheel chair and push him into the shower. I want my Mom home but she can't move at all. She still knows everthing, just can't move. trying to figure out how I could take care of her without lifting her. I have a small feed store and my son Jack is runing it for me, and I would like to be able to go to work and still be able to let my Dad I'm right here for him. once the money starts coming in I want to build a hallway from the house to the back of the store and a room where I can keep Dad there so he want feel left out. Lots of work I have to do.

Posted by Frances on August 30, 2011 . This article has helped in our planning ideas. Some of the suggestions will save me time and money

Posted by Steve on July 14, 2011 . You forgot to suggest the stratagy of creating accessibility when remodeling . Incorporating universal design ideas in your project wether it be a kitchen ,bath ,laundry etc.can add value to your home and also open up your home to new aditional markets when it does become time to sell.

Posted by Charles Braun on January 21, 2011 .


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Get what you want out of your kitchen remodel:

. Evaluate your kitchen remodel priorities. Establish a kitchen remodel budget. Research product warranties. Obtain at least three competitive kitchen remodeling bids.Please select a To-Do

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Holidays From Your Hometown Realtor!

"Wisdom is the best guide and faith is the best companion."

~ Dalai Lama

.Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The truth, what is the truth?

How much of this is a lie? This is the question I am asked by a co-worker. How much of this story is something you tell yourself because you don’t want to face the truth? For that matter, how much of what you say is the truth? The truth, what is the truth?

The word means an actual state of matter, a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principal or actual existence. My life is actual, my thoughts are real and my wishes are true. My perception of interactions, situations and the daily hum of life are true to me and that’s all that matters. To me, “I am what I say I am” and likewise with you ~ “I am whatever you say I am” My reality, my role in life is fluid. Please don’t allow your limiting beliefs about the world to box me in.

What’s the real truth my friend? Let’s start with the holiday season. A perpetual circus of planning, preparing and recovering from a never ending cyclone of consumerism. Christmas for non-Christians appears to be no different than a bustling food market in New Delhi India. People moving, people grabbing, people freaking out and freaking in! People on a quest for the perfect _____fill_____in_____the_____blank_____.

The buzz, the implied importance and the ritualistic necessity. Is any of it true? Is any of it real? Each and every 12 months we decide to spend more than we should on things we pretty much don’t need hoping to win the affection of people that already love us…and some (unfortunately) that most certainly don’t and most likely never will. The self-imposed hope and anticipation that we create are just huge distractions are they not? Let’s be honest here. We are living breathing mammals who dread the winter just as much as our warm blooded friends (all animals except house pets) who have to prepare themselves for the harsh reality of less food, less warmth, less mating, less water ~ let’s face it, less joy.

Being the mammals with the largest brains gives us the ability to manufacture false abundance by calling it an important event. The hoarding, the over eating, the excessive consumption of alcohol and sweets (and portion sizes that make us look in the mirror with disgust at what we have created) are all vain attempts at making ourselves feel better until the sun comes back into our lives. The truth is that suicides are at a yearly high during the holidays because some people just can’t ‘buy’ into the delusion, the fairytale that better things are always around the corner if we just play the game according to the rule book.

The truth is that most people are born with the personality that they will carry with them all of their lives and that the passing years will not somehow bless them with a sense of humor or some other trait they have envied in others. Your teeth don’t get whiter, your hair won’t get thicker, and your intellect (most likely) will not get sharper…and most people will live out their lives in the income class they were born into.

This is the truth and most can’t handle the truth so they immerse themselves in the small things that deliver the most distractions like cookie baking, decorating, knick knack shopping and holiday card writing. Me, well I’m O.K. with people living in this delusion as long as they leave me out of the insanity. Please, I just ask for a little respect ~ so don’t assume I believe the same things as you believe (I would never be so arrogant as to do this to you) and when I say I’m just not that into it, don’t try to spell out all of the reasons why I should be and try to find ways that will pull me in because it simply won’t.

That’s as real and truthful as I can be. Accept me and I might allow you into my life ~ reject me and I will be happy that you didn’t waste my time with more petty distractions. Either way, I thank you. XOXO Lisa

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

On New Year's Eve...

