Monday, April 28, 2014

Won't You Be My Neighbor?: 608 Cedarcroft, Baltimore, MD 21212

A charming new bungalow just hit the market in Lake Walker. It's been recently lovingly renovated and features some wonderful mission details. It's on a nice shade filled block of Cedarcroft. The asking price is only $294, 500 so I think it will sell fast. Have a look around...

The living room features nice custom cabinetry as well as a heating oven.

The kitchen has beautiful newly installed mission styled oak cabinets and a handy breakfast nook.

 The basement has been refinished with new carpet, recessed lighting, and a new bathroom equipped with a shower. Plus there's plenty of room for a guest to stay and children to play.

The view out of one of the upstairs bedrooms is great and will be even better in a few weeks when all of the trees and flowers are in bloom.

One of three upstairs bedrooms currently houses two children, with more than enough room and a good sized closet.

A spare bedroom is being used as a home office and contains a lovely stained glass light fixture.

The master bedroom has wonderful views of the neighborhood as well as original hardwood floors and a large master closet.

The upstairs bath is painted a nice cheerful yellow and has warm cottage details like a traditional pedestal sink and beadboard.

French doors in the dining room lead out to a sizable deck which looks out onto the nicely landscaped yard. The yard has plenty of room for kids to play and for gardening.

Well, that's it. If you're interested, you can find the listing HERE.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Around Town: Sherwood Gardens

One day last year while driving around the city lost, I stumbled across one of the most beautiful scenes I've ever seen. Flowers in full bloom at SHERWOOD GARDENS. Tucked away inside a residential part of the Guilford neighborhood is the astonishing garden. This is not a scene from The Wire, no this is a small piece of heaven hiding in the middle of Baltimore city. Overflowing with breathtaking tulips and azaleas in striking colors it is quite the sight to see. Oh yeah, and it's free! I've never been so happy to be lost in my life.

The tulips are putting on quite a show right now if you'd like to go visit, the azaleas have yet to blossom. Pack a blanket and some food if you'd like to stay a while.


After strolling through the gardens be sure to look around the rest of the neighborhood which is filled with lovely architecture and well manicured estates.

“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.” ~Iris Murdoch

Sale Alert: Stoneleigh Community Yard Sale

Hi locals. Sorry, I am sooo late posting this, but this Saturday (4/26) from 9am to noon the Stoneleigh neighborhood is hosting it's annual yard sale.  If you're new to area and unfamiliar with Stoneleigh, it's a neighborhood in Towson just up the street from Lake Walker heading north on York Road (to your right). You can read about some of the items for sale HERE.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spring Cleaning Pt. 1: Yard Work

Right now I've been working hard to accomplish several spring cleaning goals. First, I want to tackle the yard, which currently looks like this

A hot mess, I know. Our lawn is pathetic, if it can even be called a lawn. It's more like a sea of weeds. I'm really disappointed because we spent a buttload of money last spring to have our yard covered in English ivy, which our landscapers promised would look lush and beautiful by this spring. As you can see above that's not the case :-( I'm not yet sure what we are gonna do about this, but I need to figure it out ASAP, cause looking at our yard is making me depressed.

In addition to the lawn I've been working on tackling our flower beds. First up, are two that occupy the front of the house which up until this point only had some hydrangea I planted last year in them.

Even though hydrangea are my absolute favorite flowers I decided to plant some more items, because they are such late bloomers, and I really want some color as early in the year as possible. To spruce things up I added some evergreen bufford dwarf holly shrubs  and yellow and white daffodils. I can't wait til' things fill out a little more in a year or two. I'm working on selecting a border for the beds because the wood pieces the prior owners installed are rotting.

I also want to add some purple flowers in pots on the porch, any ideas on what to plant there?

On the side of the house, next to the daffodils I planted three azaleas. I agonized over what color to plant and ended up putting in some light pink ones. I hope I don't regret it, I kinda think maybe red would have been a better choice? I'm not sure how I will feel about the pink against the yellow of the house.

Well, that's about it for what's going on in the yard right now. All of this racking, digging, mulching, and planting has this pregnant lady pooped! I had wanted to start an edible garden this spring, but think that will have to wait til' next year after the baby comes and my energy levels are higher. I'm aiming to take care of the side garden and possibly backyard garden next, as well as clean and paint the porch steps. Then I'll rest :-)

Slowly, but surely things are coming along. What's going on in your yard?

“Nature never hurries: atom by atom, little by little, she achieves her work. The lesson one learns from yachting or planting is the manners of Nature; patience with the delays of wind and sun, delays of the seasons, bad weather, excess or lack of water.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hints of Spring

One of my favorite free pastimes is to take walks around historic neighborhoods, especially during spring. I love watching all of the plants and flowers come back to life, and how the bursts of color juxtapose with brightly painted house. On a recent trip to DC, I took a stroll around the tucked away neighborhood of Takoma Park. It's a beautiful oasis inside of the city that feels like its own small town.

