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Melynda Woody joins Touchstone!

Melynda Woody recently joined Touchstone Realty as a Broker in our Carolina Lakes Office at the gate of Carolina Lakes!

Here she is indoctrinated as a Realtor at the Fayetteville Association of Realtor's Ceremony.

And with her mentor, Suzy MacCallum

Welcome to Touchstone Realty, Melynda!

Zigzag: So, Melynda, tell us a little about yourself.

Melynda: Well Zigzag, I am a native of Lee County, whose family history dates back to the early 1900’s. I graduated from Lee Senior, in Sanford, and went off to college where I earned a Bachelors Degree from the University of Wilmington. I obtained my real estate license in 2010 when I lived on the Outer Banks of North Carolina while working for a vacation property management company.  My specialty was an event home coordinator, and I really enjoyed working with all of the Brides to be!  It was in the Outer Banks that I met my husband! I have since relocated back to Sanford, where I currently reside with my family.  We have 3 beautiful little girls, two of which are twins!

Trivia:  I am an expert of all things Disney, and I can frequently be heard humming or singing Disney Princess songs.

Melynda can be reached at:

melynda@touchstonerealty.net

cell: 252-564-2142

 

 

The Bikini

 

What does the word “bikini” mean, anyway? Does “bi” stand for “two” and “kini” stand for piece? You might think so (we certainly did!), but it’s not true at all. The word “bikini” comes from the name of a Micronesian island named Bikini Atoll. And the bikini wasn’t even invented there – it was invented in Paris by Parisian fashion designer Louis Réard, just two weeks after Bikini Atoll was the site of a nuclear test.

Réard named his revealing two-piece creation “the Bikini” for its explosive effect on anyone that viewed it. And it made quite a stir amongst everyone, including the models he asked to wear it! Most models turned it down for being too revealing, until a model named Michèle Bernadini stepped up to the challenge. Below she can be seen wearing Réard’s creation poolside for the Paris fashion press in 1946.

We don’t think the original bikini seen here is the most flattering suit for Ms. Bernadini, but we love that designer Réard took the risk and made a suit that was so ahead of its time! It took a while after that for bikinis to catch on, but boy are we glad they finally did!

And later came Sports Illustrated Annual Bikini Edition...  Woot Woot! but that is a blog entry for another day!

 

Home Prices Rise Again!

U.S home prices rose again as October's numbers come in.  Buyers were again bidding for scarce properties that drove prices higher.

The Standard & Poor's Corelogic Case-Shiller 20 year city home price index, released Tuesday 12/27/16, rose 5/1% in October over a year earlier and that is after climbing 5% in September.  However, prices are still 7.1% below the high mark in 2006.

Prices rose 10.7% in Seattle, 10.3% in Portland, 8.3% in Denver.  New York registered the smallest year over year gain at just 1.7%.

Home prices have been helped by healthy demand, tight supplies and low mortgage rates.  The National Association of Realtors said last week that fewer than 1.9 million homes were on the market in November, down 9% from a year ago.  The tight supply pushed the median price of existing homes to $234,900 for the nation, up 6.8% from a year ago.

But the cheap loans that have helped fuel the prices increases may be vanishing.  The rate on the 30 year fixed mortgage last week reached 4.30%, the highest since April 2014.

Keeping Warm in the Winter

 

Tips to Keep You Warm for the Winter!

Play outside with your kiddos. When you come in you’ll have exercised, but – bonus! – the inside will also feel warmer.

Have lots of cuddly blankets around the house. Over chairs, the back of the couch, etc. Get the extras out of storage and keep them folded at the ends of beds or tossed over chairs. Winter is the season for piles of pillows and blankets. Kids make blanket forts, adults, well, I have two favorite blankets that I pull over myself on a regular basis.

Use rugs over the floor. Especially hardwood or tile, but you can do this over carpet too, for an extra layer of warmth.

