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Kitchen Cabinets – Selecting The Right Wood

Are you working on selecting the right wood for your kitchen cabinets? Maybe you are in the market to remodel or build a new kitchen? Here are some things you should know about kitchen cabinets and selecting the right wood.

Recently I have been visiting a lot of kitchen cabinet makers and learning a lot about the differences between wood that is used to build kitchens that I wanted to share with you guys. I am building a kitchen from scratch… One of many things we are building in the custom built home we are working on. My fiance and I enjoying cooking so designing and building a dream kitchen is very important to us. Cabinets and appliances are also on our top priority. I will share later what I have learned about appliances in a different post) Before we talk about what your cabinets are made from let us first consider whether you should buy stock, semi custom or custom cabinets.

Consider stock cabinets. Whether it’s a big kitchen makeover or a simple update, it’s good to know that cabinets usually come in three types: Stock, semi-custom and custom. Stock cabinets sound exactly like they are: Cabinets that are stocked in-store. These are the most budget-friendly but they don’t offer any customization. They come in standard dimensions of 12″-60″ in width and 30″-36″ in height (overhead cabinets are smaller at 12″-18″ in height). For simple kitchen updates, it’s worth considering getting stock cabinets and then painting or staining them.

Pick semi-custom cabinets over custom. Semi-custom cabinets are the next step up and slightly pricier. They come in a wide range of styles and have to be factory ordered since you can specify the dimensions and type of wood you want. Custom cabinets are the most expensive option because you can have them built specifically for your kitchen in size, material, and style. For bigger rehauls, go with semi-custom for a look that’s specific to your kitchen but won’t break the bank. With semi-custom cabinets you also have the option of getting hardwood door fronts and the drawers have a sturdier dovetail construction.

Custom – Is for the ballers!! Basically your most expensive option. You ask for it, they make it! No size restrictions and they can put all the options money can buy!

Now for wood types:
Alder – This is the cheapest type of wood as it is less dense that others. The weight of an Alder kitchen door vs. all others is significant. If you plan on staying in the home a long time and being serial cooks I would urge against a kitchen made of alder.

Oak- The most durable of them all AMD surprisingly not the most expensive. Oak is great because it is very durable, holds up well against dents and is the least porus.

Maple– Is very durable and holds its color well through time. Maple cabinets you will notice have a more modern look and feel less rustic since the grain in the wood has less knots. Personally one of my favorites.

Cherry- Tends to have a more traditional “redish” tone. And also is prone to fade. So if your kitchen is in an area where it will get a lot of sunlight you should probably look at a different type of wood.
Walnut – a more exotic type of wood. My favorite! I love the color, the grain and the durability of it!

Happy Kitchen redesigning!!

Real Estate

How To Stage A House

I hope you enjoyed my last article about staging a home to sell. Today I will share how to stage a house and do it all for $500 or less! I have always been one to try to keep things neat and orderly, but it amazed me how many people think differently. There some true slobs out there in the world! And at times, it feels like they are the ones selling their homes…all at the same time! Well anyway I recently had the opportunity to stage a vacant house. The home had great features to play with like beautiful mosaics stone backsplash and hardwood floors and freshly painted walls. The bones were good, just needed a little pizzazz!

If you do not have much money here is a very valueable tip for you… go to the most expensive high end neighborhoods in your area and scout out a garage or moving sale. It is amazing the things you will find for so cheap!

What to look for at garage sales: Coffee tables, dining room sets, barstools, and knick knacks like plates, glass wear and decorative things.  In a later article I will share with you a neat thing to do with knick knacks you find to turn them from grandmas junk to real treasures!

What you want to do is pick and choose the hotspots you will focus on.

Hotspots are areas of the home that buyers get an emotional attraction to. Places like a Kitchen, nurseries, office space and he living room are hot!

The pictures I will share with you are examples of what I was able to do with the home.

Kitchens can be as simple as buying a few decorative fruit bowls, plates and maybe a super cute toaster. Place it around the kitchen.











Pick up an inexpensive, but nice looking dining room set. I suggest a dark modern cherry wood style. It is easier to bring into the house and you don’t have to worry about any chips or someone possibly breaking it.