On New Year's Eve, Vice-President of the Times Square Alliance Claire Morgan (Hilary Swank) is making the final arrangements for the ball drop with the help of her friend Brandon (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges). Meanwhile, after being nearly run over by a car and denied a vacation, Ahren Records secretary Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer) quits her job and offers the deliveryman Paul (Zac Efron) tickets for the Ahren Records Masquerade Ball if Paul helps her complete a series of New Year's resolutions before midnight, which he accepts.

Paul's sister, Kim (Sarah Jessica Parker), is having trouble with her teenage daughter Hailey (Abigail Breslin), who wants to spend New Year's Eve with her friends and her boyfriend Seth (Jake T. Austin) in Times Square. Paul's roommate, comic book illustrator Randy (Ashton Kutcher), who hates New Year's Eve after his girlfriend left him on a date, gets stuck in an elevator with Elise (Lea Michele), an aspiring singer who will be providing back-up for musician Jensen (Jon Bon Jovi) in his show at the Ahren Records ball, where he rekindles his feelings for his ex-girlfriend, Laura (Katherine Heigl).

At a nearby hospital, Stan Harris (Robert DeNiro), a man in the final stages of cancer who refuses chemotherapy and who only wishes to see the ball drop one last time, is kept company by Nurse Aimee (Halle Berry) and Nurse Mindy (Alyssa Milano) after his doctor (Cary Elwes) reveals he will not last much longer. In the same hospital, a young couple, Griffin (Seth Meyers) and Tess (Jessica Biel), about to have their first child, competes with another couple, James (Til Schweiger) and Sarah (Sarah Paulson), for a bonus offered for the family of the first child born in the new year. Elsewhere, Sam (Josh Duhamel), a businessman from Ahren Records, attempts to arrive at the Ball where he is to deliver an important speech, after his car malfunctions on the other side of New York, all while wondering if he should attend a meeting with a mysterious woman he met and fell in love with on the previous New Year's Eve.

As midnight approaches, one of the billboard lights of the Times Square panel malfunctions, jamming the ball and forcing Claire to call Kominsky (Hector Elizondo), a eletrician she had fired a few weeks prior. Kominsky repairs the ball seconds before midnight, and, in gratitude, Claire leaves him in charge of the operation, quits her stressful job and rushes to see the ball drop with her father, Stan. Meanwhile, Nurse Aimee has a videoconference with her husband (Common), a soldier serving in Afghanistan.

Paul helps Ingrid complete all the items on her list, and she gives him the tickets. Meanwhile, Randy and Elise bond, and, as they are about to kiss, the elevator is repaired and Elise rushes to Jensen's show. Randy notices she forgot her rubber band and rushes to give it to her. At the Ball, Jensen leaves midway during the show and apologizes to Laura, who accepts him back and leaves with the approval of her boss, Sous Chef Ava (Sofia Vergara). With Jensen gone, Elise is called to replace him and attracts the attention of the crowd. She kisses Randy, and they start a romantic relationship.

Griffin and Tess have their baby and, although it is born first, they allow James and Sarah to have the bonus after discovering they actually have three children. Meanwhile, after being forbidden from attending the celebration, Hailey runs away to Times Square, where she sees Seth being kissed by another girl. Heartbroken, she meets and is comforted by her mother. Seth finds them and apologizes, claiming the girl stole a kiss from him. Hailey forgives him and is allowed by her mother to go to an after-party. Kim then goes to a restaurant to meet Sam, who had succeeded in delivering his speech. She is the mysterious woman he met one year prior, and they finally discover each other's names.

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Christmas gift to you: Insight ~ Top Five Regrets of the Dying

Top Five Regrets of the Dying

By Bronnie Ware

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learned never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me

This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way.

From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship.

Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends

Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier

This is a surprisingly common one.

Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice.

They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

December 2011 Housing Market Update

December 2011 Market Update

One of the key drivers of homes sales, the employment rate, is beginning to show promising signs of a turnaround. The four-week average for jobless claims, as of November 19, was 394,250, a drop of 3,250 from the previous four weeks, and at the lowest levels since April. Consumer confidence also rose 15 points in the last month, and is now at its highest point since July of this year. Eric Green, Chief Market Economist at TD Securities Inc. said, "The trend remains very constructive. Jobless claims are back below 400,000, which seems to be the pivot point in terms of a strengthening labor market as opposed to a weakening one."

In addition to improving employment conditions, home affordability also improved as interest rates fell further, opening the door for more first-time home buyers who accounted for 34% of the sales in October, an increase from 32% last month and over last year. The western United States saw the greatest increase in home sales, which were up 4.4% month to month and up over 15% from last year.