I hope you are enjoying the change in seasons!

"No winter lasts forever, no spring skips a turn." ~Hal Borland

Monday, April 14, 2014

Appreciating the Small Things

I find I get a lot more out of life when I learn to appreciate the small stuff. Little indulgences every now and again help to keep my mind off worrisome things and promote inner peace and serenity. Small items I like to spoil myself with that bring me great joy include: small vases filled with hydrangeas, a cup of rooibos tea, scented candles, a long hot bath, perfumed soaps, and a warm serving of brownie a la mode :-) What about you, what simple things do you like to treat yourself to?

“Real happiness is cheap enough, yet how dearly we pay for its counterfeit." ~Hosea Ballou 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sale Alert: Timonium Totswap

For any of you locals in the market for reasonably priced baby and kid items, TOTSWAP a huge consignment sale is happening this weekend in Timonium on York Road at the state fairgrounds. Sunday all items are 50% off. I'll be checking it out and reporting back on what I find. I've got a feeling I'll be impressed as it's rated one of the best consignment sales in the country. Have a great weekend!

***UPDATE: I checked out Totswap today and it was a total bust. It could be because I didn't go on the first day so all the good stuff was gone. It's probably best to save your time and gas and pass this one up if you haven't been yet :-(

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Priceless: Jewelry Fit For a Queen

Once a week I volunteer as a reading tutor for an organization called READING PARTNERS. They're a wonderful non-profit that operates in schools across the country, providing struggling elementary students with supplemental reading instruction. It's been an absolute pleasure to work with them and I implore you to check them out should you have any free time or economic resources you'd like to donate.

On my latest visit to tutor my student Kamare, I was met with a pleasant surprise. He arrived with a gift, but not just any gift, a bracelet he had made himself especially for me. Needless to say, I was quite appreciative. After receiving it I jokingly said I would go home and sell it on Ebay for a million dollars. After a disapproving glare he blurted out, "You better not sell that! I only make those for special people, and you are special. Some things should not be sold!" I concur. He's such a cutie, I almost cried.

"They can't afford what we've got, not even the king." ~Alicia Keys

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Money Tip: Never Take Financial Advice From Broke People

Has anyone else ever noticed how quick broke people are to give financial advice? They love to tell you how you should spend ridiculous amounts of money on jewelry, vacations, clothes, new cars, education, and handbags. Oh and housing, don't get me started on housing, according to them you need to live in a better neighborhood and waaaay bigger house. Those broke people, I tell ya, they are an opinionated bunch and love spending not only their money, but the bank's money, and your money too!

I am here to tell you it is a very bad idea to listen to broke people when it comes to money, after all they are broke for a reason. Often times that reason is connected to their overspending and lack of saving. If you are not careful it can be easy to get caught up in their whirlwind of poor financial values and behavior. Being financially irresponsible appears to have become an epidemic in America, recent data from the Fed finds the average U.S. household owes $7,115 on their credit cards; looking only at indebted households, the average outstanding balance rises to $15,252. Furthermore, a whopping 40 percent of households spend more money than they make.  These statistics suggest there is a big chasm present between the big spenders and the big savers.

So how can you ensure you end up on the right financial team? I can help with that. From time to time I'll post nuggets of financial wisdom to help you stay on track. Lesson #1: never take financial advice from broke people. Always look to individuals with an economic standing you'd like to adopt for advice.

That's all for today. Have you had an experience with being pressured to overspend? Are you currently working to get your finances in order? I'd love to here from you.

***Please note by "broke people" I am referring to individuals who make a decent wage, yet spend it unwisely***

"If your friends that are broke aren’t making fun of you, then you are not on track. If your family says, “Look, they’ve joined a cult!” then you are right on track." 
~Dave Ramsey

Thursday, April 3, 2014

In the Kitchen: Lemon Pound Cake Recipe

Nothing says yummy like a slice of lemon pound cake with a tall glass of milk. The other day I was craving some pound cake and thought I'd take a stab at baking one. Unfortunately, I was feeling a little under the weather and couldn't muster up the energy to cook. The hubs, being the sweetheart that he is, stepped in and volunteered to bake one. It was seriously scrumptious :-) 

Here's how he made it:

  • Mix 3 sticks butter (1½ cups)
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla 
Baking Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare bundt or tube pan by coating with shortening or butter and flouring light. Set aside.
  2. Let butter, cream cheese, and eggs come to room temperature.
  3. Cream together butter, cream cheese and sugar til fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add lemon juice and zest and combine well. Add flour and salt and vanilla.
  4. Mix until just well-combined but do not over mix.
  5. Pour into prepared bundt or tube pan.
  6. Bake until golden brown and skewer inserted into middle of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.