Many times people opt to stage the master bedroom, but if your master bedroom is already large and a buyer can see that they can easily fit a queen size bed, then opt to stage a smaller room where they may otherwise see as “useless”.

Turn small rooms into a nursery or an office and wah-lah!

Here is another view of the living room area:

A few simple lights, plants and there ya have it!

So I did all of the above and more for under $500! If you have a home you are looking to sell or need some advice on how to do it please comment below or contact me to share more.

Will Staging Really Affect The Sale??

Staging your home will give you an edge for securing your asking price and insure you do not sell below fair market value. More importantly what I have learned is that staged homes sell faster than those not staged.

What stops most homeowners is the fear of “spending” money to stage it. If you take into consideration the time on the market your home can sit unsold vs. spending a little money to stage your home and selling it faster, you will realize that the cost is minimal and it actually becomes more of an investment.


Entrepreneur's Corner, My Thoughts, Personal Growth, Real Estate

My Personal Story & Reinvention

When I was about 5 years old my brother, his friend and I would walk around our neighborhood selling cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. The boys were in charge of pulling our red wagon and decidedly by them, I would be the one who would have to walk up to every house, knock on the door, put on a smile and throw them my sales pitch. “Cucumbers 3 for $1 and cherry tomatoes 10 for$1.” It is funny how till this day I remember what we sold and for how much. I would go door to door to door knocking and selling whatever vegetables we had.

Selling vegetables door to door stop being cool once I hit my teenage years where I found other ways to make money. At age 18, I got accepted into my dream school UCLA and wanted to pursue a career in politics and social affairs working with Amnesty International or on grass roots political movement, but I was quickly drawn to business again. I spent the next 8 years traveling and building a business selling and promoting different products and services. The people I was working with really had me blind folded with the con artist they ended up being. My intentions were always good and ethical, but theirs we’re to take advantage of people.I mean for 8 years they promoted “work hard, build a business and have time freedom & residual income” When I finally wanted some time freedom and keep my income I was earning & had built for myself, the “owner” of this company YOR Health, decided “it wasn’t the right timing” according to him. So his factious actions he took were to take it away all together.
How legit is that?
As any teenage girl would behave when she is suddenly angered or upset, the “owner” &his right hand man, an insecure and in the closet about his personal life guy , began to create rumors & lies threatening my reputation and credibility. I guess they were upset that I actually wanted that thing they promoted “time freedom” and didn’t feel like spending 24hours a day with them and promoting only these products. I wanted to pursue additional things & they had a major problem with it. In fact, anyone who ever attempted to do the same usually ended up in the exact same cookie-cutter sudden loss if business scam this company operated. How legit does that sound?? Exactly. Lies. Lies and more lies.

So 3 years ago I parted ways and could no longer work with them promoting something that was unreal and unethical. I made some amazing friends and as the good old saying goes ” one closed door leads to another open door” I strapped my shoes on and kept progressing forward.

Many others who discovered the same grimey things I did about YOR Health took a much different approach pretending it was “ok” for these people to lie to them and scam them the way they did. They took the “let’s stay “friends” approach” which I don’t stand for. They pretended like it never happened or that they never knew anything about it. Protecting the owner & his little minion parter. Sounded to me like a very Penn State Sandusky scandal kinda thing. These others slowly walked away and kind of nestled and hid behind the fact that they needed to change and continue to progress on to the next chapter of their life. Some took my approach and continued to move forward in life progressing, traveling more, marrying the love of their lives, beginning a family, etc. others are quite about what they do now or simply don’t do much. For me, this was no big deal. Just open up another door and one thing I’ve learned to do is when you step into something don’t tippy toe in… Take a bold step forward.

I made a lot of changes in my life and actually ended up doing things I had been putting off for years like traveling which I love! The past 3 years have taught me that a snowball effect can happen with your own life once you get the ball rolling by taking your first step forward. Things started coming together for me the minute I made a decision to change and progress and not to be stuck on the past. I moved to NYC and lived on the upper east side, started dating, met my soulmate and started a dating coaching business because of it and now coach clients on how to meet people. My years in sales have helped me acquire the skills to be able to talk and meet anybody! So now I share that with people.

