Easy Summer Refreshments


EasySummerRefreshments

Lemonade pitcher with lemon, mint and ice on garden table. View with copy space
 
It can be tough to stay hydrated in the Texas heat, but we’re here to help. These easy and refreshing drink recipes are perfect for pool parties, relaxing on the patio, or enjoying with some barbecue.

A pitcher of blackberry iced tea and two glasses sit on a wooden table in the garden. Lemon wedges and fresh blackberries are on the side.
 
Blackberry Sweet Tea
 
Ingredients:
*1 pinch of baking soda
*4 cups boiling water
*4 tea bags
*2 1/2 cups cold water
*3 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen/thawed
*1 1/4 cups sugar
*1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
 
Directions:
1. Crush blackberries and sugar together in a large container.
2. Add mint and baking soda; set aside.
3. Drape tea bags over the side of a pitcher; pour boiling water into the pitcher.
4. Steep for 3 minutes; remove and discard tea bags.
5. Combine tea and blackberry mixture; rest for 1 hour.
6. Strain through a mesh sieve.
7. Add cold water and stir.
8. Refrigerate before serving.
 
Orange iced tea in a glass jar with paper straws on a rustic wooden background.
 
Citrus Mint Tea

Ingredients:
*1 cup white sugar
*1 cup water
*4 black tea bags
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
*2 quarts cold water
*1 cup orange juice
* 6 tablespoons lemon juice
 
Directions:
1. Dissolve sugar in boiling water.
2. Add tea bags and mint; steep for 10 minutes.
3. Strain mixture; discard tea bags and wilted mint.
4. Combine tea mixture with cold water, orange juice, and lemon juice.
5. Refrigerate before serving.
 
Lemonade glass jars with lemon wedges and straws sitting on a wood tabletop
 
Classic Lemonade
 
Ingredients:
*6 lemons, enough to make 1 cup of juice
*1 cup white sugar
*6 cups cold water
 
Directions:
1. Juice the lemons via your preferred method of juicing.
2. Stir together lemon juice, sugar, and water.
3. Serve over ice.
 
"Closeup and selective focus on a clear mug of ice tea infused with honey, fresh lemon and mint. A small jar of honey and a plate of sliced lemon and mint sit nearby on a lace tablecloth.More tea and lemonade photos:"
 
Ginger Honey Lemon Iced Tea
 
Ingredients:
*1 4-inch piece of ginger, washed, peeled, and sliced
*1 lemon, juiced and zested
*1/2 cup honey
*6 cups water
*Springs of mint, for garnish
 
Directions:
1. Combine ginger, water, and lemon zest in water; bring to a boil.
2. Steep for 30-45 minutes.
3. Strain through a mesh sieve.
4. Add remaining ingredients.
5. Refrigerate before serving.
 
Two glasses of iced tea with pitcher. Selective focus.

Old Fashioned Sweet Tea

 
Ingredients:
*1 pinch baking soda
*2 cups boiling water
*6 black tea bags
*3/4 cup white sugar
*6 cups cool water
 
Directions:
1. Add baking soda to the bottom of a glass pitcher.
2. Place tea bags over the edge, pour boiling water into the pitcher.
3. Steep for 15 minutes; remove and discard tea bags.
4. Add sugar and cool water to the rest of the mixture.
5. Refrigerate before serving.
 
Fresh Homemade Peach Sweet Tea with Mint
 
Peach Iced Tea
 
Ingredients:
*1 cup sugar
*9 cup hot water
*2 peaches, sliced
*4 black tea bags
 
Directions:
1. Combine, peaches, sugar, and 1 cup of water in a saucepan; bring to a boil until the sugar is dissolved. Crush peaches.
2. Remove from heat; steep for 30 minutes.
3. Brew tea according to directions; remove tea bags and discard.
4. Strain syrup through a mesh sieve.
5. Combine syrup and tea mixture in a large pitcher.
6. Refrigerate before serving.
 
Summer cool drink, juice of watermelon with space for text
 
Rosemary Watermelon Lemonade
 
Ingredients:
*2 cups water
*3/4 cups white sugar
*1 sprig rosemary, stripped and chopped
*2 cups lemon juice
*12 cups watermelon
*8 cups ice cubes
*Springs of rosemary, for garnish
 
Directions:
1. Dissolve sugar in boiling water; add rosemary, steep for 1 hour.
2. Combine watermelon and lemon juice in a blender; blend until smooth.
3. Strain through a mesh sieve.
4. Refrigerate before serving.
 
