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  • Locals We Love

    Introducing Locals We Love!

    What better way to answer your questions of "Who does your eyebrows?" "Where can I find the gym's website?" or "Any favorite local resturants?" than to develop a page dedicated to directing you to a few of our favorite local shops/services/eateries.  

    Find the page by clicking HERE, or by visiting the Locals We Love button in the menu.  Keep an eye out for more business to be added!

  • August Goals

    August.

    August is the time, here in Kentucky, when the weather is the most sticky.  It's hot and damp every day, and just stepping outside makes one feel as if they need a shower....  Sometimes, it makes one feel as if they have just stepped out of the shower.  Humidity is not my friend. 

    I remember my Freshman year at WKU.  I was so anxious to start college.  I had spent way too much money on a wardrobe from Express that I thought was cute.  On my first day of college courses, I hiked my happy butt from the "Valley" up the hill to Cherry Hall at 9:05am.  There is a reason that Western Kentucky University is known as the Hilltoppers.  By the time I'd reached the halfway point at Schneider Hall (later, my home, and a place that is still affectionately held as the greatest dorm ever by those who lived there from 2001-2003), I was dripping- DRIPPING- in sweat.  My 40-year-old soccer-mom hairdo was plastered to my head.  My black, single strap wedges were rubbing blisters, and my Express first-day-of-class ensemble was regretted.  I was so excited to look put together. Black, not-remotely-breathable shorts, a black tank with the built-in shelf bra (you girls know the ones I'm talking about), and a long-sleeve hot pink wrap sweater...  What was I thinking!?

    August is still hot.  It still harkens memories of the bad choices I made at the beginning of each school year, and for that reason, it always kicks my self-doubt into full swing.

    Man, this is shaping up to be a cheerful post.

    I digress. 

    August, like so many of it's monthly cousins, is also a new beginning, a reason to set new goals, and to round out Summer with a bang.

    Condo Buyer

    My gal looking for her perfect Bachlorette Pad (see: June) has a travel scheulde more hectic than mine.  Add in my own vacation days, as well as a Seller living between two cities, and we're looking at a teeny, tiny closing window.  Luckily, that window opens this week.  My girl will be moving her furniture come the 10th!

    Eat

    I am a horrible person to live with- I know this.  I work best when on a regimented schedule, which is funny, I know, for someone whose career is completely centered around the wants, needs, and schedules of others.  I've been searching lately for a way to bring part of my life back into balance, and I've decided that the best thing I can do is start meal-prepping for myself again.  While I haven't powerlifted in a long time, and my once wonderful 6-pack has been on vacation since 2011, I do hope that nourishing myself on a more steady and well-thought basis will help me to feel a little more in control.  It may help me shed a few pounds (a happy side-effect) as well.  I am a little nervous about the thought of trying to bring balance to my own diet when the consistent cooking for the two other people in this house who have diets that don't remotely resemble my own.  I'm sure, though, that I'll figure something out.  You can bank that one of my lunches will include a copy of the canteloupe crudo I had at Rye the other night.  Holy wow.

    Dream House Couple

    I have a set of clients that I have worked with now for almost a year.  This couple is ready to find their forever home, and have tastes and personalities that rival almost anyone else I know.  They have remained incredibly fun to work with, but I know that they may be getting discouraged that the house they have in mind may not be out there.  A few have come really close, but none seem to be just right.  With a large budget as well as the idea that this will be the last home they ever buy, it's up to me to make sure we get this right.  

    Saint Matthews Listing

    I have a gorgeous second floor condo listed in Saint Matthews (conveinently, a couple doors down from me!).  We've had quite a few showings, and the feedback has all been positive- It shows well, the porch is amazing, etc.- the only negatives we've heard is that it's not on the first floor, and that it's not located in the happening Highlands neighborhood.  Neither of these are points we can change, and both my client and I are remaining positive.  I'm hoping that August brings us a Buyer.  

    Friends, this is the last of summer.  I hope you've enjoyed it.  I hope you've made a trip to the beach, stuck your toes in the sand. I hope you've knocked out that project you've been working on, and that back to school shopping for the kids went as smoothly as possible.  August.  Let's get through it.  

