Real Estate News


    • 6 Ways to Help Small Businesses in Your Community Thrive

      25 January 2022

      (Family Features) Small business owners faced the challenges of the past couple of years head-on. Nearly all re-evaluated their operations to accommodate new ways of doing business amid changing safety standards and local protocols, and many plan to make these changes permanent.

      Over the past year, pandemic-related operational challenges, combined with a surge in physical and verbal attacks, have been uniquely difficult for a group of small business owners.

      Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) businesses comprise nearly 10% of small businesses in the United States. Among them, 92% faced difficulties keeping their businesses open and operating amid the pandemic, according to Bank of America’s 2021 AAPI Business Owner Spotlight.

      “While almost all AAPI entrepreneurs said the pandemic created additional stress around running their businesses, they remain determined and resilient,” said Carol Lee Mitchell, head of small business strategy at Bank of America. “Even as they faced immense obstacles, AAPI business owners took steps to move their businesses and communities forward.”

      Local companies, including AAPI businesses, have proven to be fundamental to strong, healthy economies and inclusive communities. These entrepreneurs remain solution-oriented, quickly adopting new tools and strategies; however, they require support from customers and community members to thrive.

      Consider these ways you can support small businesses, including AAPI owners and the community at-large, from the experts at Bank of America:

      Choose to Shop Local and Small
      Small businesses are ingrained in many local communities. When you choose to purchase from a small business, you’re directly supporting neighbors, friends and the people in your community. This support isn’t taken for granted by entrepreneurs; more than half of AAPI small business owners noted the importance of community support amid the pandemic. Also consider leaving a generous tip when you receive exceptional service – it can make a big difference for small business staff.

      Gift Local
      Keep the impact that your support could have on local community businesses in mind when shopping for gifts, whether they’re for loved ones near or far. For locals, a gift card to a nearby eatery or business such as a spa, salon or recreation center makes for a welcome gift that keeps your money local. When gifting those who live farther away, you can still benefit small businesses in your community by purchasing a thoughtful gift and packaging locally then shipping it with the help of a business in your area.

      Help Spread the Word
      Small businesses don’t usually have the means to invest in big marketing programs, so referrals and word of mouth can make a major difference. However, in today’s world, a great deal of consumer research happens online. That means you can be most helpful by taking your stories of great service and quality products to the internet, too. Seek out your favorite small businesses and write reviews on their social media channels. Take it a step further and give them a shoutout (with tags, if possible) on your own social media accounts where your friends and family are more likely to notice.

      Help Fill Open Positions
      The job market has shifted noticeably over the past year, and local businesses have been struggling to find the talent they need to continue to serve their communities. Small business owners recognize this and are shifting benefits for their employees, allowing for more flexible schedules and additional paid time off.

      Since these business owners are looking for employees to help fill some of the uptick in demand, you can help by tapping into your own network and recommending people for different positions you see, whether it be through “Help Wanted” signs or based on the needs you hear from the businesses you patronize.

      Be Mindful of Business Challenges 
      Finding a work-life balance can be difficult for small business owners even in non-pandemic times because they wear so many hats within their businesses, from CEO and salesperson to human resources and everything in between.

      Business owners were more conscious of their mental health over the past year, as nearly all AAPI business owners acknowledged additional stress and more than half set aside specific time for self-care and mental wellness.

      As a consumer, it’s important to be mindful of the fact that business owners are both short-staffed and dealing with supply chain issues. Take an understanding approach and work with local businesses to make sure they know they are supported by their community.

      Check In on What’s New
      Just as you’ve changed your consumer habits and needs, small businesses have adapted in dozens of ways. That could mean you have access to new services or options you never considered. For example, your favorite yoga studio may offer streaming classes or a favorite breakfast cafe you haven’t visited in a while might have an all-new menu. Take time to stop in and learn how your favorite businesses are changing with the times and see how those changes may suit your needs.

      Look for additional resources designed for small businesses at bankofamerica.com/smallbusiness.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Stay Productive Throughout Your Workday

      25 January 2022

      No matter where you work or what you do, everyone out there wants to get the most work done in the highest quality and the shortest amount of time. Productivity and efficiency are some of the most important goals companies large and small strive for. With high expectations for employees and only a limited amount of hours in a day, daily tasks can quickly become overwhelming.

      Here are a few tips to staying productive and successfully completing your work each and every day, stress-free…

      Plan Ahead
      It’s getting to the end of the day on a Friday and all you can think about are your weekend plans. But before you clock out for the week, you should set yourself up for success. What projects are you working on? Do you have a deadline coming up? How long will each task take you? Writing down a to-do list for the following work week is a great step to boosting your productivity. Figure out what your top priority is and plan to start it Monday morning. At the end of each workday, review and update your to-do list for a fresh start each day.

