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Pumpkin Bourbon Bread Pudding

4 lb. Pie Pumpkin

2 tbs. Butter, plus some for greasing

4 Eggs, beaten

2 cups Heavy cream

1 cup Light brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract

5 tbs. Bourbon

1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 Fresh nutmeg, grated

1 lb. Brioche loaf, 1 inch cubes

1 cup pecans

Bourbon Icing

2 tbs. Bourbon

1 cup Confectioner’s Sugar

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut pumpkin into quarters and remove seeds. Brush inside with melted butter and arrange on a baking sheet, skin-side up. Roast until pumpkin is soft, about 1 hour. Remove from oven, let cool. Scoop out pumpkin, discard skin and puree pumpkin.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl combine 2 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree, eggs, cream, brown sugar, vanilla, bourbon and spices. Arrange brioche cubes in butter greased 7×11 baking dish. Sprinkle in pecans. Pour pudding mix over bread and let sit for 30 minutes (You may not use all of mixture at once, pour in rest of pudding as dish settles). Bake 50 minutes, until custard is set. Serve warm.

Combine bourbon and sugar. Pour over bread pudding when serving (optional).

Wandering NYC

I am not a big touristy kind of girl… especially when I am visiting a place I used to live. I like to experience a place like the locals do. However, in New York City, if you want to do the tourist things then there is plenty that is amazingly educational about the cities rich history. But this post is about my recent trip to the Big Apple, which was all about riding the city vibe.

My boss babe friend has been living in the city for a few months on an incredible internship. She found a cute little AirBnB in Brooklyn… So, when I lived in NYC I think I went to Brooklyn once, maybe twice. It wasn’t a very nice place and when you have to take an hour train ride… That was like traveling to LA in a car from Ohio! I’m good. So I was definitely in shock when I got there and realized how cute Brooklyn is. Who knew! It felt so homey and from what I saw and understand it is more afordable to live than Manhattan. Although, like any hopping neighborhood that won’t necessarily stay that way. Regardless it’s so cute!If I had to move back to NYC I just might live in Brooklyn…. Okay, probably not. I am a Upper Westside girl but I’d give it a good thought maybe…

The first day there I took a little run through the beautiful brownstone lined streets of Brooklyn… the perfect way to energize my run! Hello, Fall! Then I headed into Manhattan. When it comes to anything other than Manhattan trains I am lost in the sauce. But I learned something cool… You can use your Maps to give your “transit” directions! What?! Total lifesaver… Although, on the way in I was reading and working on the Subway… Great use of time… unless you get sucked into a good book and miss your stop. Don’t do that! No fun! But I finally met up with my girl for lunch and a little Boss Babe Power Hour. There is just something so invigorating and inspiring about working in the City. Got so much done and it felt great! We had a really yummy lunch at the Bean & Bean Organic Coffee shop in Chelsea. The hummus avocado sandwich is perfection!


That night we decided that an epic meal was in our future… so before we pigged out in foodie heaven we hit up a cycling class. Not my first choice but it turned out to be the best choice! We went to BKYLYN. I have taken cycling classes before but this class was out of bounds! I didn’t even realize I was working out… I mean, I knew, trust me. The burn was real but I had a blast! Danielle was so kind and really umped us up! After we walked down the street to a restaurant we found on Yelp… When we got there we were drenched in sweat and in gym clothes… And the restaurant, Faust, is pretty fancy. But we said Fuck It and went in anyway! Glad we did.. the hostess said that people come over after working out all the time. Phew! So glad we didn’t let our look change our minds… I had the rabbit bolognese… O.M.G. I can’t even describe the level of amazingness of this dish. I am not a huge rabbit person our server told me it was the best on the menu so I said let’s do it… He wasn’t lying! Heavens to Betsy! It was so good. I was tempted to try a dessert too but we had something fun in store to feed our sweet tooth!