  • June, July

    I've never really been one to suffer from anxiety. Neuroses, yes, but I can't remember a time in my life that I was overly nervous, overwhelmed.  The last 6 months, however, have found me shifting. I'll find at times that when I finally have a beak to sit down, or lay on the couch with a book, it feels as if I can feel my pulse in my entire body. If I look closely, I can see my heart beating in my chest, and hear the blood whoosh through my veins. I keep brushing it off to the fact that this year has been so incredibly stressful, and I'm almost sure that I'm right. 

    I tend to retreat into myself when I stress. I become quieter, more regimented in a schedule. I can flip a switch and turn on for a client, for a workout, for dinner out with girlfriends, but for the most part, I'm numb, silent. I can only assume that this silence transfers over to a silence of writing as well... Hence my absence, and for that, readers, I apologize. 

    I am here, I assure you.  I have more email piled up from you than I've ever had in the past, and I know I have so much catching up to do. While I know I can't force myself out of this quiet state, I do promise to reach out to you once a week, minimum, until I find my way back to normal.  

    June:

    The east-end condo went on the market June 15th, and by the end of the day, we were looking at multiple offers. The strongest buyer offered several thousand over asking price in cash, and despite my seller living in California, and me sunning poolside in Phoenix, we managed to get everything signed and closed last week.  

    Phoenix was a far more laid-back city than I had assumed (Scottsdale and its designer labels included), and the incredible weather had me motivated to do nothing more than read poolside- which is exactly what I did for 5 days. I did manage to get in a few local restaurants and catch up with an old friend who lives in the area, but a trip to the Grand Canyon couldn't be fit in due to the man's work schedule. He has, however, been invited back this winter. I assume I'll be better at road trip planning the second time around. 

    The buyer I had searching for a condo found a place while I was in Phoenix, and we went under contract almost as soon as I got home. She's currently 30th-birthday vacationing, but we should be closing when she returns.  

    The damn tile is finally finished. I can't even begin to explain how freaking amazing my fireplace looks covered in a small marble subway tile, or how the kitchen finally looks complete. A new light fixture and new breakfast chairs are soon to be in the kitchen, and as soon as they arrive, a kitchen reveal is on its way to you.

    July:

    I almost stumbled blindly into this month.  My only goals included catching up on some reading, working with one of my buyers on finding a house this side of the Ohio River, and hopefully getting my St. Matthews condo under contract.  So far, I've knocked out 4 books on my to-read list (including Jeffrey Eugenide's Middlesex), and may have pinpointed a buyer's dream home.  I'm awaiting the remainder of the month. 

    ** Middlesex **

    I did head to Chicago for a few days, and just pulled back into town last night, bringing with me a set of David Yurman earrings I've been stalking for ages (they look like fireworks, which remind me of my birthday), as well as a couple of frozen Giordano's pizzas.  

    ** Starburst Collection **

    Friends, I promise to stay closer to you.  I know that it's difficult to get excited to read something that is often updated so sporadically. I don't want to continue using Daddy's death and the ramifications therof as an excuse to slack, but it's hard.  It is so hard to continue to get through each week, and aside from the 30-second bursts of energy and optimism it takes to post a photo on Instagram, I haven't felt remotely social in a long time.  I am trying. I know you understand, and I'm grateful for that. 

    See you next week.

  • Job Hazards

    I always try to keep any job harrumph-ings away from social media.  Complaints only make the complainer into one of those annoying folks who start every week with a funny cartoon depicting how much they hate Mondays, and a constant celebration of victories almost seem to push one into salesman mode- "Look how good I am! Buy a house from me!"  I never want to be either of those things, so save for stating goals each month, or posting new listings, I try to keep business and personal life very separate.  That being said, I've recently discovered a job hazard that I just cannot keep quiet about.

    My career isn't built to be that of sales.  I know folks who compare those in the world of read estate to used car salesmen, peddling their wares to make a profit.  I've always argued that it isn't my job to sell anyone a house, rather it's to guide my clients through the purchase or release of one of the biggest investments of their life.  My daily duties include reassuring my Buyers that their purchases are the right choice, calming my Sellers when an open house doesn't gather as much attention as it should.  Those in my career are incredibly fortunate that some days, our agenda includes "celebratory lunch with Jackie," or "Kevin and Anna's Housewarming party."  