Wear layers. You can always add or remove a layer. This helps with kids as well. Our girls tend to dressed as normal in the winter but add a fleece sweatshirt. As they warm up they remove it but sometimes they wear them all day. My husband has quite a supply of fleece pullovers he wears almost year round since he is cold natured. Our girls wear tights and socks on the coldest days, and I do too if I need to. (For some reason I have several children who like to complain about being cold but also enjoy running around barefoot. I insist they put socks on if they complain about the temperature.)

Gather for family time. Everyone seems warmer when you’re all together, laughing and playing. Plus you can cuddle under one of the blankets I mentioned above and read a good book or watch a good movie (don’t forget the popcorn and hot cocoa).

Fill the house with people. Invite friends over. Have a larger than average family (I’m kidding, of course, unless that’s the direction your life has taken, like mine has). All that body heat warms things up.

Keep moving. You’re warmer doing chores than sitting at a desk. An old proverb says “Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice.” We don’t actually chop wood (no fireplace or wood-burning stove), but keeping busy at household tasks is always a good way to stay warm. (Side note: if a child is prone to complaining about the cold, after making sure they have socks and a sweater on, hand them a chore list.)

Keep the kettle on. Or at least keep mugs and cocoa mixes handy by the microwave. Tea, coffee, hot cocoa, warm milk, hot cider…winter is the right season for all of these. They’ll warm you from the inside out.

Serve warm soups or stews that have simmered all day. A pot of something hot on the stove will warm the entire kitchen. A pot of chili might warm you up in more than one way, depending on how spicy you like it. It’s also a great season for baking bread or other goodies. In the summer I can’t stand the thought of heating up the kitchen by baking cookies, but in winter it sounds like a wonderful idea. (I guess there’s more than one reason why we tend to put on pounds in the winter.)

Burn candles (but never leave unattended, of course). This is my favorite way to make the house smell better and feel warmer (and lighter) all at once.

Happy Winter!

 

Painting

 

Choosing the Right Type of Paint for All Types of Materials

Paint is the ultimate designer's medium. For only a few dollars, paint transforms nearly anything into something fresh, dazzling and new. Discover the materials that accept paint and those that you should avoid.  Learn how to give your stuff new life with just a few good strokes.

Brick

Set-up and Prep: Clean brick with a wire brush to remove dirt and grime; be careful not to dig out any mortar. Scrub the masonry with soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Let dry for 48 hours.

Painting: Use a first coat of quality latex primer. When the primer is dry, apply top-quality latex paint that's formulated for use on masonry. Use a long-nap roller to cover most of the surface, and a brush to get into grout lines and crevices. Watch for drips – there's a lot of texture to a brick surface, so keep an eye out for runs. A second coat is recommended.

Heads-up: Don't use a pressure-washer to clean your brick; the risk of gouging out mortar is too great. Note that painting brick is a one-way decision — it's almost impossible to remove paint from brick surfaces.

Ceramic Tile & Porcelain

Set up and Prep: Sand with 150-grit sandpaper to improve adhesion. Clean the tile surfaces with TSP or other non-residue cleaner.

Painting: Use a top-quality acrylic primer. Finish with semi-gloss acrylic interior paint. If you want, paint the grout a contrasting color — but you'll need patience and a steady hand.

Heads up: For best adhesion, allow the paint to cure for 10 days to two weeks before using the surfaces. Don't paint tile floors; there's just too much traffic and abrasion.

Concrete Block

Set up and Prep: Remove any loose particles and mortar, using a wire brush. Remove efflorescence with a bleach solution made from 1 cup bleach in 1 gallon of water. Clean the entire surface with TSP or other non-residue cleaner. Let everything dry 48 hours before painting.

Painting: Prepare raw block with a masonry sealer. Let dry thoroughly, then apply a high-quality acrylic latex primer. Finish with acrylic latex paint.

Heads up: For new concrete and block installations: Wait 90 days before applying paint.

Drywall

Set up and Prep: Make sure the drywall is free of dust (there's usually a lot of it from sanding). Wipe the surfaces lightly with a damp rag. For painted drywall, repair any cracks and holes with spackling compound.

