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Yellow Brick Road
December 2016
One Brick At A Time®
Brought to you by: Dorothy.com

Advocate: Avery Fox  
Fan: Duke Blue Devils
Published: December 2016
Recipe by: Blue Apron
Duke University Fan
Avery Fox
Each month a member has the opportunity to be our monthly meal advocate. The meal advocate chooses from 3 blue apron meals as their favorite for the month. Recommend someone from a not previously selected university to be the next meal advocate. Call (630) 283-6219 or email meal@dorothy.com to recommend a meal advocate for your favorite team.

Tonight’s meal celebrates some of our favorite Vietnamese flavors. We’re brightening up juicy meatballs with a powerful trio of aromatics: ginger, scallion and fragrant fresh lemongrass (with its delightful citrusy notes). The irresistible meatballs are served atop deliciously springy sweet potato noodles (made from the starch of the vegetable), tossed with a unique sauté of celery and pleasantly crunchy daikon radish.

Tip of the month
Published: December 2016

Florida State University Fan
Florida State University Fan
Each month a member has the opportunity to be our monthly wine advocate. The wine advocate chooses one or two wines to go with the monthly menu item. Recommend someone from a not previously selected university to be the next wine advocate. Call (630) 283-6219 or email wine@dorothy.com to recommend a wine advocate for your favorite team.

This little guy gets hungry, and not surprisingly he digs-in on well seasoned meatballs. But, he'll just have to wait a few more years to enjoy vino with this meal.

Although a bit non-traditional, I like the 2014 Fore Family Vineyards Grenache Blanc with this dish. Priced around $20.00, this lively wine has a balanced composition of melon and apple softened by the use of neural French oak barrels.
Because the Steele Wines 2013 Writers Block Petite Sirah grape is grown in an unusually high and cool elevation, it produces a little leaner taste than most Petite Sirahs. Especially well priced at $17.00, this wine is bright with fruit, deep with color and a perfect pairing for the slight intensity of this recipe.

You don't always have to pay big bucks for good wine. Hopefully, after drinking these selections, you will agree.

Published: December 1, 2016

With so much other shopping to do, should you add shopping for a new home to your list? It's such a busy time of year. Maybe you should simply wait until spring. Or maybe not. Buying a home during the holidays offers several advantages over other times of the year.
Everyone else is at the mall. With other potential home buyers busy with holiday festivities, you'll find you have less competition for your dream home. Plus, sellers have fewer buyers to choose from, meaning you might get a better deal.

Tax gifts from the treasurer. Buying a home at the end of the year may offer tax advantages, so it could be beneficial for you to close before January 1. There are additional factors at play here, such as potential conflicts with other deductions you hope to take, so if this is a key reason for buying now, be sure to talk to your tax professional first.

Holiday sales on interest rates. Often interest rates are lower during the holidays, thanks to a decline in demand during this time. Securing a loan now might save you a bundle in the long run.

Resolutions for a quick close. Finally, for buyers seeking a quick closing, this can be a prime time to shop. Typically, all parties involved in a year-end transaction are motivated to complete the sale before the start of 2017: sellers want to get resettled, and so do buyers, particularly if the kids will be switching schools and need adjustment time.
Published: December 1, 2016

When teenager Chris Coghlan's family life was tragically altered one afternoon, his response was a nearly exclusive focus on practicing his baseball skills. Playing ball allowed him to escape the pain of his loss. In doing so he developed a selfish approach to life. Everything centered on him, he could do whatever he wanted and he pursued his ambition of a career in baseball over anyone and anything else in his life.
When teenager Chris Coghlan's family life was tragically altered one afternoon, his response was a nearly exclusive focus on practicing his baseball skills. Playing ball allowed him to escape the pain of his loss. In doing so he developed a selfish approach to life. Everything centered on him, he could do whatever he wanted and he pursued his ambition of a career in baseball over anyone and anything else in his life. While his baseball dream ultimately came true, the selfish attitude stayed. His teammates noticed, team management noticed, to the point that he developed a noticeable anxiety and nervousness about his prospects. His baseball career hung in the balance.

Yet, in 2009 Chris Coghlan was named National League Rookie of The Year. Today there is a peace that exists and a balanced approach to his life and his game performances. Something changed Chris Coghlan. Something powerful enough to overcome years of living only for himself. Something that could erase pain and its effects. Something that could heal a man so that he can freely pursue a God-given craft without hesitation.

The authentic stories on iamsecond.com provide insight into dealing with typical struggles of everyday living. These are stories that give hope to the lonely and the hurting, help from destructive lifestyles, and inspiration to the unfulfilled. You’ll discover people who’ve tried to go it alone and have failed. Find the hope, peace, and fulfillment they found. Be Second.
Published: January 1, 2017

IBM inventors discuss their passion for inventing and why patents are important to the company's commercial success. The company received a record 5,896 U.S. patents in 2010, marking the 18th consecutive year it has topped the list of the world's most inventive companies.

