July 2011

29 Jul 2011

It’s Tomato Time in the Carolinas!

As a child, one bite of a tomato would leave me covered in hives. My father, who considered sliced tomatoes a necessary part of every meal, couldn’t believe a child of his was allergic to tomatoes.

I grew up dreading tomato season in the Carolinas. Humble neighbors bragged about their bounties. Bags of tomatoes mysteriously appeared on our doorsteps. Tomatoes were served at every meal, flavors and types discussed at great length. Ugh!

Through the years, the phrase “Why don’t you like tomatoes?” became part of my life. “I’m allergic to them,” was my tired reply. People always eyed me suspiciously.

Fast forward to when I first met my now-husband. “How can you eat fresh salsa if you’re allergic to tomatoes?” he asked.

28 Jul 2011

Two Of The Most Affordable States In The United States

We have written in recent blog posts that now is the time to buy your next home in North Carolina and South Carolina. Combine low mortgage rates and lower housing prices, and you have an incredible housing value.  We believe these will be the days we all look back and wish we had bought another house.  As billionaire investor John Paulson recently said – “If you don’t own a home, buy one. If you own one home, buy another one. If you own two homes, buy a third. And lend your relatives the money to buy a home.”

27 Jul 2011

Who Needs Business Insurance?

The answer to the question above is simple. Everyone who owns a business (full or part-time) should have business insurance.

Your business is one of the most important assets in your life.  It’s the livelihood that ultimately provides for you and your family.

In order to paint the full picture as to the importance of the business you own, it might be necessary to imagine that your business is no longer in business. What would happen if your business had to shut down due to an unforeseen accident or loss of your control?

26 Jul 2011

How to Prepare for a Home Inspection

Most people would think about the inspection of their home the day before the home inspector is scheduled to arrive. But if you are planning to sell your home it is always good practice to take care of some of the potential issues before you put your house on the market.

Is the banister to the deck and/or the stairs loose?  Is there chipping paint on the window frame? If the house was built before 1978, lead-based paint is a concern. And depending on the loan type, it may be a requirement that this be fixed.

25 Jul 2011

What You Need to Know About Carolinas Barbecue

According to Wikipedia, there are four main types of barbecue in the United States: Memphis style, Kansas City style, Texas style, and Carolinas style. I will agree that the other three types are distinctive and enjoyable, but especially for those of us native Carolinians, there is no barbecue like ours.

I grew up on Eastern North Carolina barbecue at places like Wilber’s in Goldsboro and Clyde Cooper’s in Raleigh.  Eastern North Carolina barbecue is made from the whole hog, is usually cooked over a wood fire, and has a thin vinegar-and-pepper sauce.  We eat it right from the hog at a “pig pickin’” or chopped and served on a soft white sandwich bun with homemade coleslaw.  Our friends in Western North Carolina (the line is Lexington, NC) use only the shoulder and like a thicker, tomato-based sauce.

22 Jul 2011

A Vacation That Could Turn Into A Staycation

Many years ago my wife and I visited Beaufort, S.C. (that’s Bewwfort not to be confused with Beaufort, NC pronounced Bowwwfort).

Beaufort is not a town that you pass by on the interstate; you have to want to go there because there’s one way in and out. On the map it appears to be between Charleston and Savannah and a stones throw from Hilton Head.

Beaufort is the kind of place that, once you find it, you don’t want anyone else to because it’s like a secret paradise. The approach is not much to look at…once you get off the interstate it’s 20 miles of nondescript road that directs you to Parris Island, the Marine Corp training station, and then a pretty typical suburban streetscape with its fast food restaurants and ubiquitous Walmart. Then, as you pass the intersection of Ribaut and Boundry streets, the transformation begins.

21 Jul 2011

Is Word of Mouth A Part Of Your Strategy?

I bought two houses before I even fathomed I would have a career in real estate.

With the first house, I found an agent to represent me by haphazardly calling numbers I saw on “For Sale” signs that I drove by. The truth of the matter is that she became my agent by default. Her persistence won me over and quite frankly wore me down.

The second home (which I truly think of as my first home because it was mine alone and no roommates were required!) was a bit of a different story. After learning my lesson the harder way, I decided to do my homework and find an agent whom I thought would be a better fit for me.

20 Jul 2011

Google+ Takes the Stage

One potato, two potato, three potato, four. Five potato, six potato, seven potato, more.

Substitute the word “potato” for “social network” and you’ve got yourself a catchy little ditty that sums up today’s social networking climate beautifully. Every time I so much as look away, it feels as though I have to look back and play catch-up to all of the latest and greatest gadgets, websites and doodads that have launched in my brief absence.

Overwhelming? Oh, you betcha. And this coming from a girl who doesn’t mind living online and reading book after book about trends and case studies (I’m a nerd, I know). Is it going to slow down? Perhaps. But not anytime soon as far as I’m concerned.

19 Jul 2011

Water Tasting … Seriously?

Did you know that the American Water Works Association performs water-tasting competitions across North America annually? I didn’t until recently when the Greenville Business Journal announced that the Greenville Water System won first place, “Best of the Best,” in a water taste test.

I’ve enjoyed the taste of our upstate water over the years, and as this article suggests, I’m not the only one who does. Now, as I’m mowing the yard and chopping up the trees that have fallen because of the violent storms that recently passed through the upstate, I’ll be comforted to know the water I’ll be quenching my thirst with is the finest available on our continent.

18 Jul 2011

Are All Insurance Agents Created Equal?

Ten years ago, you didn’t expect to turn on the television and see insurance companies battling it out for commercial time in between your favorite shows. You also didn’t see them as some of the biggest sponsors of the sporting event of the year, the Super Bowl.

Times have changed though—and some of the big insurance companies out there are spending millions of dollars each year to tell you that you can save 15% in 15 minutes.

Their focus is price-driven and I understand why.  Customers want to save money.  You want to save money. I want to save money too. But I don’t agree with the fact that they simplify insurance as if it’s a commodity like gasoline.


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