Painting: Use a top-quality acrylic latex primer. For previously painted drywall, use a stain-blocking primer to cover any marks or blotches. Finish with a good-quality acrylic latex paint.

Heads up: The higher the paint sheen, the easier it is to wash and clean the surface. Semi-gloss is good for kids' rooms and kitchens.

Fabric

Set up and Prep: Wash fabrics without detergent and let dry. If possible, stretch out the fabric and lay it flat.

Painting: Use a water-based paint specifically formulated for use with fabrics. Check your local crafts store.

Heads up: You may have to fix the paint by putting the material in a dryer. Read the paint manufacturer's instructions carefully.

Fiber-Cement Siding

Set up and Prep: Don't pre-sand fiber-cement; the dust may cause respiratory ailments.

Painting: Use a primer specifically formulated for cement and masonry products. Apply top-quality exterior paint according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Heads up: Don't apply oil-based paint directly to fiber-cement without priming — you may void the manufacturer's warranty.

Fiberglass Exterior Doors

Set up and Prep: Set the door flat on a pair of saw horses. Remove all hardware. Lightly sand with 320-grit sandpaper. Remove the dust using a rag dampened with acetone. Allow to dry thoroughly.

Painting: Prime with an acrylic latex primer. When dry, apply two coats of top-quality, exterior-grade latex paint, using a brush. Sand lightly between coats.

Heads up: Don't use regular household cleaners to prep your door — they may leave a residue.

Fiberglass Tubs & Showers

Set up and Prep: Sudden blasts of hot water are hard on painted fiberglass baths and showers, and various DIY methods for refinishing have mixed results. The most effective way we've found calls for finishing with automotive paint. The paint should be applied with a high-volume, low-pressure paint (HVLP) sprayer.

Sand the surfaces lightly with 220-grit sandpaper. Wash the surfaces thoroughly with TSP or non-residue cleaner, and rinse with water. When dry, wipe all surfaces with lacquer thinner. Make sure you have plenty of ventilation.

Painting: Apply an auto primer. When dry, lightly sand with 320-grit sandpaper, and wipe away the dust with damp rags. Apply a polyurethane-based automotive paint, using an HVLP.

Heads up: Another solution is to opt for a Tub & Tile Refinishing Kit.

Glass

Set up and Prep: Clean the surface with a glass cleaner.

Painting: Glass painting is a popular hobby or craft project. Check your local hobby store for paints formulated to use with glass. Some may require an undercoating or special surface application.

Heads up: Lighter colors are better for light transmission.

Laminate Countertops & Cabinet Faces

Set up and Prep: Rough up the surfaces with 150-grit sandpaper. Remove all dust and wash with TSP or other non-residue cleaner.

Painting: Use a primer specifically formulated for non-porous surfaces. Finish with at least two coats of acrylic latex enamel, using a short-nap roller.

Heads up: Painting laminate countertops isn't a permanent solution; consider it a stopgap until you can replace the countertops.

Metal

Set up and Prep: Remove any rust and flaking with a wire brush. Sand with 220-grit sandpaper. Rinse with plain water, let dry.

Painting: Use an exterior-grade primer and paint that are formulated for metal.

Heads up: The method is the same for steel, aluminum and iron.

Plastic

Set up and Prep: Sand lightly with 320-grit sandpaper. Wash with TSP or other non-residue cleaner, and rinse thoroughly.

Painting: Use a spray paint formulated for plastic. Alternative: Use exterior-grade acrylic enamel.

Heads up: After prep, don't touch the plastic with your bare hands — you'll leave oil residue that keeps the paint from sticking.

Vinyl Flooring

Painting: Sorry, not a good candidate. The surface offers poor adhesion, and flexing from foot traffic and day-to-day abrasion soon wears away paint.

Vinyl Shutters

Set up and Prep: New shutters should be wiped with mineral spirits to remove any factory-applied mold-release agents, then washed with a mild detergent. If your shutters have been outside for more than two years, you can skip the mineral spirits wipe.

