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Blog :: 06-2014

Get the Most Out of Your Trip to Bostons Farmer's Markets

FARMERS MARKET BERRIES

This time of year is about warm weather, vacations and relaxing afternoons. It also heralds the return of farmers markets. A trip to the market is a great opportunity to indulge in fresh, healthy produce and to expand your horizons by trying new items or preparing them in different ways. Fortunately, Boston has a number of farmers markets spread across the city in virtually all of its neighborhoods. Downtown, the Boston Public Market on the Greenway (previously on City Hall Plaza), is located in the plaza in front of 136 Blackstone Street. The Boston Public Market at Dewey Square is located at 600 Atlantic Avenue on the Greenway across from South Station, and the Copley Square Farmers Market is located in Copley Square at the corner of Dartmouth and Boylston Street.

Here are seven tips to make the most of your visit to the local farmers market:

Note the hours and dates of your local market on your calendar. Set reminders on your smartphone that will alert you when favorite items such as tomatoes, peas, beans and strawberries come into season.

Prepare your refrigerator and kitchen for the season's harvest. Clean out your fridge's produce drawer, and stock up on items that complement fresh produce, such as salad dressings and seasonings that can be used to turn basic veggies into delicious meals.

While farmers market vendors will almost certainly have plastic bags on hand, take your own reusable bags or baskets to carry your purchase - they're better for Mother Nature. If you'll be buying perishable items, consider packing a cooler as well. Remember to place heavier items (like melons) on the bottom of the bag and lighter ones (such as berries) on top.

You'll find the freshest produce and best selection early in the day. Setting your alarm to wake you a bit early could ensure you get the pick of the day's produce.

Leave the $20 and $50 bills at home. Smaller bills will provide you with greater buying flexibility, and vendors will appreciate the change.

Scope out the entire market before you begin making purchases. Certain popular items, such as tomatoes, cantaloupe, melons, peas and potatoes will be available from multiple vendors. Strolling through the market first will allow you to compare prices and taste samples to ensure you're picking the best and most delicious buys for your family.

Unpack bags as soon as you're home and store each item appropriately. Create a menu plan for the week that incorporates everything you've purchased to help ensure nothing goes to waste. Don't forget to incorporate snacks into your meal plan.

Last but not least, the seasons for fresh produce in New England are short, so enjoy it while you can!

For more information about farmers markets across Boston including lists of vendors, times and locations, please visit the Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness Boston Farmers Market website at http://bostonfarmersmarkets.org/.

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7 Tips for Staging Your Home

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7 Tips for Staging Your Home Article From BuyAndSell.HouseLogic.com

By: G. M. Filisko

Make your home warm and inviting to boost your home's value and speed up the sale process.

The first step to getting buyers to make an offer on your home is to impress them with its appearance so they begin to envision themselves living there. Here are seven tips for making your home look bigger, brighter, and more desirable. The first step to getting buyers to make an offer on your home is to impress them with its appearance so they begin to envision themselves living there. Here are seven tips for making your home look bigger, brighter, and more desirable.

1. Start with a clean slate. Before you can worry about where to place furniture and which wall hanging should go where, each room in your home must be spotless. Do a thorough cleaning (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/maintenance-repair/home-cleaning-secrets/) right down to the nitpicky details like wiping down light switch covers. Deep clean and deodorize carpets and window coverings.

2. Stow away your clutter. (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/maintenance-repair/home-cleaning-secrets/) It's harder for buyers to picture themselves in your home when they're looking at your family photos, collectibles, and knickknacks. Pack up all your personal decorations. However, don't make spaces like mantles and coffee and end tables barren. Leave three items of varying heights on each surface, suggests Barb Schwarz of Staged Homes in Concord, Pa. For example, place a lamp, a small plant, and a book on an end table.

3. Scale back on your furniture. When a room is packed with furniture, it looks smaller, which will make buyers think your home is less valuable than it is. Make sure buyers appreciate the size of each room by removing one or two pieces of furniture. If you have an eat-in dining area, using a small table and chair set makes the area seem bigger.

4. Rethink your furniture placement. Highlight the flow of your rooms by arranging the furniture to guide buyers from one room to another. In each room, create a focal point on the farthest wall from the doorway and arrange the other pieces of furniture in a triangle around the focal point, advises Schwarz. In the bedroom, the bed should be the focal point. In the living room, it may be the fireplace, and your couch and sofa can form the triangle in front of it.