    Throughout the course of my day-to-day, the biggest responsibility I have is to build a relationship with those I represent.  It's not what I would call a difficult task, but it is one that requires effort, sincerity, and an emotional connection to my clients.  These people are- after all- instilling a huge amount of trust in me to guide them through this experience.  There's a large amount of dependency on their Realtor, and there are almost always panicked, late night phone calls that perhaps, changing the countertop wasn't a good idea.  There are complications with moving- perhaps the movers just can't show up, and my clients have to hit the road without the majority of their possessions, leaving me in charge of making sure no furniture is left behind, that the roof doesn't leak during Kentucky spring storms.  The dependency, the trust, the emotional connection leads to- more often than not- a friendship.  

    This is where things get difficult.  

    I spend countless hours with my clients.  Buyers? It could take looking at 50 homes before they find "the one." Afterwards, there are celebratory housewarming parties, invitations to their weddings, a lifetime of companionship.  But the Sellers...

    There are still countless hours. Staging and photographing a home could take 8 hours or more (I spent 7 on a 1,200 square foot condo last week), and then there is painstaking communication to ensure that every scheduled showing arrives to a clean, bright house, that open houses are well-outfitted with cupcakes and bottled water, wine and cheese.  The house is the spectacle here, and that means that the Sellers are, by proxy, also under the microscope. I hold hands, reassure them when the one piece of negative feedback affects their whole day.  I take my job very seriously- make the house as great as it can be so that the Sellers sell in the shortest amount of time possible.  

    Then, when I succeed, we get a great offer and move forward.  We talk almost every day about when the inspections are scheduled, coordinate any repairs, make sure that the appraisal happens when it should.  I help them track down moving boxes, find the best folks to haul all of their furniture all of the way across the country.  I sometimes see or talk to my clients every day, and they become a huge part of my life.  

    One day, I wake up and realize that it's moving day.  I panic.  I wake up Bryan (because, at this point, he, too, may have a friendship with these folks), and we hit the bakery to find a massive assortment of donuts to fuel my clients for their cross-country road trip to their new home.  I sometimes realize that after walking out their door, it could be months- years- before I see them again.  

    Each time a client moves away from our area, I lose a little part of my heart.  Sometimes, it's harder than others, and sometimes, I feel as if I did my job too well- perhaps I should have tried to keep them around longer, leave the house on the market an extra 6 weeks.  Sometimes, I drop off their road-trip Danish, step outside and cry and cry... Sometimes it feels as if I'm losing my best friends.  Sometimes, I am.  While I couldn't be any more thankful for having a career I so desperately love, there are times I wish I loved my clients a little less.  However, emotions don't work like that.  We like who we like, and fall in love with our friendships over the course of these transactions.  It's a job hazard- one that can't be helped. 

    So, California is waiting for my latest cross-country clients.  I've never been to LA, and find myself wanting to plan a trip very soon.  Maybe I'll get to tag along while they house hunt, West Coast style.  Maybe they'll have a guest room.

    I'll you soon, V & J.  It's been an honor to have represented you.  Thanks for the friendship.

  • June Goals

    I'm so disappointed in myself. Each month, I feel like I start off with a bang, then, somewhere around the 20th, it's as if I lose steam... Mostly with the blog, but in other areas as well. I'm not saying that I didn't accomplish anything last month- quite the contrary, actually.  I managed to list Shepherdsville, get an accepted offer, pre-list my East End condo (which will hit the market around the 10th), and make some pretty decent headway on my website copy.  I can't say that I dove in to buy a new bag, but I think I'm pretty well decided on that little Chanel number. May was BUSY. 

    As for June, I'll be traveling smack in the middle of the month, I have a couple of Buyers who have appeared out of nowhere, and I'm almost sure one of my Buyers will be moving forward with a purchase VERY quickly.  I'll blink and July will be here. 

    East End Condo

    The sweet little condo I've been looking forward to listing will be on the market on June 10th, or therebouts. This sucker has been immaculately kept. With hardwood floors, a gas fireplace, a garage as well as an assigned parking spot.  It's a first floor unit, and, in my humble opinion, is in better shape than any of its comparable counterparts that have sold in the last year.   While condominiums sometimes require a little bit longer of a stay on the market than single family homes, I'm still hoping that June shows us a potential buyer.