      Get Organized
      Starting each day with a cluttered desk can be overwhelming. This includes your digital desk. If you come into work every day and sit down at a desk covered in piles of papers, scattered with no rhyme or reason, you may not know where to start. And if you log onto your computer to find your screen full of desktop icons and documents, you may have the same problem. Create folders, physical and digital, and spend some time getting organized. It’s inevitable that as you go through each workday, your desk will clutter, so just be sure to spend a few minutes at the end of the day tidying up and reorganizing.

      Minimize Distractions
      Do you find yourself checking your email every 10 minutes? Maybe the person sitting next to you makes too much noise? No matter the distraction, you can reduce the interruption and get your work done efficiently. Set yourself blocks of time during the day where you close out your email and focus solely on your work. Wear headphones to minimize outside noises from the neighboring cube. If you have a home office, keep the door closed to avoid pets or family members from popping in and disturbing you. Also, make sure to keep light snacks and water close by, as hunger and thirst can be an immediate and prominent killer to your focus.

      Take Multiple Breaks
      Like multitasking, working for hours with no break can cause frustration and exhaustion, and inevitably lessen your productivity. To keep your mind sharp and your creativity peaking, you should take shorter, more frequent breaks throughout the day. Even a walk to the water fountain or a short conversation with a coworker can improve the quality of your work. Sitting at a desk for hours on end can make you tired and lose interest in your project. Movement is key to keeping the body and brain working and successful.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Stage Your Dining Room

      25 January 2022

      While it’s true that all rooms are not created equal when selling a home, you still need to stage each room and make it as attractive as you can for any potential buyer. While something like a dining room, garage or family room might not seem as important as a kitchen or bedroom, you may have a house hunter who spends a great deal of time in one of those rooms and that could be where their focus lies.

      So, when considering the dining room, whether you use it for meals or simply to plop down mail and food that you need to put away, think of it as a room that people will want to dine in every night.

      Though many millennials would probably just transform the room into an office or larger entertainment room, you still want to furnish and prepare the room for those who consider the dining room a vital component of the home.

      For many, the dining room is where most of the family meals and entertaining is done. Plus, it’s a wonderful showcase room for your china, glasses and other flatware. 

      The best way to stage a dining room is to prepare it as if it’s being decorated for a fancy dinner party. Put out your best place settings, use fancy linens, add some decorative candles and play on a buyer’s emotions. Give them the chance to envision what it would be like to host their own elegant dinner in the room.

      Chairs should be pushed completely under the table so people aren’t blocked from walking around, plus it gives a larger feel to the room. And the dining room table should be cleaned and polished so it shines.

      Depending on the size of the dining room, additional furniture can be added, especially if there’s an opportunity to show off a nice china cabinet. However, you don’t want to have extra chairs or a wine rack in the corner, as they will only make the room look smaller. 

      Most dining rooms are lit by a chandelier, an item that can really attract a buyer to the room. If your current chandelier is dingy or doesn’t give off much light, this is an opportunity for an upgrade. Chandeliers don’t cost too much and a new one can make a world of difference. Plus, you could always take it with you (as long as the buyer knows it’s not part of the package). 

      Consider your window treatments carefully, as well. Some dining rooms have heavy curtains that block windows but tie them up and let some natural light in. If you’re willing to throw in the curtains with the house, make that clear up front.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Fresh, Healthy Family Meals

      24 January 2022

      (Family Features) Chef Nate Appleman knows how important it is to serve healthy meals to your family – ones they actually want to eat. Before having his first child, he transformed his eating and exercise habits and lost 85 pounds to get on a healthier path.

      Now, he’s cooking meals for his family, including 14-year-old Oliver who was diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease as a toddler – an inflammation of the blood vessels that can cause damage to coronary arteries – as a healthy lifestyle is important to help manage the disease. Since Oliver’s diagnosis, Appleman made it his personal mission to create awareness of Kawasaki Disease and for the critical need for plasma donations that many people with the disease rely on for treatment, which is why he partnered with Abbott to bring attention to the need for plasma donations.

      Plasma is a powerful part of your blood that supports essential bodily functions. It’s a lifeline for thousands of people who are immune-compromised and live with a variety of chronic and complex diseases. In fact, more than 125,000 Americans rely on medication made from plasma every day, according to the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA).

      The COVID-19 pandemic led to a serious shortage of plasma donors – average donations per center in the United States were down approximately 11% during the first few months of 2021 compared to the previous year, further deepening the nearly 20% decline in donations in 2020 compared to 2019, according to the PPTA. 

      Donating plasma is a safe and relatively easy process. Since plasma is replaced in the body within about 24 hours, it can be donated up to twice per week. With a donation that typically takes between 1-3 hours, you can make a lasting impact by providing lifesaving medicine for patients like Oliver.