Painting: Prime the shutters, using a primer specifically made for plastic and vinyl. Finish with a top-quality latex paint.

Heads up: Vinyl products are tricky to paint. Once painted, you'll want to keep your shutters undisturbed for five days in a protected location — a garage is great — to let the paint cure thoroughly. Avoid dark paint colors that absorb heat and make the vinyl expand and warp.

Vinyl Siding

Painting: The debate rages here, but the best advice is: Don't do it. A big surface area and a tricky material add up to lots of opportunities for paint failure. A lot of work for a result that could deteriorate in a year or two.

Wicker

Set up and Prep: With all its cracks and crevices, the important prep for wicker furniture is to make sure it's clean. On a warm day, give the wicker piece a hard spritz with a garden hose and wipe it dry immediately. If previously painted, sand lightly to remove any gloss.

Painting: Prime with a top quality primer. Paint with exterior-grade acrylic latex paint; a brush helps get into the crevices.

Heads up: Make any repairs prior to painting.

Wood (Bare)

Set up and Prep: Sand with progressively fine sandpaper until the surface is smooth. Remove dust with a tack rag.

Painting: Coat entire surface with a stain-blocking primer. Finish with high-quality latex or oil-based paint. Sand between coats with 320-grit sandpaper.

Heads up: After priming, check to make sure any knots aren't showing through. If they are, spot prime.

Wood & Paneling (Painted or Sealed)

Set up and Prep: Clean surfaces with TSP or other non-residue cleaner. Roughen the surfaces with 150-grit sandpaper; clean off the dust with a damp rag.

Painting: Coat surfaces with stain-blocking primer. Finish with topcoats of latex paint.

 

Campbell's Soup

 

Did You Know?

80

the Number of Campbell's products bought in North America every Second.

95.8%

of U.S. Households have a Campbell's product in their pantry.

A Campbell's History...  In 1869, Joseph Campbell, a fruit merchant, and Abraham Anderson, an icebox manufacturer, formed the business that would one day become Campbell Soup Company, and opened their first plant in Camden, New Jersey. 

It wasn’t until after Joseph Campbell retired from the company that Campbell introduced its first can of ready-to-eat tomato soup. Later, in 1897, Campbell made an amazing leap forward when John T. Dorrance, a chemist at the company and nephew of the then-president with an interest in French cuisine, invented condensed soup. He created five varieties, including Tomato, which remains one of the top 10 shelf-stable foods sold in U.S. grocery stores today.

By 1911 Campbell’s® soups would receive national distribution and acclaim. As Campbell grew, it acquired new brands like Pepperidge Farm and V8, and created new foods like Campbell’s® Sauces, Chunky soups and so much more.  M'm! M'm! Good!

10 Facts About Elections

 

1. The only "clean" election in American history was probably the first one in 1789, when George Washington ran unopposed.

2.  George Washington also blew his entire campaign budget on 160 gallons of liquor to serve to potential voters.  He got my vote!

 

3.  In 1845 Congress decided that Voting Day would be the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November - only makes sense to a politician, eh?  Actually it was just after the Fall harvest & just before winter conditions made travel too difficult!

 

4.  Democrats use a donkey as their mascot thanks to Andrew Jackson.  His critics called him a "jackass."

5.  George Washington gave the shortest inauguration speech at 135 words. William Henry Harrison’s was the longest, at 8,445 words. He spoke for over two hours in a heavy snowstorm, which made him catch a cold and ultimately die from pneumonia one month later.

6.  Oh no!  The United States is ranked 139th out of 172 countries in voter turn-out & participation.

7.  Jehovah Witnesses don’t vote in presidential elections.

 

8.  The John Quincy and Andrew Jackson campaign battle really landed in the gutter.  Jackson called John Quincy a pimp, and Quincy called Jackson's wife a slut and his mother a prostitute.  Sheesh, sorty makes this year's election sound tame!

9.  Before 1804, the presidential candidate who received the second highest electoral votes became vice-president.

10.  American astronauts on the ISS can vote in elections from orbit by secure email.  Now why can't we all do that?