Swimming Pool Party

It’s time for warm weather parties and the best kind of party here in Phoenix are pool parties. Since the weather is warm you want to serve food that won’t spoil in the heat. You have the standard finger foods like chips, and cookies, but for healthier choices you can serve sliced vegies if you keep them cool and are careful with dips. Fresh sliced fruit are refreshing. The same care needs to be taken with them. Keep these foods in the shade and on ice. Fresh light drinks are best. Try a seabreeze or a limey kamikaze. Be sure to have vitamin water and bottled water on hand. It’s important to provide plenty of shade for daytime parties. You can serve meals prepared and served on the patio. Shish kabobs laced with steak, pearl onions, red pepper and cherry tomatoes barbecued and dressed with your favorite sauce are always winners, light, fun and satisfying. Serve these with asparagus spears and potato wedges for an easy meal.

Be sure to schedule your swimming pool cleaning a few days in advance of your party so your pool is sparkling clean. There is nothing worse then finding mold or debris in your pool. Music is another important aspect of a successful pool party. Make sure your speakers are placed appropriately so the music is heard but it doesn’t dominate conversation. Think of your guests and their tastes while selecting your tunes and plan this in advance. After all you want to be prepared ahead of time so you can enjoy your party as well. What I like to do is pace myself in preparing for the party, yet have everything ready early. The food and drinks are ready to go, the pool and surrounding area are clean, the house is ready. Now, you can enjoy your pool party, too.

If this is a kids’ party hiring a lifeguard is a great idea. If not you should designate someone that is reliable to watch the kids in the pool.

Knickknacks or Bric-a-Brac

Knickknacks have been around since cave men started to create images from sticks. Also known as bric-a-brac, some people collect a certain brand or type of curio. For instance, bells: glass bells, ceramic bells, copper bells, wooden bells, tin bells, the list goes on. You might want to collect shot glasses from places that you visit. Sometimes it is an unusual interest that spurs a collection. Maybe you collect penguin knickknacks, turtles, dolphins, or dogs.

The key to successful knickknacking is in how they are displayed in your home. It is typical to purchase a corner, glass fronted display case for this. An out of the way corner can usually be found. You can get creative and build a narrow shelf, hang it high up in a hallway to create a more interesting journey through your home. You can feel up the vacant space above your kitchen cabinets with your pride and joys.

Try going to an antique store to look for interesting slotted little boxes to hang on your walls like pictures, and place your various articles in them. You can find antiquing paint to freshen up the look.

Wide windowsills are another place to set out your trinkets. You can hang a narrow shelf across the middle of your kitchen window to hold shot glasses or what have you.

Your collection will be admired by guests and may even become a conversation piece. You will enjoy searching for new ones and enjoy looking at your displays.

Chose your collection wisely because they can easily get out of control once everyone knows and decides to buy you another one for Christmas, your birthday and every other holiday.Think about what you like, enjoy and admire then start your knickknack, bric-a-brac collection today.









Styles around the country.

Part of the year I live in the Northwest. Here it is fashionable for homes to be built with fat timbers, cathedral ceilings with windows from floor to peak, expansive decks, open living, dining and kitchen all set amid pines and cedars.

Part of the year I live in the southwest. I bet you can guess what part of the year. The style her is stucco exteriors, arched doorways, tiled floors that stay cool in the summer and grassless yards.

All the rage in cities now are the loft apartments rising above the bustling downtown walking malls. Here the look is retro. There is a fantastic condo complex in Scottsdale, Aroizona called Optima. The style is retro with gardens lacing the grounds, restaurants, work out room, tech center, and even a furniture store. All this is within blocks of Oldtown. Check it out at Optimaweb.com. The people are interesting, the cars range from Lamborghini to Tesla. The secret is money. It’s not unusual to see luxury stretch limos pulled up to escort the wealth across town to dine in some of the exquisite restaurants in the area. Each unit has a balcony covered with palms and large citrus trees. On the main level there is a golf green.

Perhaps the retro condo is taking hold across the country as a new, faster, more convenient way to live, from New York to LA and Miami to Seattle. This life and style fit the young, wealthy entrepreneurs that frequent these areas.

The style of home tends to match the head space of the people that live there. The rustic style of the Northwest reflects the desire to live in nature. The southwestern style reflects the barren beauty of the desert, open and free. The plush, retro condo reflects life in the fast lane.

Home Improvement is Money in Your Pocket

In most situations, improving your home is money in your pocket. One exception might be in improving a manufactured home. For mostly illogical reasons, manufactured homes tend to lose value over time instead of the other way around as in stick build homes. This is illogical because manufactured homes are built according to strict building codes. Sometimes these codes are more stringent then the ones in a county the home is being built in. For instance, in Phoenix Arizona where there are many manufactured homes, many of which are owned by retired or semi-retired snow birds, they are built by a code at least as stringent if not more so then the codes of Maricopa County.

Kitchen and bath remodels are popular. You can save a great deal of money, hence enhance your return upon the sale of your property by doing the work yourself. No need to be intimidated by such things as tiling, painting, laying flooring, landscaping, and even some plumbing and electric. There is so much DYI information on the internet and elsewhere that you can learn how to do these things. And remember, practice makes perfect. I’m a petite woman and have learned to do everything from laying flooring, to tiling, installing new plumbing, framing walls etc. etc. If I can do it you can do it.

In my area of Phoenix Arizona there are many opportunities still to purchase foreclosed and discounted properties. This scenario may not last as prices are moving up. If you have the time and the knowledge you can turn a best deal fixer upper into a retirement account. My advice is to find a good realtor. One that gets up early in the morning to catch the best deals, before other buyers find them.  Don’t hesitate when you find the steal of a deal because it may not be there tomorrow. Haste makes waste.