We walked a few “NYC” block to one of the coolest places I have ever been. You walk into Butter & Scotch and first the smell of homemade delights hits you… then you catch the vibe. It’s kind of almost a dive but not…. It’s cozy but vibrant. And the menu… OMG I just enjoyed reading the menu! Especially when they describe the yummiest cookie ever and under the description it  says, “Dude, dunk it in a White Russian.” Yes, please! I almost got this signature Birthday Cake because after all #BitchesLoveSprinkles

The next day was a bit more of a go with the flow kind of day. My little cousin has been living in the City so we met up at the Meatball Shop. I didn’t realize that it is a chain… but now that I know, I am praying they open one in Columbus or Charleston… Very soon! I got the Smash with Heritage Balls and Parmesan Cream sauce and for my side I got the sprouts… Dude… DUDE! I am not a big meatball fan but this place has completely changed my mind! They were so yummy. I ate it all!

After lunch I took a walk through the East Side. I needed some gifts for the fam bam… where else do you go?… Bloomingdales! Okay, so this was the one touristy thing I did. But, I mean, its Bloomingdales. I had so much fun wandering through and buying all kinds of goodies!

That night was our last night in the city. We wanted to make it special since it was my girl’s farewell night. We got all dressed up and went back to the City to the Meatpacking District to Restoration Hardware. Again, yes, I can go to RH back home… but it’s just not the same. RH in NYC is huge! Several floors of beautiful interior designed spaces. I could have spent all day there. I soaked up as much inspo as I possibly could. Absolutely dreamy!

We had dinner on the rooftop restaurant at Restoration Hardware. The views were absolutely breathtaking. And everything was just so perfect. The service was top notch and then some! The RH Belini… You’ve got to try it! Refreshingly delish! For dinner we split a salad, which it’s a salad but even it was outstanding! For dinner I had the roast beef sandwich with au jus and french fries with garlic aioli. They don’t have a ton of food options and not much for small meals but the sandwich did not leave me disappointed. It melted in my mouth like I a beefy cloud. Paired with a pinot… yeah, good choice!

It was a magical evening and the perfect way to end our trip. I will say I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get my New York slice. I kept thinking about it the whole trip…. How can I squeeze a slice in… Well, on our drive home I got my New York City slice! Maybe it wasn’t in the City but it tasted just as good! We stopped in Harrisburg, PA at Tonino’s. And of course I had to have a pepperoni slice in my adorable YummieWear tank (a gift from the Yummie Gang after meeting up for a quick photoshoot before we hit the road.)

Perfect quick trip to New York City. If you find yourself in the Big Apple make sure you check out one or all of these amazing places… You won’t be disappointed!! Happy Wandering!

 

Selling your Haunted House

Selling your home can already be a spooky process… Now add some real haunts and spooks. What do you have to do when there are Boo-worthy features floating around in your home.

  1. You think your home is Haunted… Spooky! Maybe you had the modern day Ghost Busters come give your Haunted House a once over and low an behold they found some spirits lurking about. Maybe you aren’t for certain but you think that maybe there are some ghosts floating through the halls. To some this might seem like a joke but to some it is serious business. Contact your REALTOR® to help guide you through the local Dos and Don’ts. Some place will require you to disclose a possible haunting. Others don’t really care. Marketing your haunted home as a Home Scream Home could actually make your home more valuable! So know the local scene.
  2. Someone passed away in your home. This one is again a bit of a grey area. Every local market has their own standard for disclosing deaths in a home or on the property. But if someone asks…. TELL THE TRUTH!
  3. Redrum…Redrum…Redrum! Now murder is an absolute must disclose. It’s public record so there is no reason to hid the truth. Especially since this is an issue that many consumers consider a deal breaker. If it matter to the masses… Disclose It!

When in doubt ask your agent. Every location has different requirements for what you need to disclose. Talk to a professional to keep yourself out of any spooky situation.

Cut Out The Noise

In today’s world noise surrounds us. Sometimes it is just noise… External things and chatter happening around us. Sometimes it is the drama that is a part of our everyday life and can engulf us… If we let it. So how do you shut it out and focus on you? It isn’t always easy, but it can be done with a little intention and creativity.

