One Brick At A Time: February 2017
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Where Members Buy, Sell, and Rent Properties
Yellow Brick Road
February 2017
One Brick At A Time®
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The fan advocates for next month are fans of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons and the USF Bulls. Be sure to check who are the fan advocates in waiting. Do you know them?
Each month a member has the opportunity to be our monthly fan advocate. The fan advocate then selects someone from a not previously selected university to be the next meal advocate. Call (630) 283-6219 or email to recommend a fan advocate.

Ohio State University Fan
Avery Fox

Advocate: Avery Fox  
Fan: Duke Blue Devils
Duke University Fan
Avery Fox

Advocate: Dave Long   
Fan: Nebraska Cornhuskers
Nebraska Fan
Dave Long

Frank Neuener

Advocate: John Mike Ellis  
Fan: USC Trojans
John Ellis

Advocate: John Torzsa  
Fan: Connecticut Huskies
Connecticutt Fan
John Torzsa

Advocate: Todd James 
Fan: Florida State Seminoles
Florida State Fan
Todd James

Published: February 2017
Recipe by: Blue Apron
University of Colorado Fan
David and Lisa Brown
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 to recommend a meal advocate for your favorite team.

Serves 2
Calories: About 580 Per Serving

Tonight’s dish combines juicy shrimp with a beloved Korean ingredient: “tteok,” or rice cakes, known for their signature chewy texture. To make the most of their unique consistency, we’re cooking the rice cakes in two steps. First, a few minutes undisturbed in the pan creates an irresistibly crispy surface. Next, we’re adding a bit of water to help soften them and bring out that delicious chewiness. Wrapped in a flavorful black bean, chile pepper and soy sauce, it makes for a warm and comforting meal on a cold night.

Tip of the month
Published: February 2017

Northwestern Wildcat Fan
Stephanie Ferro
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 to recommend a wine advocate for your favorite team.

Steph Ferro, soon to earn her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, Northwestern University Wildcats

It is quite chilly here in Evanston, Illinois on the North Shore of Lake Michigan, and this shrimp recipe offers a slightly spicy taste which is perfect for a cold night. Some of the ingredients (soy, cabbage and Sambal) presented a challenge in pairing the wines. With input from Janessa Schuster (Tampa Bay Sommelier extraordinaire) I am excited to offer the following red and white "old world" recommendations.

2007/2014 Berncasteler Doctor Riesling Spatlese
I enjoy a great white wine and the 2007 Berncasteler Doctor Riesling Spatlese would be just perfect for a very special evening. BUT, priced above $45.00 a bottle, I propose the 2014, costing around $16.00, is an excellent year indeed. With almost a never-ending finish, this wine possesses highly sophisticated minerality and an aroma of peach and gooseberry. As the beautiful winery gates pictured above suggest, I believe you will find this wine an elegant choice.
Published: February 1, 2017

In a hot market, selling your home may be easy. Selling it for top dollar takes a little more work. To achieve this, staging is the way to go. This is the process of beautifying your home to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible.
Many people can't visualize the possibilities within a room, so staging helps the buyers as they view your home. The goal of staging is to transform your home into an environment so inviting that buyers can imagine themselves living in your space.

Creating this buyer-ready environment takes talent, and it can be a critical step for a fast sale.

What does a stager do?

A good stager improves the interior and sharpens curb appeal as well. Today, most buyers see pictures online before choosing which homes to tour. Staging ensures that yours is seen in the best possible light. It makes your listing stand out from the competition.

While some people actually replace all the furniture, smart staging may mean anything from stripping your home of personal photographs and knick-knacks to cleaning the rugs or polishing floors. You may need to deep-clean bathrooms or clear kitchen counters. The stager may suggest painting everything a warm and inviting - but always neutral - color.

How much does staging cost?

The cost of staging ranges from a few hundred to many thousands of dollars, depending on the reputation of the stager, the size of the property, and the quality and quantity of fixes required. The final results can be well worth the investment. If you live in a neighborhood where several homes are listed, staging may mean a quicker sale at a better price.

Can I stage my home myself?

Of course, you can try to stage your home yourself, but it's hard to be objective about your own things. A fresh pair of eyes can make all the difference - which translates into dollars. 
Published: February 1, 2017

Kirsten Haglund won the Miss America 2008 pageant in stunning fashion. She wasn't the favorite to win in it. In fact, the national competition was only her third ever pageant. She became a relative unknown to one of the most recognizable faces in the country in a matter of seconds.
But years before she became a world figure, she was waging a secret battle. A battle with herself.

"My life imploded."