A strengthening job market, along with encouraging signs from the housing sector, including a 10% jump in pending sales for October, are strong economic forces. While mortgage lending still remains a challenge, these forces may send a signal to banks to relax lending regulations and allow for a more rapid recovery.

This Month's Video Interest Rates

Mortgage rates continue to push lower, dropping to 3.98% from 4.23% in October of 2010, offering historic affordability to today's home buyers. While mortgage lending conditions continue to be a challenge, more and more people are seeing the advantage of buying a home sooner rather than later. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said, "Home sales have been plodding along at a sub-par level while interest rates are hovering at record lows and there is a pent-up demand from buyers who normally would have entered the market in recent years. We hope this indicates more buyers are taking advantage of the excellent

affordability conditions."

Home Sales

Existing homes sales improved 1.4% in October, or to an annual pace of 4.97 million, a 13.5% increase from October of last year. Even more dramatic, was the jump in pending home sales, which surged in October by 10.4% from September, and were up 9.2% from October 2010. This jump in pending sales could lead to a strong fourth quarter as signs continue to point to a pent-up demand brought on by current lending conditions of mortgage providers.

Home Prices

The national median home price in the U.S. saw a small decline in October to $162,500, from $165,800 in September. This number can be affected by the sale of distressed properties, which typically sell at discounted prices. Distressed properties accounted for 28% of homes sales in October. Yet despite a drop in the median price from last September, the Federal Housing Finance Authority reported that seasonally adjusted prices rose 0.2% in the third quarter from the second quarter in 2011, which could be an early sign of appreciating home prices.


By the end of October, the total number of homes on the market had fallen 2.2% to 3.33 million homes, which represents 8 months of inventory at the current sales pace. Since a record high of 4.58 million homes in July 2008, the inventory of homes for sale has been steadily declining. When homes sell faster than they come on the market, the market comes from its current favor toward buyers into balance or in favor of sellers. This can trigger an appreciation in home prices and lead the way to a stronger recovery.

Deciding to Buy

When first-time home buyers decide they are ready to buy, it is important for them to begin the process by carefully assessing their values, wants, and needs—both for the short and long term. This is a critical step since consultation sessions normally start with the buyers' values. Afterward, buyers can explore their wants and needs and, once defined, determine actual criteria.

A recent study shows how important the following home-buying factors were to buyers:

• List Price: 72%

• Location: 69%

• Neighborhood: 55%

• Floor Plan: 37%

• Square Footage: 28%

• Schools: 22%

By having the home-buying criteria in mind before walking into a consultation, buyers are off to a better start when meeting with their real estate agent. The consultation allows buyers to fill in any missing gaps within their values, wants, and needs. Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Friday, December 9, 2011

If you like a neutral bedroom with layers of patterns and one of a kind accents than...

You are a Collector

One way to create an ideal bedroom is to include pieces that feel like they’ve been collected over the years. Heirloom and antiques mixed with patterns and upholstery allow you to create a personal space that is comfortable and layered. When layering, bring in colors from other parts of the room in your fabrics and accents. Shelving with meaningful books and personal photos are also a good idea, just make sure the room doesn’t become too busy.

and an

You like to get away from it all, and your bedroom should feel like a daily escape. One way to do that is to create a calming effect with natural elements, such as rattan chairs and linen fabrics. If you have a favorite color, accessorize with that in accent pieces (e.g. bowls, picture frames), but overall maintain a tranquil feel with earth tones. Avoiding clutter and using open shelving, will also help. Go for high impact with fewer pieces.
Thanks Nate Berkus!
Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Myths about Life and Home


Myths about Life and Home

Does talking to your plants actually help them grow?

Well, yes it does. This is because while you are talking to them you are breathing carbon dioxide on them. Plants use carbon dioxide for food through photosynthesis.

Do I need to wait 2 hours after I eat to go swimming?

No. A half hour is long enough. 30 minutes is plenty of time to prevent the cramps that swimming can cause.

Does sitting too close to the television ruin your eyesight?

It can cause eye fatigue; similar to sitting in front of a computer screen or reading for hours. So it’s not really a factor in diminishing eyesight.

Does lightning ever strike twice?

