Archive | October, 2011

We’re Sweet on Sweet Potatoes

31 Oct

When I was growing up in the North, sweet potatoes generally made an annual appearance – for the holidays, and they were usually drowning in brown sugar and butter. As a kid, I was convinced that you could eat them if you couldn’t taste them. It wasn’t until I moved to the South that I realized sweet potatoes are a highly respected and nutritious staple and frequent star of the dinner table.

I guess that’s because we grow them here – lots of them. North Carolina is the No. 1 grower of sweet potatoes in the U.S., bringing in $176 million last year. They are the official state vegetable (if you follow that sort of thing). Many former tobacco farmers now produce sweet potatoes that thrive in the same heat and sandy soil. And that’s just one healthy aspect of this odd-shaped tuber. Continue reading

How Do You Like Your Halloween?

28 Oct

How do you like your Halloween? Spooky? Terrifying? Downright I’ll-never-sleep-tonight scary?

Whatever fright factor you prefer, you’ll find something spine-chillingly appropriate in the Carolinas. Haunted houses, many done for local charities, can be found in just about every community. Continue reading

Football Time

27 Oct

It’s hard to believe we are heading into November already! This is the time when the leaves start to fall, the colder weather starts to kick in, and the college football season starts to get really serious.

Here in North Carolina, we have some great football action happening from the mountains to the coast. In the ACC, we have Duke, N.C. State, North Carolina, and Wake Forest battling for some important victories that can matter for the bowl selection committees in November. Wake Forest has a legitimate shot at getting to the ACC Championship game that will be held on Saturday, Dec. 3 in Charlotte. Continue reading

Mortgages and Utility Costs: New Legislation Pending

26 Oct

As we are all aware, qualifying for a mortgage these days is anything but easy. What if it was made even more complicated?

Recently a bill, called the Sensible Accounting to Value Energy Act, was co-sponsored by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). If enacted, the bill would require all government-sponsored lenders (so that includes FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – more than 90% of the current mortgage market) to include monthly utility costs in their debt to income ratios. In other words, lenders would have to take into account how much a borrower pays for electricity and gas when determining if he or she could meet the monthly mortgage payment. Continue reading

Making An Offer Involves More Than Just A Price

25 Oct

When I was younger, I never gave much thought to what my future home would look like. I never conjured up images or tore ideas out of magazines to store in a shoebox. I knew that I would own a home one day, so for the most part, I had a “think about it when the time comes” mentality.

The day I started dreaming up all sorts of ideas for my future home is one I will never forget. It is burned into my brain and I can vividly recall what I was wearing, whom I was with, the smells that bombarded me, and the feeling of anxiety that washed over me like a sudden summer shower.I had just moved to New York after graduating from college and found myself standing in door-less, closet-less room (which was to be my bedroom). That was the moment I started to think and dream about a place I would one day call my own. Continue reading

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