Noise comes in many forms from gossip to traffic to a soul sucking job. First thing you have to do is really understand what noise is to you. For each of us this is different. What may annoy me might make you laugh. Once you identify what is noise you can then begin to deal with it. So, understanding you is at the heart of living your best life noise free.

One of the easiest thing to do is simply cut out the drama and noise from your life. About a year ago I went on a super deep exploration of my life. I analyzed everything in my life and started cutting out the noise. I had a few friends that drained me. Whenever I would end a conversation with them I felt depleted and sometimes a little depressed or annoyed. So, I stopped talking to them. I didn’t confront them about what was going on I just stopped reaching out and always seemed to be busy… which isn’t a lie! I barley have time to see anyone, but my true friends totally understand and are completely happy with a phone call once a week or so. And let me tell you what… those friends, those conversations are insane! I end chats with them completely inspired and uplifted. It has changed my life and my daily behaviors like you would not believe… all because I cut out people who are no longer in the same headspace as myself. Some of them were toxic others were just small thinkers (which is completely okay!). They just aren’t right for me at this time and place of my life.

Sometimes we can’t cut out the noise completely. Sometimes we have to learn to live with it. Like traffic… you have to go to work. You have to leave the house… okay you don’t have to, but I highly recommend it. So, in these moments try to find another way to live with the traffic…. Did you ever think the traffic is the perfect opportunity for you to be more productive? I have a long commute and sometimes as a REALTOR® I have to drive a lot…. A LOT! So, I take that time to not get annoyed with the driving, but instead I take that time to listen to a podcast to inspire self-growth or I call clients that I need to call that day. By the end of my drive I am not anxious or annoyed at all…. I am actually super motivated.

There are a zillion ways to cut out or divert the noise… You just have to be creative and experiment with what works for you. Don’t get me wrong… the noise still gets to me sometimes, like on social media. Ugh. But I have learned not to fear the unfollow button!!! Especially on Facebook. It’s my best friend (did you know you and unfollow someone on Facebook and not unfriend them?! So no one has to know!!)

Do what you have to do to protect your happiness. This is your life and you only get one chance to live it. Live it with peace and noise free as much as possible. Whatever you have to do is important for you and the ones you live. So do it and Give Zero Fucks about it!

Wandering In St. Louis

Our wanderlust adventure in St. Louis

Y’all!! I finally had a trip that I never wanted to end. Our travels to St. Louis were absolutely enjoyable and relaxing… which, with a two year old isn’t an easy thing to achieve. But St. Louis was magical. I am already planning my trip back. I can’t wait!

Our wanderlust adventure in St. Louis

For starters, we stayed in an Airbnb… brilliant! Talk about a game changer! Shocking as it may be, this was my first Airbnb… yeah, I know. Anywho, it was amazing. We stayed in this adorable little cottage… Okay, well… So, when we first got there it was almost midnight and to get to this cottage you drive up this massive hill and at the end of the lane it splits off from all the other little homes and ends with these two storage buildings. You don’t see the cottage until you look down this hill behind the storage sheds… and it was pitch black… and you can hear wildlife… and you have no idea where the hell you are… so CREEPY! Note to self, bring a flashlight. We got into the cottage and holy cuteness! It was absolutely adorable and CLEAN! It had everything we needed. Of course, the AC was not working. Go figure! The bedrooms were upstairs and the first floor was already at 80 degrees. So it was warm and we were so tired. But the property managers came out and fixed it! Talk about amazing service! They were so sweet and gave us amazing tips on places to check out.

 

Our wanderlust adventure in St. Louis

The next morning we woke up in the most beautiful place. The cottage was nestled in the woods with a large yard for Duke to run. It was just stunning. There wasn’t any Wifi BUT you just had to take a short walk to this adorable sitting area that overlooked the Mississippi River. And to be honest… We didn’t end up using Wifi . It was vacation time afterall!