I have also pursed my passion in real estate and design which I’ve had for many years! I remember when I was at UCLA I used to drive around Beverly Hills and just look at homes. I would admire the architecture and design and also was intrigued by the people living in it and those selling these homes.
I could watch HGTV for hours… So today I also work in architectural sales and my clients and I work on developing some of the most high end luxury hotels, restaurants and homes across the world!

When I moved to New York City I became fascinated with the real estate market. I saw how demanding it was and the fact that this little island was like a sanctuary meaning no matter how bad the economy was in every other part of the country or world, this little 22 square foot mile island was untouched by it and home prices continued to rise. With vacancy rates lower than 1% it was no wonder I thought I’d be homeless and never be able to find an apartment when I moved to NYC. With the average selling price at 1.45million I didn’t have to be too smart to see the lucrative opportunity in it for me as well. Likewise across the river in the boro of New Jersey I do the same and with the help of some great business partners we are beautifying some neighborhoods by taking junk F’ugly houses and making them pretty and live able again! So I help people find their dream homes, or get rid of their ugly home. I have paired up my design skills to help sellers prep their home for selling it or new homeowners customizing their home. It is all one big melting pot for me!

To think that 3 years ago I knew nothing about the industry. I Didn’t know a thing about mortgages, interior design, home values, pricing, property taxes, creative ways of homeownership, tax credits, negotiating and completing a transaction, to name a few. I learned it. I was fortunate to have great friends and mentors who were open enough for me to learn from them. They are veterans in the real estate industry and I was smart to remember one thing: If someone offers to teach you something, don’t be stupid not to learn. Be appreciate and learn to leverage off the years it took someone to learn something you can pick up in half the time….if you just perk your ears up to listen and pay attention.

I’m as excited about what I do now as I am for some other businesses I have cooking up and soon to launch.
Maybe I am a little different and can handle doing more than one thing or maybe the work hard bug bit me when I was a kid and witness my parents work their butt off or maybe I am guilty of wanting to accomplish a lot…not sure. What I do hope is that we can learn to continue to move forward and progress. My boyfriend is someone who has inspired me to continue to be better and accomplish a lot. He is so well balanced with his life and his business which he had the courage to start not when he was down in life which most people do. He quit his job where he was making six figures and took a step towards financial independence to start up his company with his friend.
A risk taker?
A stupid move?

Many people have their opinion. Mine is one of feeling proud about him for pursuing what he wanted. He like many people who pursue what they dream of, was faced with the challenges and a learning curve. Listen people: There Is No Way Around It!!
It is a step we must all pass thru. So don’t be afraid to do it.

In conclusion to my long winded story, if your currently working somewhere and feel stagnant look into certifications or skills that your company would like you to have that could lead to a promotion and go get them! If you have been wanting to make a move or change jobs or the industry you are in, do it!
If you’ve always wanted to start that rock band or clothing line or bake shop…Do it! Start small if you have to,but at least take a step forward with it. Talk to your partner or a close friend whom you trust. Speak to them about what you want to do and maybe they can help you make a plan to make a change.

Good Luck! And keep on truckin!!! 🙂

Entrepreneur's Corner, Real Estate

Manhattan Micro Apartments

Is it possible to live in a 300 square foot area?

Of course it is! If you haven’t already heard New York City Mayor Bloomberg is introducing a new concept of “micro living” with plans to develop a recently purchased building on Manhattans lower east side into units that are 300 square feet calling these micro apartments. 

Upon hearing this it can be quite alarming that such a space could exist, but as a New Yorker not only is it possible, it’s already happening!

A few years ago when I made the move to the big apple I considered living in a studio apartment and quickly changed mind to moving into a 1 bedroom.

I came across many studio apartments as small as 150-176 square feet! Hence why I decided to move into a 1 bedroom.

Seems like NYC is getting rid of not only the “Big Gulp”, but big apartments.

So what does this mean for you?

I see this quickly becoming a living trend for urban areas such as NYC.

We all remember that only a few years ago airline travel was more comfortable and airplanes gave passengers more space, but today several airline companies have scaled down legroom per passenger and there is now less seating space.

Airlines were forced to downsize there passengers seating area in exchange for squeezing more passengers on each flight. Its a crummy situation when your sitting in the middle of two “more to love” folks I’ll tell ya that!

Is not the same thing happening to our homes in urban areas?