    Phoenix

    June 10th, I'll be seeing the Monkees in concert for the 3rd time, June 11th, I'll be at a 15-year reunion with some of my high school friends, and June 12th, I board a plane to Phoenix so the man can partake in a very cool apprenticeship program.  I plan on finally getting some sun, soaking in the dessert views, and taking at least one day trip to the Grand Canyon.  I've never been to Arizona at all, and the Grand Canyon has been on my to-see list for a while. It seems like Flagstaff has a lot of fun to offer, the Sonoran Desert looks just gorgeous, and as for Phoenix itself? I'm in.  Any restaurant/sight suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    Condo Buyer

    One of my girlfriends has a fire lit under her butt to buy a place of her own as soon as possible. After a whirlwind love affair with a very in-demand listing last week, a cash buyer swooped in.  Sadly, it took a first seat to us, but no fear! I know that the house for her is out there, and I intend to find it.  I want her under contract with inspections completed by the end of the month. If only my new listing we up her alley...

    The Damn Tile

    The tile...  I bet it was March when I finally began installing the kitchen backsplash and fireplace surround.  I was able to get as much as possible finished without having to break out the tile saw, waiting for a nice, sunny free afternoon to finish.  Between Spring Kentucky weather, a massive amount of work, and continuing to finish Daddy's estate, the time hasn't yet come that I could complete the projects.  It'll be done this month if it kills me.  

  • Baubles

    At 8am, Monday through Friday each week on the Hallmark Channel, The Golden Girls plays four back to back episodes.  Coincidentally, three or four days a week, I'm on a treadmill at my local Globogym for an hour or so at 8am, usually watching The Golden Girls.  Almost every episode is memorized. One of my favorites is Sick and Tired, Part 2.  Dorothy is searching for an answer of why she feels so lethargic (a television first- breaching the subject of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), and Blanche decides to become famous by leaving a legacy of "Everyman," a book of her relationship with Every. Man.  

    Sleep deprived and loopy, she decides she should cut off her hair, since Van Gogh cut off his.  Once corrected that it was an ear that went missing, she deflates, and observes, "I have too many earrings..." It's a line- and a scene- that always made me giggle.  But, I've never had too many earrings.  Ever.  Truth be told, I only have a few pair. One, a vintage set of gold flowers from my grandma, her diamond studs, and a small selection of Swarovski drops.  Mixed in are a pair of formal blue and green clips, and a pair of sky blue tassels I've yet to have the guts to wear. Sadly, all of my jewelry fits into a single 2"x2" square in my desk drawer.

    Lately, though, my "normal" look seems to be shifting, my hair (and my roots!!) are growing out, and my overall wardrobe is leaning more towards a more polished aesthetic.  While I don't want to lose who I am in a pile of dresses, shoes, jewelry and STUFF, I do want to start adding in pieces that I feel like may be missing- a few more tailored dresses, comfortable work shoes (check) and Blanche's favorite: earrings.  On my list? See below:

    ** Jennifer Meyer Long Dome Earrings **

    ** Les Bonbons by Rebecca de Ravenel **

    ** Dior's Double Pearls **

  • Book Review: Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey, An American Heritage

    Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage

    Michael Veach

    I had the pleasure of sitting down with the Woman's Club of Louisville one Wednesday afternoon in April to hear local Bourbon historian (who knew there was such a thing??) Michael Veach speak on his incredibly envious position.  

    His lecture gave insight to the alcoholic culture in the US during and after the Mad Men-era three martini lunches, and the rise in popularity of vodka (with the sly, fool-the-police-officers Smirnoff tag line of "It will leave you breathless."), as well as the use of darker spirits in bartering for food, power, and land. 

    His book, Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage, dives even deeper into the whiskey world, with centuries-old recipes for sweet mash versus sour, how to turn your basic mix into a rum, and the growth and rise of Bourbon's popularity outside of its homeland of Kentucky.  