Our wanderlust adventure in St. Louis

Our wanderlust adventure in St. LouisOur first day we just wandered around driving through Grafton and Alton, exploring the countryside… which is gorgeous. I took the opportunity to take as many photo ops as possible. Which ended up being tons of fun. We had lunch at The Loading Dock which sits right on the Mississippi River. The food was typical bar/diner food but the view was breathtaking. (If you’re going in the Fall/Winter be aware that they are only open on the weekends) Then we went back to the cottage and ran around the yard capturing as many memories as possible. Such a magical moment.

 

For dinner we picked up pizza at this delicious local joint called Johnson’s Corner. The pizza… Holy Amazeballs! So good. I think the mushroom truffle pizza was my fav. But what’s fun about Johnson’s Corner is that they offer a monthly special pizza that is really just an experiment. Their disclaimer is that it doesn’t always work out… which for me if brilliant! So right up my alley. I love a good adventure.

Our wanderlust adventure in St. Louis

The next day I woke up and walked up to the lookout spot to just take in the river. The best part about that morning for me was that I was able to see something I have NEVER seen before… white pelicans! St. Louis is a great place to catch migratory birds like bald eagles and white pelicans. They are gorgeous and in mass numbers which is so majestic. Very cool thing to see.

Our wanderlust adventure in St. Louis

 

Our wanderlust adventure in St. LouisThen we headed to the zoo! Which if you didn’t know is FREE! Whaaatt???!!! Heck yeah it is! And it is fantastic. Possibly one of the best zoos I have ever been too. They have done a truly incredible job landscaping the grounds. You feel like you are in a park not a zoo. It is very calming. The exhibits are beautiful too. They have done a wonderful job giving the exhibits that natural feel. Of course this means tons of hiding places for the animals but none of us seemed to mind. We got to see so many rare animals that you don’t see in other zoos so it was still incredible. The kids had a blast running everywhere and seeing all of their fav animals in an experience that feels so close. If you are ever in St. Louis you absolutely MUST go to the zoo no matter your age. So fun!

 

That night the whole gang came back to the cottage for dinner. I think that is what I truly enjoyed. It was so wonderful to invite everyone over and spend some quality family time. The kids could run and we could relax and enjoy it without fear of what they might get into. That is just not something you get if you stay in a hotel.

Our wanderlust adventure in St. Louis

I so wish our trip could have been longer. The Alton-Grafton area so gorgeous and beyond peaceful. While it’s on the Illinois side of the river it is crazy close to the city. So you get to do all the cool city stuff in St. Louis and yet enjoy the tranquility of the wilderness on the Illinois side. I can’t wait to go back. Absolutely heading back soon to explore more of the area and enjoy the coziness of that adorable little cottage.

Our wanderlust adventure in St. Louis

Creating The Right Down Payment Strategy

Down Payment

You’ve most likely heard the rule: Save for a 20-percent down payment before you buy a home. The logic behind saving 20 percent is solid, as it shows that you have the financial discipline and stability to save for a long-term goal. It also helps you get favorable rates from lenders.

But there can actually be financial benefits to putting down a small down payment—as low as three percent—rather than parting with so much cash up front, even if you have the money available.

THE DOWNSIDE

The downsides of a small down payment are pretty well known. You’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance for years, and the lower your down payment, the more you’ll pay. You’ll also be offered a lesser loan amount than borrowers who have a 20-percent down payment, which will eliminate some homes from your search.

THE UPSIDE

The national average for home appreciation is about five percent. The appreciation is independent from your home payment, so whether you put down 20 percent or three percent, the increase in equity is the same. If you’re looking at your home as an investment, putting down a smaller amount can lead to a higher return on investment, while also leaving more of your savings free for home repairs, upgrades, or other investment opportunities.

THE HAPPY MEDIUM

Of course, your home payment options aren’t binary. Most borrowers can find some common ground between the security of a traditional 20 percent and an investment-focused, small down payment. Your trusted real estate professional can provide some answers as you explore your financing options.