If you believe history is cyclical, then I feel as if times are moving into living spaces that are smaller. Very much like you will find in 1920s homes where you can find very small individualized rooms. We may not have individualized rooms, but a trend back to small is definitely in the works.

Need more space? Look to suburbs near big cities where you can get more bang for your buck! Not only on rentals, but if you are formally deciding to live there then you should consider what you can get for your money. As a real estate agent for the NY/NJ area I can tell you there is a market for all taste buds! Manhattan is defiantly smaller and more expensive, but the lifestyle you get to have is so, so worth it! If you’re looking to slow your lifestyle pace and care to eventually own your own home (without having to make millions or have the luxury of being a trust fund baby) then I would suggest to look into suburban areas like New Jersey, Westchester, etc!

No matter where you live, if you’re looking for a change in rental location or potentially looking to buy it is important you seek professional help from a real estate agent you can trust and who knows the area you are considering very well.

Good luck! And Happy Living!  What do you think of this “Micro living”?? SHARE BELOW



Entrepreneur's Corner, Real Estate

Staging Your Home To Sell Fast

Staging your home to sell fast does not mean you roll our the red carpet or need a Broadway stage. Today I will share with you home staging in the real estate market and how it can help sell your home faster. What is it and why do you need to consider it if you are a real estate professional helping a client sell their home or a homeowner looking to get the most for your home I will answer that next.

  • • Staging – preparing a residence for sale in real estate. Allocating proper materials and furniture in proper areas to display functional use of space.

Deciding to have your home stages may be one of the most important consideration as you begin the process of selling your home. It is always tempting to just sell and list it “as is”. However I will share with you some personal experience as well as statistics that show staged homes fare better in the marketplace.


What Is Home Staging?

Staging is simply taking an empty or cluttered home and strategically placing the right amount of furniture in each room that displays the use of each room. For example, if you have an open concept home where one large area is supposed to be the living and dining room, you may want to stage it! Bring in a dining room table and chairs and a living room set and place it accordingly in that open undefined space. Staging allows your prospective buyers to visualize themselves living there.

You do not know how many times I have taken clients to non stage homes and their remarks are always well “what would I use this room for” or many times the house is so messy it looks cramped and dated and well down right dirty! No one wants to feel that way when they are on the verge of making what could be their single most expensive purchase.

There are many professional home staging companies that provide full service for you! They bring in furniture, accessories pretty much all the bells and whistles! Call around and ask and more importantly read referrals and check out their portfolio to see if there work is something you like.

What if you really do not have the money to stage your home?

Do it yourself!

If you or your clients are currently still living in the home you are selling or really do not have the upfront budget to stage a home, be like Nike and “Just Do It!

House With Furniture: LESS = MORE.

I understand that many times we may be living in the actual home that we are trying to sell and it can be difficult to accommodated the moving boxes and your everyday life around strangers visiting your home. But I will share with you how a little organization and de cluttering can really do wonders for the way your home shows and presents it self to potential buyers.

Check out the picture below:


Brighting up the room and clearing away the mess is where to start and it as complicated as it needs to get. I love how people like to complicate what staging is, but it is simple: Make the Rooms In Your House Look Like And Be Used For The Intended Purpose.

Yeah so storing your clothes in the kitchen cabinets may not be the best idea! Get rid of them!

Try to store or (throw) away clutter! Try keeping the number of things in each room to a minimal. This helps create the idea of space and everyone can appreciate a clean and neat room. So maybe a garage sell this weekend??

Here are some simple things you can immediately do that are low cost and can help create a better selling environment for your home.

1. You may have a table in your dining room, but how about setting it with nice plates and silverware?             Something as simple as that can really boost the visualization of your potential buyers.

2. Add scented candles and new fluffy towels to your bathroom.   

3. Store away all but a few of your children’s toys.

4. Cleans all your windows of your home. Outside and In.

5. If It is a warm season, plant some color flowers out in your front entry. It makes your home inviting and catches the eye of a potential buyer.









Try those few simple steps and you will see an improvement!  You can see up to an 800% return on investment in doing the things I just shared. Stay tuned for my next article where I share with you how I staged a medium sized single family home, for under $500! Thats right, under $500 and I did it myself.