Garden clubs begin new season with September meetings

Herbs From Your Garden to the Dinner Table: with Lucia Ferrara Bettler of Lucia’s Garden, sponsored by Gardeners by the Bay. 9 a.m. at University Baptist Church, 16106 Middlebrook Drive, Clear Lake; Backyard Birds: with Ray Wolcam. 9:30 a.m. Nottingham Country Garden Club meeting at the Municipal Utility Building, 805 Hidden Canyon Drive, Katy; 281-579-7017, 10; Tier 2, landscape and garden plants, Sept. 19-Dec. Fall shrubs and tree planting clinic: 10:15 a.m. at Cornelius Nursery, 1200 N. Dairy Ashford and 2233 S. Voss; Includes educational programs, lunch, a nature-book sale, book signings and zoo entry. 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the Houston Zoo’s Brown Education Center, 6200 Hermann Park Drive.

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Via: Gardening


How to Know if a Neighborhood is Right for You

allstate How to Know if a Neighborhood is Right for You

Before you buy a home and make what’s likely to be one of the biggest investments of your life, you owe it to yourself to get good information on your new neighborhood. Getting a deal on the home of your dreams can quickly turn sour if the neighborhood doesn’t meet your expectations. Here’s how to research a neighborhood before you buy a home.

Look into the Crime Rates

In addition to the U.S. Census Bureau’s city profiles that list crime statistics, you can try sites like, which offers local maps where you can access crime data in near-real time (the site has partnerships with more than 1,000 law enforcement agencies). You might also visit the local police department to ask about crime statistics and reports or sex offender registries and to find out what neighborhood watches or alerts are in operation. You can also try services like Family Watchdog for alerts about sex offenders in the neighborhood. 

Walk the Neighborhood

Visit the neighborhood at various times of day, and on different days. The nature of a neighborhood changes from day to night, and from weekday to weekend. Make sure the activity and noise levels are to your liking. If you see residents out doing yardwork or walking their …read more


Homes from “VMA” Nominee Hometowns

Justin Graceland Homes from VMA Nominee Hometowns

No matter the artist or genre, part of what makes music so powerful and enduring is the intense connection every artist has to “where they’re from”. The sights, sounds, feelings and people in our “hometowns” are inextricably tied to who we are and those influences almost always resonate in the music artists make. You can almost see and feel Arkansas on a hot summer day through Johnny Cash’s classics, and Frank Sinatra’s iconic tunes ooze the laid back swagger of New York in the 30s and 40s.

The music has changed, but today’s most popular artists still wear their “homes” on their sleeves no matter where their travels take them. With the MTV Video Music Awards nominations recently being announced, it occurred to us that the nominated artists in the “Video of the Year” category all have especially strong ties to their hometowns. To commemorate one of the most entertaining music award shows around, let’s take a look at some homes from their old stomping grounds.

Justin Timberlake – Memphis, Tennessee

Though he up and moved to Florida as a young boy to begin his career in entertainment, Justin has always professed a love for his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee; especially the great …read more


Panther City: Fort Worth’s Economic Resiliency

Nicknamed Panther City after the Civil War, Fort Worth, Texas evolved from a small, frontier town to a thriving metropolitan city with a strong economic presence in the Southwestern United States. Founded in 1849 as a small garrison, Fort Worth grew substantially during the mid-1800s as it became an important trading post facilitated by its location on the Old Chisholm Trail—a popular route for ranchers herding cows from West Texas. Christened “Panther City” as a joke from Dallas-based newspaper employee, who poked fun at the city’s slow post-Civil War revitalization, Fort Worth residents proudly adopted the moniker as an alternative name for their city.

From Cow Town to Boom Town

While Fort Worth faced a devastating economic downtown after the Civil War like many other cities in the South, the arrival of the Texas & Pacific Railroad helped revitalize the once small frontier town. As a major rail station, Fort Worth quickly became a commercial hub and trading post. Eventually businesses established permanent roots in Panther City and the community began to quickly modernize. As a mainstay of the cattle trading industry, the city ultimately became the largest meat packing and processing center in the American Southwest.

Fort Worth’s Modern Economy

The …read more


Secrets to Buying Your First Home

Telling+a+secret thumb 572xauto 204006 500x401 Secrets to Buying Your First Home

The basics of looking for your first home are an often discussed item within real estate circles. I should know because we dedicated a whole week to it. But as any experience homeowner or real estate professional will tell you, there’s always more that can be learned to prepare you for buying that first home.