    As someone who may not consider herself a whiskey afficianado (though I do love a Glenmorangie 12-year old Nectar D'or Scotch on occasion, while my favorite at-home Bourbon is good old Old Forrester), I loved being able to read about not only the history of whiskey and the taxes and regulations placed on such a desirable spirit in it's early years, but also about the popularity and impact that my favorite brown water has had on Kentucky's economy as well as the economy of the US.  

    A fun read for anyone who has sat down with a finger or two of whiskey, or for anyone who has spent too many minutes just watching Nick Offerman in front of his fireplace, and a definite for anyone who has more than one decanter on their bar.

  • Derby Salad

    I've made a serious effort lately to eat salads for lunch at least three days a week.  To make things easier on grocery trips, I just make enough of whatever roughage I'm having for the week on Monday to last through lunch on Friday. 

    I've gotten myself in a bind on a couple of occasions, however, by trying a new recipe and hating it. All of a sudden, I'm stuck with three days or more worth of some salad that I can't bring myself to finish.  The week of Derby, I decided to break out a recipe I found in the Courier Journal several years ago for the "Perfect Kentucky Derby Luncheon."

    Beef Wellington and Derby pie aside, the salad looked light enough and definitely pretty enough to feel like Spring and racing season had sprung in the South.  While the original recipe is filled with a make-ahead bacon and pecan brittle, and a berry vinaigrette that requires a bourbon-infused overnight soak, as well as a Boursin cheese mousse (piped into a rosette), I'm sure bacon bits, candied pecans, and simple hunk of Boursin would work just as well, but whatever you do, don't skimp on the dressing!!

    ** photo via Courier-Journal **

    Bacon Pecan Brittle:

    2 cups sugar

    2 cups water

    ¼ cup chopped toasted pecans

    ¼ cup chopped cooked bacon

    Pinch of kosher salt

    Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a pan, combine sugar and water, bring to a boil, and boil vigorously until sugar mixture reaches the hard crack stage, 300 degrees on a candy thermometer. Line sheet pan with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Sprinkle pecans and chopped bacon evenly over entire pan. Carefully pour over the hot sugar mixture. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes. When firm and brittle, break into bite-sized pieces.

    Bourbon Berry Vinegarette:

    ½ cup blueberries

    ½ cup raspberries

    ½ cup blackberries

    1 cup strawberries (hulled and cut in half)

    ¼ cup sugar

    2 tablespoons good bourbon

    Juice of ½ lemon

    1 minced shallot

    1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar

    ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard

    Salt and pepper to taste

    ½ cup blended olive oil (½ olive oil and ½ neutral vegetable oil)

    Rinse and shake-dry all the berries, and combine in a bowl. Toss berries with the sugar, bourbon and lemon juice. Marinate at least 24 hours. Purée fruit mix in blender with the shallot, vinegar, Dijon mustard and salt and pepper. With the blender running, slowly add the oil to the fruit mix until completely incorporated. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

    Boursin Cheese Mousse:

    Combine two 4-ounce blocks of garlic herbed boursin cheese with ½ cup heavy cream in a food processor, and purée until smooth. Season to taste with white pepper.

    For the Salad:

    2 to 4 heads Bibb lettuce, depending on the size of the heads

    Bacon pecan brittle Boursin cheese mousse

    1 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced in half

    Separate lettuce leaves, rinse well and spin dry. Compose each salad on a salad plate. Arrange several leaves of lettuce on the plate, and pipe a rosette of boursin mousse in the center. Sprinkle with some of the pecan brittle, and garnish with two or three sliced strawberries. Dress with several tablespoons of the dressing.

  • Closet Wants

    It's odd, being a Louisvillian, that the black and red color combination wasn't one that ever appealed to me. I'm not sure if it's that I felt so drowned by all things University of Louisville while growing up, or that the 90's were a period of the Chicago Bulls being on top and their memorabilia being everywhere, but the overdone black and red just wasn't a thing I could get behind. 

    That anti-combination followed me through all of my life, and when I started coloring my hair black in 2007, any time I wore red, I felt like a walking Cards fan.  While I love UL football, I just didn't want to feel like such a college supporter. I stopped wearing red. 