Asian inspired healthy, cold drinks. Iced chai tea with herbs, lime and mint on the left and iced watermelon juice mocktail on the right, garnished with mint and watermelon wedge, served in cocktail glasses with straws.
 
Watermelon Green Tea
 
Ingredients:
*3 cups green tea
*8 cups watermelon, cubed
*1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
*1/2 cups seltzer
*Springs of mint, for garnish
 
Directions:
1. Combine green tea, watermelon, and lemon juice in a blender; blend until smooth.
2. Strain through a mesh sieve.
3. Refrigerate until cool.
3. Add seltzer 

How to Work With a Professional Organizer


By: Alison Hogdson
 
My friend Jane is one of those peculiar people who gets energy from pulling order out of chaos. She owns and runs a bed-and-breakfast in her home, a hundred-year-old Georgian mansion. Her kitchen is a wonder of organization; even her label maker is labeled. After we completely remodeled our kitchen, I told her I would love her expert help in organizing it, but it was only years later, after my epiphany about decluttering, that we actually made it happen.
 
My kitchen wasn’t even in terrible shape. The counters were clear, there wasn’t a ton of clutter, and I actually had some systems in place, but I knew Jane would help me maximize the space. Eleven hours later, the kitchen was completely reorganized, as was the tiny pantry and small linen closet down the hall as well as my bathroom vanity, because this led to that and that and that.
 
At the end of the day, I was exhausted, but I knew I never wanted to even consider organizing a room without Jane leading the charge. She was a force of nature, but effective. After that we went room by room, every few weeks or so, decluttering and reorganizing until the day my house burned down.
 
Jane and I couldn’t be any different if we tried, but we worked well together for a variety of reasons. Here are the qualities I recommend looking for in a gifted friend or professional organizer.
 

The organizer “gets” you. Jane is a reader and has a huge personal library, so I knew she wouldn’t fight me about my books. Her butler’s pantry is larger than many kitchens and is filled with crystal, glass and china. She loves antiques and understands sentimental attachment to things, so there again I knew she wouldn’t pressure me to get rid of everything, but help me to prioritize and organize.
 
Indefatigable energy. Decluttering is exhausting work, physically and mentally. As I said before, some people get energy from pulling order out of chaos, and this is a nonnegotiable. There will be moments (hours!) when you want to crawl into the fetal position because the job is so overwhelming, but this is just when a naturally organized person is getting fired up and gaining momentum.
 
A sense of humor. This is for all parties involved. If there is ever a time you need to be able to laugh, it’s when you are knee deep in bags and boxes and the end of it all is nowhere in sight.
 
Creativity and flexibility. Jane’s passion is “systems,” which are personal routines that establish and maintain order. We had to find compromises between her suggestions for an ideal world and our day-to-day living as a family with several members not naturally organized — one of whom is me!
 
Basic respect and kindness. To put it delicately, Jane is not a social worker, and her attitude is often, “What is wrong with you?” — which isn’t always helpful. I came into decluttering with a healthy self image; I knew I was bringing many things to the table, but organizing was not one of them. I also knew that Jane cared about me and thought a lot of me in general. Mutual respect overall is imperative.
 

Just as important as finding a good fit with a friend or professional is making sure you’re ready. Ask yourself a couple of questions:
 
Am I willing to try something new? If you meet every suggestion with, “That won’t work,” you aren’t going to benefit from the other person’s wisdom. You may think you’re being practical, but it’s really a form of defensiveness. “Try it on,” as the life coaches say. Before you reject a new way of doing something, try to imagine how it could work and then refine it for you and your family if necessary.
 
Am I willing to get rid of a lot of stuff? Of course there are exceptions to this; you know who you are, and please carry on. But by and large, most of us have too much junk. It doesn’t matter how much you paid for it or how priceless it is, sentimentally speaking. If it’s covered with dust and stacked in a pile — and you are overwhelmed — you need to get rid of it or a lot of other things to create adequate space.
 
