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zingers: Amsterdam Windmill - Grey and Snowing - 12/19/12 06:48 AM
I took almost 1,000 photos on my river cruise. When I first saw this photo, I thought something had gone wrong with the camera and then realized that it had been VERY grey, cold and snowing in Amsterdam that morning. I like the way the snowflakes look like dots all over the photo. The only editing I did was a little cropping on the right side of the photo. Otherwise, this is one of my favourites from the trip. BTW - Most passengers look back on this day as the day they caught the dreaded cold that caused me to (22 comments)
zingers: European Christmas Market Food Vendors - 12/19/12 06:07 AM
Well, if the Amawaterways Cruise hadn't fed us so well, we would have tasted our way through Christmas Markets from Cologne, Germany to Zurich, Switzerland. Here I thought the markets would all be about wonderful handcrafted goods. In reality, there are some but the markets are a way for the locals and the tourists to get out and taste the food (and of course the beer and gluhwine) of the area. We did try the German potato onion cake - deep fried with apple sauce on the side, a Swiss potato cheese strudel with yogurt sauce, gluhwine, beer, sausages and of (10 comments)
In a couple of days we are going on a river cruise, down the Rhine, from Amsterdam to Switzerland. This is a Christmas Market Tour with Amawaterways. I love river cruises. Zinger is German and this will be the first time that I will be in Germany (other than stepping from France to Germany in Strasbourg a few years back). I will get to spend all of my Euros in the Mutterland. This cruise is going to be less about the ABCs (another bloody cathedral) and more about the ABMs (another beautiful market). I am leaving some room in (22 comments)
zingers: The Builder's Upgrade - Your Taste, Your Budget, Your Future - 12/03/12 06:04 AM
I have worked with Buyers who wanted a starter home and those who went to talk to a builder about a home that they planned to have for decades. When it comes to spending money on upgrades the value or ROI of upgrades differs between the two types of home. 1. Most first time buyers dream big. They want it all – the granite, the soaker tub, the full hardwood floor, the open spaces, kitchen islands etc etc. They start out touring show homes and soon fall in love with all of the upgrades. For these buyers, I advise caution on (28 comments)
An older, tired-looking dog wandered into my yard. I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home and was well taken care of.
He calmly came over to me; I gave him a few pats on his head; then followed me into my house, slowly walked down the hall, curled up in the corner and fell asleep. An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out.
The next day he was back, greeted me in my yard, walked inside and resumed his spot in the hall and again slept for about an hour. This continued off and on (21 comments)
zingers: The Builder's Upgrade That Can Leave You Hanging - Kitchens - 12/02/12 06:29 AM
The builder will usually offer you a selection of cabinet doors and hardware. Even in what seems like the smallest kitchen, this could mean a lot of doors, drawers and handles. Upgrades will cost a lot of money. If you like the model home, you may be tempted to duplicate what is there, including that wonderful back splash Before you agree to upgrading think: Ensure you like the kitchen layout and that the boxes are well made. Changing the doors and drawers will be a lot less expensive than changing the whole configuration, including the boxes. You might want to wait (8 comments)
zingers: The Builder's Upgrade That Makes You Look Up - Ceilings and Lighting - 12/01/12 07:07 AM
When a builder is doing a lot of homes in a new development, he or she will often use stippled or popcorn ceilings as a fast way to complete the ceilings. Stipple hides a myriad of things - joins that are not perfect, nail pops, uneven texture on the drywall, etc. If you have a choice to pay extra and have a smooth ceiling, this is one upgrade I endorse. Stippled or popcorn ceilings are not popular to you or to future buyers. Stippling is a killer to remove. You have no idea the mess that wet stipple makes. Removing the (15 comments)
zingers: The Builder's Upgrade That Will Never Be a Renoir - Painting - 11/30/12 05:52 AM
Most builders have a selection of paint colours that Buyers can choose from and use in their about to be constructed home. In addition, some builders will offer upgrades to low VOC paints, multiple colours and different glosses. These will usually have an additional price tag attached. When thinking of upgrading your home with better paint: Low Volatile Organic Compound paints, especially if you are moving in while the painter is just finishing, may be worth the money - if you cannot open the windows, turn on the fans and keep the air moving and you have allergies, are pregnant or (12 comments)
zingers: The Builder's Upgrade That Could Leave You Cold - Appliances - 11/29/12 03:54 AM
Builders often include 3 or more appliances with the new home: fridge, stove, dishwasher. It is unlikely that these are top of the line and you may be tempted to upgrade. Before saying yes, do some research. If you want a sub-zero fridge and a Wolf range, find out what would be the best price if you bought them independently. Compare this with what the builder offers. Sometimes you can make a better deal at the appliance store. Some things to consider: If you buy through the builder, the cost can be covered under your mortgage. This may be the only (58 comments)
zingers: The Builder's Upgrade That May End Oddly - Tiles - 11/28/12 03:45 AM
Builders often offer a wide range of tiles and patterns for rooms such as kitchens, entries and baths. Give serious consideration to upgrading the tiles. Planning to replace cheap tiles later will surprise you with the cost, the time and the disruption. Think neutral. Blue might be your favourite colour today but what about on 10 years? Think resale. Buyers want something that will go with their things and taste and not just be a reflection of you, the original owner. Ask if the tiles carry on right under the cabinets in the bathrooms and kitchen. One day you (49 comments)