    Slowly, since June or so of last year, I've been growing my hair longer, and letting the sun do its thing with slowly getting my color back to natural. All of a sudden, I have this medium brown mane, with lighter, ashier roots, and wearing red doesn't seem like such a bad thing. The quest to add more into my closet has begun.

    ** Bec and Bridge Folk Tales Midi **

    While not entirely red, Bec and Bridge Alabama print, seen here on the Folk Tales Midi dress offers just enough red to ease me into the color.  Swingy, with tasseled ties, I'm already in love.

    ** Banana Republic Multi-Print Strappy Dress **

    Full Skirted (always a favorite for this hippy gal), and with a bandana-like print, I can see this sucker being worn with flat sandals to a summer dinner alfresco, or with heels and a cardigan for a quick client meeting.

    ** Mikoh Hinano One-Piece **

    I've grown out of the bikini phase of my life. However, a super plunge-y halter swimsuit seems right up my alley. While a full red feels as if it may clash with any sunburn I may get (especially during the 9 days I'm poolside in Phoenix this June), the pomegranate has just enough blue to it that my lobster-ish skin may not look so bad.  I'll admit that I'm leaning towards black, but red? It's an option.

    I'm breaking out of my box here, friends.  I'm hoping that with a little more red in my closet, I'll stop wearing so much black (who am I kidding? That'll never happen!), and be a little braver wardrobe-wise going forward.  

  • May Goals

    I know I've been off of my goal game for a few months, but I'm doing my best to get as back on track as possible. May always opens a lot of doors- The end of the school year brings about a plethora of potential new clients, the weather opens after Derby, and Kentucky bursts into summer. Usually, it's around this time of year that I'm sporting a beautiful farmer's tan from getting tobacco in the ground, but this year, I'll have to do without.  I feel I've almost overloaded myself with goals this month to make up for the lack of farming I'll be doing... See?

    Mama Needs a New Bag

    With a recent change in vehicle and a funky new auto key, my tiny wristlet from Coach just isn't going to cut it.  For years, I've carried around a Barney the Dinosaur purple wallet that had a neat little pocket for my iPhone and a clip on piece for holding my keys.  Everything I needed on a daily basis was wrapped up into one teeny package, and freed my hands for guiding a grocery cart, juggling cups of coffee... Whatever I needed to do.  Now, I'm needing something a little bigger, perhaps something that can parade as a clutch when needed, has a cross-body strap (removable, preferably), and can hold everything I have with me on a non-client-meeting daily basis.  

    Does such a thing exist?  Who knows, but it seems as if Chanel's Wallet on a Chain comes pretty darn close. Am I really wanting to shell out for Chanel? Not necessarily, but the gently used versions on Tradesy don't look terrible. Maybe after every a few more commissions. Speaking of...

    East End Condo Listing

    A past client of mine needs to sell their second home in Louisville.  After a very poorly timed backup of their sump pump, the reinstalling of their laundry room floors in under way, and I hope to have this sucker on the market by the end of the month, just like the....

    Shepherdsville Listing

    Its possible that a family member is moving himself and his family to Florida (lucky duck), and needs to sell his sweet home in Shepherdsville quickly.  It's a great little house, and has already been extensively updated and staged (fresh paint throughout!).  The competition in the neighborhood is a great thing for us.  I can't wait to get this thing on the market- I have the feeling it's going to go pretty quickly.

    Copy

    I'm hoping to have an overhaul of my professional website by the end of the year (with a link leading here, of course), and have been working on getting my copy done for months now.  It's so hard to describe one's self, and sell potential clients on why I may be their best option.  So much of my business comes from referrals and past clients and colleagues, so I feel as if no one ever really seeks me out to represent them in a transaction, instead, they just take their banker's/mom's/best friend's/insurance agent's word on who to call.  As flattering as that is, I always have to wonder what would happen if a potential client does decide to do a little more homework.  What if I'm googled, and references are requested? 

    There's an elegant way, I'm sure, to introduce myself to someone new.  There has to be a balance of professional accomplishments as well as personal get-to-know-me fun facts.  I'm hoping I can find that happy place.

    Friends, I know I keep repeating myself, but thank you for sticking with me through this lull in writing.  I'm hoping to be back in full force, soon.  Your support, as always, has been immensely appreciated.