If you can’t emphatically answer yes to both these questions, it’s a sign you aren’t quite ready to get outside help. It is what it is; just don’t expect someone to help you rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic. It’s OK to be nervous and not quite sure you’re going to be able to get it all done. That’s normal. Recognizing you need help and being willing to ask for it is an enormous step.
 
In the beginning it may be stressful. You’ll be making a lot of decisions and may be feeling ashamed of the condition of things. This should pass. As you gain momentum you should feel hopeful, more confident and even excited. If the tension is only increasing, this is a sign that the person helping you isn’t a good fit or, again, you just aren’t ready yet.
 

Special tip: if you can possibly avoid it, pick a helper other than a person to whom you gave birth or who gave birth to you. The dynamic between parent and child when one is neat and organized and one is … not can be very trying.
 
Hire a professional or call on a friend and, unless it’s a dire emergency, leave your parents or your children out of it, other than to put dibs on family heirlooms.
 
Related Links:
Organize the Clutter With New Storage Cabinets

Don’t Forget to Clear the Pantry
Get Started With Professional Organizers Today

Nwachukwu Named Sales Manager of Ebby’s Irving/Las Colinas/Coppell Office


Kim Nwachukwu Named Sales Manager of Ebby’s Irving/Las Colinas/Coppell Office

 

Ebby Halliday Realtors has appointed Kim Nwachukwu sales manager of its Irving/Las Colinas/Coppell Office. Mary Frances Burleson, president and chief executive officer of the Ebby Halliday Companies, made the announcement.
 
“Kim brings with her a deep understanding of all aspects of real estate, and will be a great leader for our team of agents in the Irving/Las Colinas/Coppell Office,” Burleson says. “She is focused on helping agents take their careers to the next level, and understands the importance of education, marketing, and exemplary service to clients.”
 
Nwachukwu will report to Betty Misko, executive vice president and director of sales offices for the Ebby Halliday Companies.
 
“Kim joined Ebby in 2004 as an agent because of the company’s distinguished reputation,” Misko says. “She knew Ebby offered exceptional training opportunities and a place to grow professionally. Kim has certainly done that, and I’m confident her leadership skills will benefit our Irving/Las Colinas/Coppell Office in countless ways.”

 

A native Texan, Nwachukwu has been a resident of North Texas for 26 years. She has spent her entire residential real estate career in Ebby’s Irving office.

 

“I am passionate about properly managed real estate transactions – from inception to closing,” Nwachukwu says. “I have a knack for anticipating where things may go wrong in transactions, and I look forward to assisting our agents to ensure smooth sales experiences for our valued clients.”

 

A motivated, natural leader who holds the Graduate, REALTOR® Institute designation, Nwachukwu is respected for her professional insight and focus on community. She is dedicated to supporting Ebby’s Irving/Las Colinas/Coppell agents by providing positive leadership and personal mentoring.

 

“I like to listen,” Nwachukwu says. “I want to hear what people have to say. Listening provides invaluable insight into how to best serve our agents and valued clients.”
 
Nwachukwu is passionate about her community, neighborhood and neighbors, and enjoys reading, art and American Kenpo Karate. She lives in Las Colinas with her family.
 
“I am thrilled to be the new manager of Ebby’s Irving/Las Colinas/Coppell Office,” Nwachukwu says. “We have a strong roster of agents, and it is our privilege to serve our wonderful community.”
 
For more information on Ebby’s Irving/Las Colinas/Coppell Office, visit irving-lascolinas.ebby.com.

Fresh Listing Friday: Modern Simplicity


Fresh Listing Friday 960

Happy Friday y’all! This week’s Fresh Listing Friday is modern home in Dallas’ sought-after Urban Reserve community, adjacent to White Rock Creek Trail. Cantilevered over a cliff, 33 Vanguard Way offers natural lighting, a quiet study and a kitchen with an abundance of storage. Take a virtual tour below to see all the beautiful upgrades throughout.

Need-to-know Details:

• Priced at $710,000
• 2,009 square feet: 3 bedrooms, 2.1 baths
• 1.5 stories
• Master suite downstairs
• A glass wall the length of the house separating the garden and living spaces
• A guest suite on the second floor


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To view this listing, contact Hector Sanchez at 469-955-0255 or HectorSanchez@Ebby.com

Luxury Uptown Living: The Residences at the Stoneleigh


 

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Situated in the heart of Uptown Dallas, the Residences at the Stoneleigh offers the best of luxury living.
 