After falling in love with ballet at a young age, she found herself at a competitive dance school. There, she realized she didn't look like everyone else. That started a years-long battle with body image and food.

"The lie of anorexia said to me, 'If you just stick with me, I'll give you everything you want.'"

Eventually she was put into treatment for anorexia. But it wasn't until an accident on a treadmill that she realized there was so much more to life than an unhealthy obsession with food.

"I wanted to feel. I wanted to be a real person again."
History/Technology: IBM Watson Health
Published: February 1, 2017

IBM and its partners are building solutions that will allow individual patients and larger health populations to benefit as providers share and apply insights in real-time. In this video, learn how the IBM Watson Health Cloud can help an avid runner with a heart condition continue to live an active life. This scenario describes the future of health and where things are going, not necessarily what you’d get when you walk into a doctor’s office today.

Published: February 1, 2017

Did you know February isn't chocolate's biggest month for sales? Close to 90 million pounds are purchased the week before Halloween. That's nearly double the 48 million pounds sold during the week of February 14.
If you plan to be part of that 48 million, you can further impress your sweetheart with the following knowledge about your Valentine's Day gift. The alluring treat has a history both dark and sweet:
  • The Latin name for cacao trees means "food of the gods.
  • The word chocolate comes from a Mayan term that means "bitter water.
  • Mayans used it in baptisms and marriages.
  • Mayans also sacrificed children to ensure a good cacao crop.
  • Between 40 and 50 million people are involved in cocoa farming and production.
  • The Industrial Revolution made chocolate available to the masses.
  • Chocolate drinks can boost energy more than sports drinks.
  • Dark chocolate's benefits include increasing memory and attention span.
  • The "buzz" from eating chocolate can outlast the highs produced by kissing.
  • To get the benefits of dark chocolate, make sure the top ingredient isn't sugar.

Published: February 1, 2017

How can I balance needs versus wants as I home-shop?
Here's the trick to buying your best house: know what you need. Really, you only need a solid roof, good floors and walls, plumbing, heating, and lighting. Everything else is preference.

Imagine your dream home. Review each item that makes it ideal. Ask which items you could live without and which ones you would pay extra to have. Embrace delayed gratification. Items you want are often those you can add later. You can change features such as light fixtures, countertops and paint. Answering these questions can help you determine budgets for the home purchase and future renovations.

Make a list. Think about a home's different features: bedrooms, bathrooms, lighting, landscaping. List characteristics of each. Determine which ones you need to have, would like to have and don't want. This will help you avoid looking at homes you know don't interest you.
Published: February 1,  2017

Roses don't just smell sweet; their colors also communicate messages. Most people know the basics. Red means love. White means purity. Yellow means friendship.
However, those meanings change depending on the flowers. A red carnation means flashy. A red chrysanthemum means sharing. Yellow carnations stand for cheerfulness, but secret admirers should send yellow chrysanthemums. Red tulips may declare love, but yellow ones show the sender is hopelessly in love.

It takes more than the proper petal hue to send the best message. Different flowers have their own meanings. Gardenias express joy. Jasmine stands for grace and elegance. Ivy expresses fidelity. Use lilacs for your first love. Be cautious about sending orange blossoms; they stand for fertility.

Keep in mind: bouquets aren't just for romantic lovers. Zinnias, for example, express thoughts of friends.
Published: February 1, 2017

Despite the prevalence of online tools that can facilitate DIY sales, fewer Americans are choosing to go the route of "for sale by owner" when it comes to selling their homes.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), for-sale-by-owner sales represented only 8 percent of 5.25 million real estate transactions in 2015. Why? An economy in recovery, a challenging real estate market, and strict laws and regulations could all have Americans looking for security and peace of mind when it comes to selling their homes.

The for-sale-by-owner approach does have perks. Private sellers can set their own price. They deal with the buyer directly. At the end, they keep the proceeds instead of paying a commission to a Realtor. However, those very same perks have significant drawbacks.

Setting your own price means missing out on the expertise that a real estate agent has when it comes to pricing a home to sell and encouraging multiple bids. You don't have the know-how that comes with dozens of successful sales. It's easier for buyers (and their agents) to undercut private sellers, and it's difficult for sellers to remain neutral about their own property.

Private sellers also miss out on the strategies and industry knowledge provided by an experienced agent. A real estate agent knows how to market a home properly, how to work with other agents, and how to fulfill the obligations and respect the laws of the real estate industry. It's very easy for private sellers to misstep, costing themselves time and money. As a seller, you want every advantage available. That means having an agent by your side.

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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. Logo