In this segment from NBC’s LXTV Open House, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage agent, Ronnie Aiosa, teams up with designer and home improvement pro, George Oliphant, to cover some of the secrets to buying your first home.

One of the most useful tips they hit on in the video that was important for me was to look past the decor. When my wife and I first saw our current home, I was ready to turn around and leave after the first five minutes. The previous owners had painted the baseboard heating panels orange and baby blue. Baby blue! Wallpaper from Tony Manero’s house in Saturday Night Fever adorned pretty much every room. But our Coldwell Banker agent, emphasized that it’s easy to paint and wallpaper can be removed. If the “bones” of the house and the location fit our needs we shouldn’t let the lack of …read more


Don’t Pass Up Your “Almost Perfect” Dream Home

When I first started my hunt for the perfect home I asked my mom, “Is buying a house sort of like trying on a wedding dress? Will I know for sure when I find the right one?” My mom laughed and said, “No. It isn’t going to feel like a wedding dress.” She explained that no matter what, even if I found the “almost perfect” house, I was going to have doubts. This is the biggest purchase of my life up until now and it is going to be a bit nerve wracking. To help combat our first time home buyer nervousness, my mom advised my husband and I to make a list of pros and cons and to try to stay analytical rather than emotional.

Buyers may have a very specific idea in mind when they are begin looking at real estate listings and shopping for a house. In some cases, they may find their “almost perfect” dream home that is missing one amenity or feature that makes them turn away. However, passing up a property that would be otherwise perfect if it had a pool or granite countertops can cause buyers to miss out on many opportunities.

So before dismissing a …read more


10 Homes Perfect for Vacations and Staycations

According to Gallup, July is the most popular month to take a vacation. Whether you decide to take a trip or choose the increasingly popular “staycation” route, your home during summer vacation plays an important role while you retreat, relax and recharge.

We have compiled an assortment of 10 beautiful homes that are perfect for vacationer and staycationers.

Staycation “Vacation spent at home or nearby” (

There are various reasons why one may choose a staycation over a vacation. Some of the benefits of a staycation include more flexibility for a variety of activities, less of a hassle to plan, and of course overall savings on  lodging and airline tickets/gas. For many, a staycation is more relaxing and provides the unique opportunity to “be a tourist” in their own community or state.

1. Adams St, Boston, MA  $612,750

18th Century charm meets 21st Century comfort in this nearly 2,200-square-foot penthouse loft with a grand multi-pane arched window offering panoramic views of Baker Square and the Neponset River. The staycationer of this beautiful penthouse can enjoy laying by the pool or exploring all that Boston has to offer including shopping, restaurants, and entertainment. View Property

Currently listed by <a class="colorbox" title="Michael Pallares Coldwell Banker" …read more


Real Estate Headlines for the Almost End of July

It’s only July. How dare stores already start to promote “back to school.” There’s still a full month of summer fun left. Before you take back your right to summer by running through the sprinkler in your backyard, here’s your weekly dose of real estate headlines: states the obvious with this headline: Hiring an Experienced Real Estate Agent is Important.

The Guardian thinks rent control is the key to fixing UK’s housing problems.

AOL Real Estate reports that mortgage rates are seen as “stabilizing.”

How’s this for backwards? Could Detroit going bankrupt help its housing market?

Could buying a greener home get you a bigger mortgage?

Thanks to startups and rich parents 20-somethings are buying up million-dollar homes faster than ever.

This is great for first-time buyers and experienced ones alike: How to calculate the “total cost of ownership” before buying or renting a home.

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting report on the rise of the young buyer.

And finally, has a list of 5 “exciting features” that home buyers will pay extra for. Not sure I agree with their #5: a Granny flat.

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The Results are in: “I Wish My Home Had a_____”

pool 300x168 The Results are in: I Wish My Home Had a

The results are in!

We want to thank all of our great Twitter followers who responded to our question, “I Wish My Home Had A_______.” The amount of feedback was astounding and the responses were quite interesting. One of the best parts of owning a home is definitely getting to dream up how to “make it your own.” There are no limitations to how far one can go to make a home unique! (Unless you have a money tree in your backyard, which just so happened to be on some people’s wishlist)

After calculating all of the replies, the numbers reveal that 26% of respondents wish their home had a pool. We totally understand why. A pool is where countless memories are made with family and friends. We also realize a pool would definitely come in handy during the summer’s heat wave that seems to have engulfed the country. For all who dream of pools, check out our Stunning Swimming Pools Pinterest board to admire and use as inspiration for your pool hopes.

7% of respondents stated they wish they could have a home with an incredible view. Who could blame them?!

In third place with 6% …read more