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Photo courtesy of Paula Bosse, FlashbackDallas.com.

Originally known as the Stoneleigh Court Apartment Hotel, the building first opened in 1923 on the corner of Maple Avenue and Wolf Street and has been a luxury landmark ever since, according to FlashbackDallas.com.
 
Today, the Residences at the Stoneleigh are adjacent to the hotel and offer the same, luxurious high-rise living with five-star amenities.
 
The website describes the decor as a blend of “19th-century French, Greek and Modernist touches” with a “Hollywood Glamour meets Art Deco” feel. Think: a chic blend of colors and patterns that create an air of elegance and sophistication.
 
Reaching an inspiring 22 stories, the properties offer customizable floor plans, spacious balconies, and panoramic skyline views.
 
Amenities include private elevators, covered balconies, and 24-hour concierge, valet parking, a banquet room with a full kitchen and bar, a 20-seat media room, a heated pool with a spa, an outdoor living area with a fireplace, a dog park, conference rooms and a fitness center with steam rooms.
 
“Our Ebby team is thrilled to be associated with this magnificent property,” said Ebby agent Linda Jordan Hobbs. “The most discerning buyers will appreciate the five-star amenities and gorgeous, quality finishes at Residences at the Stoneleigh. A true gem in the heart of Dallas.”
 
Need more convincing? Take a look below at all the beautiful photos. Unit 12D is shown.
 
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For more information on the available units at the Residences at the Stoneleigh, contact the members of Ebby’s Stoneleigh team:
 
Linda Jordan Hobbs: 214-535-3732 or LindaJordanHobbs@Ebby.com
Stacey Beckham Lake: 214-908-2477 or StaceyLake@Ebby.com
Joe Gall: 214-957-5383 or JoeGall@Ebby.com
Susan Gamso: 214-906-0355 or SusanGamso@Ebby.com

 

7 Must-See Open Houses This Weekend


Must-See-Open-Houses2

If you’re looking for a home in North Texas, you’ve come to the right place! Even if you’re not, these properties are all open to visitors this weekend and may serve as the perfect inspiration for your next home search.

 

4430 TAOS ROAD_OpenHouse4430 Taos Road | Dallas – Bluffview Estates | $3,289,00011133 EASTVIEW CIRCLE_OpenHouse11133 Eastview Circle | North Dallas | $2,695,00031 WINDSOR RIDGE_OpenHouse31 Windsor Ridge | Frisco | $959,0002811 HOOD STREET G_OpenHouse2811 Hood Street G | Dallas – Turtle Creek | $569,00010010 HARWICH DRIVE_OpenHouse10010 Harwich Drive | Dallas – University Park | $529,000 4104 VISTAVIEW COURT_OpenHouse4104 Vistaview Court | Arlington | $525,0002611 LEXINGTON PLACE_OpenHouse2611 Lexington Place | McKinney – Village Creek | $515,000

 

To see all the wonderful homes open this weekend, visit EbbyOpenHouses.com

Garrison Named Sales Manager of Ebby’s Flower Mound/Lewisville Office


Becky Garrison Named Manager of Flower Mound/Lewisville Office

 

Ebby Halliday Realtors has appointed Becky Garrison sales manager of its Flower Mound/Lewisville Office. Mary Frances Burleson, president and chief executive officer of the Ebby Halliday Companies, made the announcement.

 
“Becky brings extensive customer service and sales experience, and will be a great mentor to our agents in the Flower Mound/Lewisville Office,” Burleson says. “A two-time recipient of the Greater Lewisville Association of Realtors’ Realtor of the Year Award, Becky offers a long history of distinguished service to our industry and community.”

 
Says Betty Misko, executive vice president and director of sales offices for the Ebby Halliday Companies, “I am confident Becky’s background in interior design and real estate will serve her well in our Flower Mound/Lewisville Office. She has an innate understanding of how to prepare homes for sale, and her high energy and engaging personality make her wonderful with both agents and clients.”