5. Add color to brighten your rooms. (http://www.houselogic.com/photos/painting/home-color-ideas/slide/plenty-of-upside/) Brush on a fresh coat of warm, neutral-color paint in each room. Ask your real estate agent for help choosing the right shade. Then accessorize. Adding a vibrant afghan, throw, or accent pillows for the couch will jazz up a muted living room, as will a healthy plant or a bright vase on your mantle. High-wattage bulbs in your light fixtures will also brighten up rooms and basements.

6. Set the scene. Lay logs in the fireplace, and set your dining room table with dishes and a centerpiece of fresh fruit or flowers. Create other vignettes throughout the home - such as a chess game in progress - to help buyers envision living there. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light. Make your bathrooms feel luxurious by adding a new shower curtain, towels, and fancy guest soaps (after you put all your personal toiletry items are out of sight). Judiciously add subtle potpourri, scented candles, or boil water with a bit of vanilla mixed in. If you have pets (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/pet-odor-can-chase-away-buyers/), clean bedding frequently and spray an odor remover before each showing.

7. Make the entrance grand. Mow your lawn and trim your hedges, and turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes before showings to make your lawn sparkle. If flowers or plants don't surround your home's entrance, add a pot of bright flowers. Top it all off by buying a new doormat and adding a seasonal wreath to your front door.

Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS."

More from HouseLogic Spring Cleaning Guide (http://www.houselogic.com/guide/spring-cleaning-101/) 11 Ways to Create a Welcoming Front Entrance for Under $100 (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/home-improvement/front-door-entry-ideas/) Fragrant Plants that Will Keep Your Home Smelling Good (http://www.houselogic.com/blog/air-quality/fragrant-plants-will-keep-your-home-smelling-good/)

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who occasionally rearranges her furniture to find the best placement-and keep her dog on his toes. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

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Top Kitchen Design Tips

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Kitchens remain a top remodeling project in 2014, according to the Member Profile Study done by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). Eighty-two percent of NARI members identify kitchens as its No. 1 service. This year, the associations 2014 CotY Awards program, which recognizes top projects in 25 categories, totaled nearly $73 million worth of remodeling projects and identified national trends emerging, especially in the areas of kitchen updates. Consumers want practical, comfortable kitchens that are efficient to use and easy to live in. says Tom OGrady, CR, CKBR, chairman of NARIs Strategic Planning. Bigger isnt better, but homeowners still want a feeling of space, and open concept and islands are still part of kitchen trends in 2014. Improving the overall look and feel of the kitchen was most often cited as the main motivating factor by homeowners for remodeling, followed by improving function on the CotY entries. Whether you are updating for resale or for your own use and enjoyment, some trends to consider:

Lighting: The continuing trend of fewer upper cabinets in the kitchen creates more space for decorative task lighting, often on adjustable arms that gives the option to have the light directed where it is needed most. Decorative task fixtures in black, iron and aged brass finishes make a statement. Other trends include: Pendant lights over kitchen islands continue to be a great opportunity to bring style into the mix. Chandeliers in kitchens add a pretty and an unexpected sparkle and can soften up the hard lines and smooth surfaces of appliances and countertops below. An oversized lightening fixture becomes a focal point in an otherwise plain room. Under cabinet lights, controlled by a dimmer, provide ambiance.

Built-in cabinetry that looks like furniture Mixing and layering finishes and woods to create a custom look is another key trend, as is built-in accent cabinets that act as framework for the rest of the cabinetry. These cabinets, often designed tall and narrow with glass fronts provide the look of a built-in china cabinet to showcase collectables. In general, upper cabinets are less popular because they stop the line of sight, especially to backyard garden views. Appliances are subtly hidden behind the cabinetry for a clean, streamlined appearance. Colorful kitchen cabinetry has made a big comeback. Palettes using and mixing blues, orange, browns or greens countering neutral white, wood or dark finishes are providing kitchen flair. Dramatic contrasts of light cabinets and dark countertops provide visual impact.

Wine storage With the explosion in the wine market over the past few decades, wine is becoming more of a lifestyle choice and factoring into kitchen designs. Dedicated butler areas for entertaining, sampling and sharing wine with guests are very popular, allowing the cook the opportunity to socialize while doing food prep. Integrated wine coolers, an answer to tight kitchen spaces, are nestled into cabinetry along with wine racks to showcase a homeowners collection. If you're planning a home renovation project this year, consider incorporating some of these trends to update your kitchen. Before construction gets under way, consult with a professional remodeler about the renovation projects you have planned.

Source: www.NARI.org

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