      It’s a good idea to fuel up with iron-rich foods before and after donating, so Appleman created these fresh, nutritious recipes he loves to serve his family: Lemon Chicken with Roasted Red Onions and Potatoes, and Cheesy Frittata with Veggies.

      Learn where you can donate at bethe1 donor.abbott.

      Lemon Chicken with Roasted Red Onions and Potatoes
      Recipe courtesy of chef Nate Appleman on behalf of Abbott

      Lemon chicken:
      1 whole chicken, cut into eight pieces
      1 ounce minced garlic
      1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
      1/4 teaspoon paprika
      1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
      1/4 teaspoon ground fennel seed
      1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
      1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
      1 tablespoon kosher salt

      Potatoes:
      2 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
      salted water
      oil

      Cauliflower:
      1 head cauliflower
      salted water
      ice
      2 tablespoons mayonnaise
      1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
      1 tablespoon chopped parsley

      Roasted onions:
      1 red onion
      salt
      oil

      For serving:
      3 ounces pitted Castelvetrano or green olives, cut into quarters
      5 ounces wild arugula
      1 lemon, quartered

      To make lemon chicken: Marinate chicken in a mixture of minced garlic, granulated garlic, paprika, smoked paprika, fennel pollen, dried oregano, coriander and salt; let sit overnight.

      To make potatoes: Boil potatoes in heavily salted water until tender. Cool, peel and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Toss with oil to coat; reserve.

      To make cauliflower: Cut cauliflower into florets and blanch in salted water 1 minute; shock in ice bath. Remove from ice and dry. Toss with mayonnaise, tamari and parsley; reserve.

      To make roasted onions: Preheat oven to 450 F. Peel onion and slice into 1-inch rings. Toss with salt and oil; roast until slightly caramelized with texture. Chill and reserve.

      Preheat the oven to 450 F.

      Bake chicken on a sheet pan for approximately 15 minutes. Add potatoes and cauliflower. Bake approximately 15 minutes then switch the oven to broil for approximately 10 minutes.

      Squeeze lemon over reserved onion.

      When chicken is crispy and reaches an internal temperature of 165 F, remove from the oven and add onions and olives. Plate chicken, potatoes, onions, olives and cauliflower on top of arugula and garnish with lemon.

      Cheesy Frittata with Veggies
      Recipe courtesy of chef Nate Appleman on behalf of Abbott
       
      Roasted garlic:
      2 heads garlic
      olive oil
      salt

      Frittata:
      oil
      2 medium leeks, sliced
      8 ounces blanched, chopped broccoli
      salt, to taste
      9 eggs
      2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
      2 ounces grated Parmigiano Reggiano
      2 tablespoons heavy cream

      To make roasted garlic: Preheat the oven to 400 F.

      Slice 1/4 inch off entire heads of garlic and place cut sides down in a 1-liter casserole dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt; cover with lid.

      Bake 35-45 minutes until heads of garlic are soft and light brown. Let cool then use the back of the knife to squeeze garlic from the pods.

      To make frittata: Lower oven to 375 F.

      In a saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook leeks until soft; add broccoli then season with salt, to taste, and remove from heat.

      In a mixing bowl, mix roasted garlic, sauteed leeks and broccoli, eggs, parsley, Parmigiano Reggiano and cream; place in a 9-inch pie dish and bake approximately 20 minutes until the top of the frittata is brown. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before cutting and serving.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Home Hair Salons: A Growing Trend in Luxury Residences

      24 January 2022

      For those who truly love to be pampered, you’ll be pleased to learn that hair salons are an increasingly popular feature in luxury homes. After all, if you’re going to have a professional-grade fitness area and wellness facilities, then you might as well complete the package and have everything you need to look your best. For those who are thinking that a hair salon might be the perfect addition to their home, here’s everything you need to know about this trend. 

      Benefits of a Salon
      It seems like everyone is at the mercy of an overpacked schedule these days, which makes it difficult to find the time for a trip to the beauty salon. Nevertheless, it can feel like you’re constantly trying to squeeze an appointment into your day, whether it’s a routine haircut and highlights, a quick manicure or a blowout before you go out for the evening. If there’s one surefire way to simplify this part of your life, it’s installing a hair salon at home. In addition to convenience, you’ll absolutely enjoy the privacy when trying out a new hairdo or inviting some friends over for an evening of being pampered.

      Designing Your Dream Space
      If you already have the perfect space in your home picked out, then all you’ll have to do is figure out which features are right for you. Whether it’s incorporated into the master suite or located in your finished basement, the most important thing is designing a home salon that’s suited to your regular routine and treatments. This can be as simple as installing a stylist chair in front of a well-lit vanity or you can go big with a hair washing basin, manicure and pedicure stations and a central vacuum system that makes it easy to sweep up after getting a trim. Of course, you might also want to make sure that your favorite hairdresser is willing to make house calls before you do anything!

      Published with permission from RISMedia.