Creating A Dreamy Accent Wall

An accent wall can totally transform a room, taking it from boring and drab to bold and exciting. Accent walls create a new focal point for your space, add liveliness and contrast, and are typically a very inexpensive DIY project.

The starter accent wall

You can easily add an accent wall to your room in one afternoon by applying a new paint color. Deep blues and bright oranges are common choices for accent walls, but choose a color that will complement your existing decor and overall design aesthetic.

Interesting textures

Bright, contrasting paint is a good starting point, but there are other options for accent walls that are even more eye-catching and distinct. Floor-to-ceiling wood planks can make your home seem both rustic and modern all at once and provide a natural, outdoors-inspired feel. It’s more work than simply painting a wall, but it’s still relatively inexpensive. You can source the wood from pallets on Craigslist and stain it yourself before attaching it to your wall. It takes a little extra elbow grease, but it’s worth the effort.

Patterns, murals, and more

Paint and wood are bold enough on their own to transform a room, but they’re still pretty subtle compared to other accent wall options. A chalk paint accent wall is a creative idea for any room and makes for some fun moments when you’re entertaining. There are also endless options for wallpaper and stenciling if you want some patterns or you can get really bold with a mural or oversized art print.

Let’s Go Green

We all want to keep this beautiful world we live in beautiful. So we GO GREEN! Sure, going green is great for the environment, but that’s not the only benefit. Holla! For your wallet! When you make green upgrades in your home, it can also lead to some serious savings. Go Green and Save some Green… SCORE

Solar panels: The upfront cost will sting a bit, but the long-term savings are huge. Solar panels will cost several thousand dollars to install, but ongoing maintenance costs are very low, and a typical system could save you hundreds of dollars per year. You can even sell your surplus electricity. Get paid to save… No way?!!

Wood furnace: Wood-burning furnaces are relatively inexpensive, and though the yearly savings aren’t as dramatic (about 10% on heating bills), it adds up over the long run. So if you’re living in your dream home and don’t plan on moving anytime soon… well this is an investment that will make a difference over time.

Insulation: There’s a good chance your insulation isn’t very efficient, especially in older homes. Look into installing floor, cavity, wall, and loft insulation to reduce your heating bills. There are many options out there. Make sure you find a professional who has options and can help you find the right insulation for your home.

Rain barrels: Rain barrels are extremely inexpensive… like less than that cute pair of jeans with the holes inexpensive. Plus they provide gallons of FREE water to use when you wash your car or water your garden. Free water? Yes, you will be very cute in those jeans while you water the garden with your FREE water!

Geothermal system: OK, so the price tag is scary at first. So a geothermal system uses the earth’s temperature to heat and cool your home, but can cost $30,000 to install. But tax credits allow you to get a lot of that money back, and the energy savings average about $1,900 per year. If you plan to be in your home for a decade or two, it’s a great investment.

Clearly there are many amazing ways to make your home green with envy. But it will take some planning. If you plan it right and invest smartly then you will be rolling in the green in your dream green home.

Tuscan Anniversary Dinner

I hope y’all enjoy this super fun Anniversary meal I whipped up the other night on my parent’s 19th anniversary. This feeds a lot so you can have an anniversary dinner party with friends or you can enjoy the leftovers! Either way your tummy will be happy.

 

Bison Mushroom Pasta

1 lb. bison roast

4 tbls. olive oil

salt and pepper

1 cup fresh basil, minced

1 cup fresh oregano, minced

1 cup fresh rosemary, minced

3 Shallots, minced

6 garlic cloves, minced

Whipping cream

3/4 cup semi-sweet white wine

4 fresh basil leaves, chopped

2 fresh oregano sprigs, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1 bunch of asparagus

1/2 cup of baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped (garnish)

1/2 cup shaved parmesan cheese

Place bison on a plate. Drizzle 1 tbls. of olive oil over the bison, rubbing it into the meat. Sprinkle each side with salt and pepper, generously… It’s meat, give it some flavor, y’all! Mix the first 3 herbs in a small bowl. Rub the herbs on either side of the meat. Cover and set aside. I would suggest moving on to your appetizers now and coming back to dinner while the apps are enjoyed… But you can also let the meat marinate a touch and before it is time to cook make sure to take the meat out about 30 minutes before so that it can come up to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350° Heat large pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbls olive oil. When oil is hot place bison in pan. Sear each side for 5 minutes or until seared. Place bison on a broiler pan… A baking pan is just fine as well… you just need something to catch the drippings! No messes, please. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes.Remove from oven and cover. Allow to rest while you whisky your hand off!