IBM became the first company to be granted as many as 5,000 U.S. patents in a single year.
Published: December 1, 2016

This year's crop of great tech gifts, gadgets, and gizmos come with amazingly low prices. So, whether you're buying for clients or friends and family (or indulging in a little retail therapy for yourself), consider these convenient, useful, low-cost items.
Video Streamers: At under $50, Google's Chromecast is one of the most affordable video streamers on the market. For just a few dollars more, the Fire TV Stick adds a dedicated remote control so you don't have to use your phone or tablet. The Roku Streaming Stick offers a wider selection of channels.

Audio Streamers: An audio streamer, such as the Chromecast Audio, enables you to beam music from your phone, tablet, or PC to any speaker in your house via Wi-Fi - for under $50. For travelers, consider a small, lightweight, economical Bluetooth audio streamer, such as the modestly priced Logitech X100.

Item Trackers: This year's hottest gift item may be a tiny, thin, lightweight device with a GPS receiver that attaches to keys, cell phones, wallets, bags, or even pet collars. Press a button and your item tracker emits a sound to help you find it. Choose from many brands, including Tile and TrackR Bravo, for less than $50.

For the diehard griller, spend a bit more on the Grillbot Automatic Grill Cleaner. It's similar in feel and function to the Roomba vacuum - no elbow grease required.

There are literally thousands of low-cost tech items to choose from this holiday season, including economical fitness trackers, headphones, tools, accessories, and toys. So, happy shopping!
Published: December 1, 2016

I'm thinking of moving from a big house to a condo. How will life change?
Your environment will be completely different. If you decide to move downtown, you'll find that urban landscapes have their own opportunities for adventure. For example, you'll likely be closer to more arts and entertainment options as well as the local supermarket.

On the other hand, you will lose some physical space. But smaller can be better: no maintenance, plus having everything, including the laundry, on one level can be incredibly convenient. You may be uncomfortable with heights; if so, look only at low-rise condo buildings. You'll probably never get used to living too far away from the ground.

You'll also have close neighbors, and may find you hear them occasionally, but condos can offer good opportunities to meet new people, especially in the common areas such as the pool or library. You'll fit in before you know it.
Published: December 1,  2016

Inactivity may be a sign of intelligence.

According to an article in the U.K.-based Independent newspaper, new research from Florida Gulf Coast University suggests that brainy people tend to spend more time lazing around than their more active, and less brainy, counterparts.
Researchers found that individuals with high IQs generally don't bore as easily, which leads them to spend more time lost in thought. On the flip side, people who are more active tend to get the additional stimulation they need by engaging in activities. The researchers suggested that this need for stimulation may be because these people are avoiding blue-sky thinking or because they get bored faster and easier.

The study consisted of a small participant pool of thirty "thinkers" and thirty "nonthinkers." Both groups wore devices on their wrists that monitored their movements and activity levels for a week. The results: the thinkers were far less active over seven days than their nonthinker counterparts.

But if you find yourself in the lazy-but-smart category, take a moment before you start boasting about your intellectual prowess. The downside of these findings is that even though being lazier may put you in the "thinkers" group, it also may lead to a sedentary lifestyle, and that could be affecting your health in a number of less-than-positive ways.

Although the study's results may seem odd, they could have value, according to theResearch Digest of the British Psychological Society.

"Awareness of their tendency to be less active, coupled with an awareness of the cost associated with inactivity, (means) more thoughtful people may then choose to become more active throughout the day."

Perhaps anecdotal evidence may help here. Apparently, many people say they have good ideas while walking or swimming. It may not be as pleasurable as out-and-out lazing, but for the thinkers in the crowd, it does kill two birds with one stone!
Published: December 1, 2016

When shopping for a new home, it's easy to fall in love. You can find yourself dazzled by the sprawling backyard, trendy kitchen, or sky-high ceilings, and want to make an offer right then and there.
But it's important to take a step back and take the time to evaluate the perhaps less-exciting details. These often overlooked details may ultimately lead to significant, costly issues. Here's what to look for and how to get beyond the WOWs:
  • Windows: Does every window open? For emergency reasons, every room needs a window that can be opened. Do they close and lock securely? Is the glass intact? Is there a tight thermal seal (which is important to regulate temperature)?
  • Flooring: Look for cracks, stains, holes, and warping. Ask if there's another layer of flooring under carpet, tile, or laminate. Is the floor level? If not, it might be an indication of water, or worse, structural problems.
  • Basement: That beautifully finished basement could be hiding a plethora of problems, from leaks to mold to holes to critter infestations. Use a powerful flashlight to carefully examine corners and walls and look behind and under finishings.
  • Roof: Roof replacements are costly. Find out when the roof was last addressed, and whether it was a patch or a replacement. Look for signs of damage from the street.
  • Neighborhood: Look beyond the obvious into the details: Is local traffic a nightmare in rush hour? Is there reliable transit nearby? Is the home near green space, schools, and recreational facilities?
  • Parking: If the house doesn't have a garage, will the driveway accommodate your vehicles? Is there good on-street visitors' parking?
Even after you've checked the details, make your offer contingent on a home inspection. A reliable home inspector can dig deeper into the details. Isn't your peace of mind worth it?

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This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.
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