Yes. The taller something is and the closer it is to the sky, the more likely it is to attract a bolt of lightning. The odds are pretty slim that this would actually happen, but there is nothing that would prevent lightning from hitting the same spot twice.

If you make a funny face for too long, will it stay that way?

Nope. The muscles on your face are connected muscle to muscle, not like the muscles on say your thigh, which attach to bones. This means you cannot put enough resistance on them to make them cramp.

Will looking at light make you sneeze?

For 10 percent of the population, the answer is yes. It’s called photic sneeze reflex (PSR). The theory is that sometimes impulses on the optic nerves triggered by the light source jump to the cranial nerves that control sneezing.

So now you know some of the most common proverbs and sayings and the truths(or non-truths) behind them.

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Peach Cream Recipe ~ Yum!

Tastes like a creamsicle;-)

1 oz peach schnapps
1 oz fresh orange juice
2 oz vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup crushed ice

For each drink put all of the above ingredients in a blender and blend for 30 seconds ~ serve!
Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Monday, December 5, 2011

S & P warning ~ theres a 50% chance Europes credit score will be downgraded.

Europe is heading back into recession: S&P Report

Reuters Dec 1, 2011, 03.47pm ISTTags:Standard & Poor's

High frequency indicators in the past month continue to depict Europe's darkening economic landscape, said Standard & Poor's in its report "European Economic Outlook: Back In Recession," published Nov. 30, 2011.

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pancakes from Scratch!

Pancakes from Scratch

(Or Mom’s Helper Pancakes)

You’ll Need:

~ Bowl (preferably with spout) ~ 1 Egg

~ Metal or plastic turner ~ 1 Cup Flour

~ Frying pan (preferably large) ~ 2 Teaspoons Baking Soda

~ Measuring Cup ~ 2 Teaspoons Sugar

~ Measuring Spoon ~ ¼ Teaspoons Salt

~ Serves 4 ~ 1 Cup Milk

~ Double or triple recipe as needed ~ 3 Tablespoons margarine

Difficulty Rating 2

How to Make:

1.) Break egg into bowl and beat with either a whisk or a fork for one minute.

2.) Mix all dry ingredients in a large spouted bowl.

3.) Pour egg into dry ingredients and blend together.

4.) Add milk and 2 tablespoons margarine and beat until batter is smooth (batter should be thin enough to pour easily ~ if batter is too thick add a little milk ~ if batter is too thin add a little flour)

5.) Lightly grease frying pan with 1 tablespoon of margarine.

6.) Heat pan over low heat to the slow count of 20.

7.) When pan is hot, pour a little (like a half of a cup) of the batter into it.

8.) It will spread to form a round flat cake.

9.) When the top of the cake is covered with approximately 12 bubbles (and the edges look slightly dry) use a pan cake turner to turn the pan cake and brown the other side.

10.) Repeat!

*Note: ~ Browning the second side goes a little more quickly than the first side

~ You can make variations of this recipe by adding chocolate chips or applesauce to the batter, or add cheese or jam after they are cooked!

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My first thought was, "someone has shot my truck!"

CAR DOOR - do not delete, important info

Wednesday, I approached my truck from the passenger side to place my computer bag (aka my man purse) in the Front passenger seat.

As I reached to open the door, I noticed there was a hole right under my door handle. My first thought was, "someone has shot my truck!" I began to think about it and inspect it a little closer and the "light" slowly began to come on. I phoned my friend who owns a body shop and asked if he had any vehicles with damage to the doors that looked like a bullet hole.

'Yes, I see it all the time. Thieves have a punch and place it right under the door handle, knock a hole through, reach in and unlock it, just as if they have a key. No alarms, broken glass or anything.' I then placed a call to my insurance agent and explained it to him! I was puzzled that they left my GPS and all other belongings. Here is where it gets scary!

"Oh no,' he said, 'they want the break-in to be so subtle that you don't even realize it. They look at your GPS to see where "home" is. Now they know what you drive, go to your home, and if your vehicle isn't there, they assume you aren't and break into your home."

He says they will even leave a purse or wallet and only take one or two credit cards. By the time you realize there has been a theft, they may have already had a couple days or more to use them. I didn't realize my situation for two full days! They even give you the courtesy of re-locking Your doors for you.

Periodically walk around your car; daily if you are in a shopping center or other parking area. Report thefts immediately...Your bank w/missing check numbers, your credit card agencies, police and insurance companies, etc.

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!