 

A longtime resident of North Texas, Garrison has been in real estate since 2005. Having an additional 10 years of design experience with architectural and engineering firms further amplifies her ability to understand clients’ needs and the importance of professionalism.

 
“I am looking forward to empowering our Flower Mound/Lewisville agents to be the best they can be,” Garrison says. “I have always enjoyed mentoring and collaborating with people.”

 

An enthusiastic, personable leader who holds professional designations as a Certified Negotiation Expert, a Seniors Real Estate Specialist, a Certified Military Residential Specialist, and a Residential Finance Consultant, Garrison is widely admired for her positive attitude and continued interest in learning. She is dedicated to supporting the office’s agents by providing professional development, the cutting-edge tools Ebby is known for, and one-on-one coaching.

 

Garrison is actively involved in the community, including being a Boy Scout Merit Badge Counselor and serving on several boards as a director. In her spare time, she enjoys motorcycle rides with her husband, leading her book club, yoga, gardening, live music and dancing.

 
“I’m excited about the challenge this new position as sales manager of Ebby’s Flower Mound/Lewisville Office brings,” Garrison says. “We are a close-knit group where agents of all experience levels help each other. We strive to be the most educated and professionally prepared agents for our clients. We are proud to be Ebby agents.”

 
For more information on Ebby’s Flower Mound/Lewisville Office, visit flowermound.ebby.com.

Make a Splash: 8 Summertime Accessories


Enjoy time poolside with these eight items perfect for summertime.

 

final graphic1. Outdoor Printed Medallion Ikat Pillow $79.00
This plush pillow features a trendy medallion ikat motif and is made from weather-resistant spun polyester. It’s fast-drying and perfect to have poolside.

2. Stainless-Steel and Glass Lantern$34.99
This stainless-steel lantern is a perfect accent for any outdoor décor. Use it as a centerpiece on your table, and consider adding citronella pillar candles inside to ward off pesky bugs.

3. Embossed Acrylic Glasses, 16 oz. (set of 4)$49.00

This acrylic drink ware is unbreakable and perfect for any poolside day. The elegant pastel blue is the perfect complement to any summer décor.

4. Inflatable Flip Flop Pool Float $18.99
Enjoy lazy pool days floating on this playful flip flop pool float. Made of heavy-duty vinyl, this float provides a durable headrest and even a cupholder. It will surely stand out at your next pool party.

5. Straw Sun Hat$198.00
Protect yourself from the sun’s harsh rays and sit outside comfortably with this elegant and stylish lightweight sun hat.

6. Insulated-Steel Cooler, 54 qt. $159.95
Keep your food and beverages cold in style with this sleek blue cooler. Made from durable, insulated steel, this cooler features an exterior bottle opener, battery-operated lid light, rubber-gripped handles, a leak-resistant drain, and a solid steel latch.

7. Wireless Waterproof Speaker – $89.99
Enjoy music, podcasts, or audiobooks while you relax poolside with this outdoor-friendly waterproof speaker. It features a 40-hour battery life and includes Siri, a speakerphone, and Google Now.

8. Waterproof Playing Cards$8.99
These waterproof playing cards are perfect for summer fun in any outdoor space. Take them camping, to the pool, or beach for countless hours of entertainment. They’re washable, flexible, and easy to shuffle.

 

 

 

North Texas Cities Top First-Time Buyers List


 

North Texas Cities Top First-Time Buyers List

 

 

Four Dallas suburbs have been ranked as some of the best places in the country for first-time homebuyers, according to a new report by WalletHub.com.

 

The fast-growing cities of McKinney, Frisco and Allen were 1-2-3 at the top of the list of best markets for first-time buyers, according to the study.

 

Richardson ranked seventh on the same list.

 

WalletHub scored 300 U.S. cities for entry-level home buying using factors including affordability, strength of the overall real estate market and quality of life.

 

The Dallas-area cities shared the top 10 with the likes of Cary, N.C.; Norman, Okla., and Lincoln, Neb.

 

North Texas has one of the hottest housing markets in the country, with record home sales and the highest volume of new home starts in the country.

 

But prices have also hit an all-time high, making it more challenging for first-time buyers.

 

Compared to pricey East and West Coast markets, D-FW cities are still a bargain.