zingers: The Builder's Upgrade That You Can Never Change - Location - 11/26/12 03:39 AM
Whether it is a whole development, a high rise condo block or a few lots that a builder owns, there are always going to be preferred or premium sites. Is it worthwhile to contemplate this upgrade? Yes. It may be the view. It may be the ravine with no back neighbours. It may be backing onto a golf course. It may be the top floor corner unit with spectacular city views. These are going to have value.... to you and to future buyers. How else do you explain the long overnight lone-ups to put money down on a lot or (20 comments)
When buying a new home from a builder, there will be a myriad of options for upgrades. It is VERY tempting to look at the interior finishings such as counters, cabinets, flooring etc. and not at those things that cannot be seen and admired by the Buyer and their friends and relatives. There is one set of upgrades that will keep on giving back in savings on heat and air conditioning and that is the a package or parts of a package that include improved windows, higher efficiency furnace and air conditioner (heating and cooling) and insulation. Every energy (11 comments)
zingers: Hilarious Lawn Decorations - 11/24/12 06:15 AM
Some people take photos of their children. I love taking photos of amusing lawn decorations. Of course, the ones that I like the most are right next door. Our neighbour had the 'cows' in the yard (and people driving by would stop to take a look). We added the blue milk can. It was painted for the old house and had no place in our current scheme. I think it makes a lovely vingette. Everything looks like it is in need of fresh paint but maybe that is the secret - antique looking cows and can. After the photography composition (29 comments)
zingers: Five More Quotes to Make You Think - 11/20/12 01:37 PM
Home cooking: Where many a man thinks his wife is. Jimmy Durante As I hurtled through space, one thought kept crossing my mind - every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder. John Glenn The first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone. George Roberts If God had intended us to fly he would have made it easier to get to the airport. Jonathan Winters I have kleptomania, but when it gets bad, I take something for it. Robert Benchley (15 comments)
zingers: Seven Quotes to Make you Think - 11/20/12 05:33 AM
America is the only country where a significant proportion of the population believes that professional wrestling is real but the moon landing was faked. David Letterman The only reason they say 'Women and children first' is to test the strength of the lifeboats. Jean Kerr You know you're a redneck if your home has wheels and your car doesn't. Jeff Foxworthy Wood burns faster when you have to cut and chop it yourself. Harrison Ford The best cure for sea sickness is to sit under a tree. Spike Milligan We are here on earth to do good unto others. What the (17 comments)
zingers: A Romantic Story - Brings a Tear To Your Eye - 11/19/12 05:43 AM
A couple was Christmas shopping at the mall on Christmas Eve and the mall was packed. As the wife walked through the mall she was surprised to look up and see her husband was nowhere around. She was quite upset because they had a lot to do. Because she was so worried, she called him on her mobile phone to ask him where he was. In a calm voice, the husband said, "Honey, you remember the jewelry store we went into about 5 years ago where you fell in love with that diamond necklace that we could not afford and I (21 comments)
Twinkie, Twinkie little treat How you've rested round my seat Golden cake and creamy filling One big bite, the calories spilling.
When the final cake is gone. When the shelves no treat upon, Then good-bye production line. Twinkie, Twinkie you were fine.
I cannot remember ever having a Twinkie but I did get a box of Zingers from Eric Michael and just in time because they too are discontinued. Wonder bread and Ding Dongs are also on the list. Photo credit: Twinkie (24 comments)
zingers: Are you really sure that house is not for sale? - 11/13/12 06:16 AM
One of my colleagues took a client through a home that they loved. Life intervened and they never got a chance to buy it. The owner, tired of having the house on the market, took it off and did some remodeling to accommodate his expanding family. More than two years have passed and the 'Buyers' still dream of the 'house that got away'. While they have looked at many others in the same neighbourhood, none come close to the first house. What can they do? One very good possibility is to approach the owner and ask if he is amenable to (15 comments)
As you well know, some of us have been lucky not to have had brushes with the authorities on our way home from the various holiday festivities over the years. A couple of nights ago, my girlfriend was out for a few drinks with some gal pals and had a few too many glasses of wine. Not a good idea. Knowing full well she was at least slightly over the limit, she did something she has never done before: she took a taxi home. Sure enough, she passed a police road block complete with a line-up of drunks taking (27 comments)
zingers: Cropping Photos Makes A Big Difference - 11/07/12 06:54 AM
At the photo composition class last night, the instructor, Gilles Comtois, provided a critique of the students' photos and gave us some hints and tips on how to improve our photography. I took one of my favourite photos, thinking that the doorway was a good frame the view of the lake. While he liked the photo, he explained that the lawn chair on the right was a bit distracting and that the photo could be more appealing by cropping out the symmetry. Here are the before and after cropping (no other photo finishing used).
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.