Cook one package of pasta noodles according to package… I really like the fettuccine noodles they held up well to the sauce but go with your fav and it will be perfect!

Heat large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tbls olive oil. When oil is hot add shallots and garlic. Cook until translucent. Stir in whipping cream, wine, wine, basil, oregano salt and pepper. Stir bringing to a boil. Slowly sprinkle in pinches of the flour while vigorously whisking it into the sauce. We always knew we could get away with ANYTHING when mama was making a gravy… DO NOT LEAVE YOUR SAUCE! KEEP WHISKING! Now, keep an eye on that sauce… When it begins to thicken STOP! But if it does get too think then you can always add more wine!  Once the sauce has thickened and the taste is to your liking you can toss in the asparagus and mushrooms. Cook until asparagus is tender. Remove from heat.

Assemble your pasta however make you feel fancy! If desired, sprinkle fresh parsley and shaved Parmesan. Serve warm.

Serves 6

Peach Mozz Insalata

1 large peach, diced

1/2 lb. mozzarella balls

4 large fresh basil leaves, minced

Bourbon balsamic vinegar, if desired

In a medium sized bowl mix all of the ingredients together until well mixed. Drizzle a Bourbon or other favorite balsamic vinegar on top if desired. Serve chilled.

Serves 6

 

Bruschetta

1 baguette

2tbs. olive oil

3 medium tomatoes, diced

1 small red onion, diced

6 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup fresh basil, minced

1 tbs. balsamic vinegar

Parmesan cheese, if desired

Turn oven on to 350° Slice the baguette on a bias making 1 inch slices. Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet/pan. Place bread slices on the baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil on top of bread slices. Bake for 5 minutes or until toasted.

In a medium bowl mix remaining 5 ingredients together. Mix well. Remove bread from oven. Place bread slices on a serving dish. Top each slice with a spoonful of tomato topping. Sprinkle shaved parmesan cheese over bruscetta if desired. Serve immediately.

Serves 6

 

Wanderlust Where You Live

Find your Wanderlust no matter where you live.

 

To wanderlust is to have an irresistible impulse to travel. This, yes, this I get. Clearly… I’m the wanderlust REALTOR® after all. But as life got crazy busy with work, a munchkin and all that fills a life, my concept of wanderlust has changed. Before it was about traveling to far of exotic places… Now, not so much.

I would LOVE to explore the world. That has always been my dream and a big piece of my WHY. The reason I hustle my ass of and am working on building my empire is to be able to see and share the word with my munchkin. But let’s be real… when you are building your empire the last thing you have time or money for is to travel the world. So my wanderlust heart is changing.

I am starting to realize that I can satisfy my wanderlust by exploring the world I live in. The world that is close. I don’t have to leave the country, the state or even the city I live in! So that is what I have been doing lately. I am exploring my world. I go camping whenever I can. Nothing to far away so that I can still stay connected with my clients.

Once I started allowing myself to see my local world like some exotic foreign country… Whoa! Holy crap do I love where I live so much more! At 18 I left Ohio as quickly as I possibly could and I never looked back. Before moving back it had been years since I had come home. I wanted nothing to do with Ohio. Then life forced me back and I fought it. But now I am seeing this beautiful state for it’s true beauty. I am exploring it’s lakes and rivers, it food joints, its entertainment spots and all the goodies in between. Now I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

So get out there. Explore YOUR world. Wanderlust the place you live. You might find a fabulous surprise.