 

The Top 10 Best Places for First-Time Buyers, according to WalletHub:

 

* McKinney

* Frisco

* Allen

* Cary, N.C.

* Norman, Okla.

* Lincoln, Neb.

* Richardson

* Boise, Idaho

* Thornton, Colo.

* Murfreesboro, Tenn.

 

As is often the case with these types of lists, Ebby Halliday Realtors has an office in each of the North Texas cities on the list: Ebby McKinney, Ebby 190 – Richardson, Ebby Frisco and Ebby Allen. If you’re considering buying or selling a home in North Texas – regardless of the town or city –  you can find just the right agent for your residential real estate needs at the award-winning, mobile-friendly ebby.com.

 

PHOTO: The five-bedroom home at 714 Parker St. in McKinney is listed by the Judy Gay Group for $729,000.

Fix These 5 Things to Sell Your Home Faster


By: Kristie Barnett 
 
No one wants to spend money on the home they are getting ready to sell, but it can be crucial if you want to sell the house quickly and for the price you want. Beyond basic decluttering and cleaning, there are areas where some money may need to be spent. While there are some areas that aren’t necessary to spend money on, you may need to expend a little cash in order to get your property sold.
 

1. Paint
 
Painting the walls in update neutrals and on-trend colors will set your home apart and help home buyers remember each room. Open areas should all be painted the same color — maybe a light griege or muted-down color. You’ll want to skip the dark or intense colors in these areas.
 

Master and guest bedrooms are best painted in muted but distinct colors. Muted versions of blues, greens and yellows are good bets.
 

This lovely guest room painted by Warline Painting in Benjamin Moore’s Georgian Green will be remembered over a similar one painted Builder Beige.
 
2. Make Necessary Repairs
 
Go ahead and complete any repair work that you have left unfinished. Not only will the buyer’s home inspector find those issues anyway, but you are hindering offers if there are obvious repairs that need to be made.
 
Unfinished repairs or projects reflect badly on the overall maintenance of the home and send up a red flag to would-be buyers. Nothing will make a buyer pull out of a deal and run for the hills faster than a home inspection report riddled with needed repairs and safety concerns.
 

3. Replace Old Carpet
 
If you have old or stained carpet, you should consider replacing it before putting it on the market. Often a professional cleaning is enough to get it ready to show, but sometimes that just won’t do the trick. Stained or dated carpet is a huge turnoff to potential buyers, especially if you have pets. Even pet lovers are not interested in buying a home with carpet stained by other peoples’ pets.
 
And before you even mention it, “carpet allowances” really don’t work well anymore. Mortgage companies are increasingly reluctant to allow a contract with repair and update allowances. Besides that, most people don’t have the luxury to stay a few extra weeks in their previous home after the closing date while new carpet is being installed. Fresh, new carpet is even more crucial when selling an empty property, since that is all buyers will see in an empty room.
 

Same thing goes for vinyl flooring — you’re going to have a hard time selling if it’s old, torn or stained. Replace it with a clean, neutral vinyl or vinyl composite tile (VCT).
 

4. Install Solid-Surface Countertops
 
You’ve probably heard that kitchens and baths sell houses. If you are interested in getting your house sold quickly, replacing laminate countertops in the kitchen will help make that happen. We can argue the particulars, but solid-surface, natural stone or quartz countertops will help sell your home.
 
When a property is above the $350,000 range, I highly recommend the upgrade. If it’s below that, there is absolutely nothing that will sell a home faster and for more money. Buyers on the lower end will value them and will always choose a home with solid-surface countertops over other homes in their price range that don’t have them.
 

5. Find a Stager
Investing a few hundred dollars with a really good home stager can help you make tens of thousands when selling your home. Not all stagers are created equal. Do your homework and find a stager with a good track record and a great portfolio so you can see the work before investing in a consultation.
 
Spread out the cost — and enjoy some fixes yourself. If you are considering moving within the next couple of years, don’t wait until the last minute to improve your home to make it more marketable. Do a little at a time so that you can spread out the cost. Why not enjoy the improvements yourself before your house goes on the market?
 
Related Links:
Greet Potential Buyers With a Welcoming Doormat
New Neutral Colors to Use in Your Home
How to Arrange Your Living Room Furniture to Sell Your Home