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Nov. 7, 2018

Art for Kids Under $10

Enlightening our kids about art is a wonderful thing. We try to engage their creative little brains into becoming well rounded and well introduced to color, smudge and goo... I tried it all in the house. Buckets of sand on the kitchen floor on a too hot day, snow in a Tupperware container to make snowmen in the un-freezing house or even easels. Yes, I bought easels and put drop clothes down. What a mess. All to show my kids what it's like to just "be" and open their thoughts to the imagination of art. It doesn't matter what it looks like. It doesn't matter know one knows what you just drew or built. It's all in the action...

Forget it!

Here are some places to get the kids to another place and leave the mess to them!


Art Space Studio

14126 River Gate Pkwy. Charlotte 

Clay, blown glass, mom and me, walk in's and all around art fun. Ages 2 and up, reading and painting. Something for all ages. While their prices vary, there is one special date in December that for $8 read a story and paint an ornament. (Yes, I just talked about Christmas in mid November). Go online and register! (Also a coupon on Yelp! right now if you use their app.

Noahs Art

5110 Park Rd. Suite 2E, Charlotte (Park Selwyn Terrace) 

Toddler Tuesdays is a great time to introduce yourself to this studio. The friendly welcoming staff has a new adventure for your toddler that will keep your child's attention and be the perfect play-date outing. Various classes, drop offs and special events (like parents night out!!) makes this place one to check out. If you don't live close, drive there. Make it a full day and have fun!

Cabarrus Arts Council

65 Union Street South, Concord

So much going on at the Cabarrus Arts Council, but do not miss the I-Spy-Artwork scavenger hunt. Clay is the exhibit right now and there are two levels of difficulty for all ages to examine artwork in a fun and challenging way. Two ways to win; one is to find everything on the list and another is to find the most in a single painting. While this isn't a messy art project, its so fun to engage the mind at this wonderful place.  


8716 JW Clay Blvd. University Place, Charlotte

Don't forget about Michaels. Actually every class here is $5 and under and all ages. lot's of locations, put your zip in and find the calendar of events. Staff is super nice and the rooms are big and bright to spread out and have fun.  

Artsy Studio

3635 Mt. Holly Huntersville Rd, Charlotte

You can try a free kids class..FREE kids class, yes! Many choices like "Mini-Michelangelo", drawing for kids, and arts and crafts all priced between $5-$10. All of these are drop in sessions. Check out the site. Some classes are just for 1.5-3 years olds, other 3+ etc.  

Cornelius Arts Center

2144 Catawba Ave, Cornelius

If you haven't been here, you must! Drop in for mixed media arts projects. Drop off kids 5+! Great free activities and one-two hours for only $5. A whole host of different classes for all ages and even you!



Tell me your thoughts on any of these places and tell us more ideas. Never too many artsy places to try!

Posted in Community, Fun Times, Kiddos
Nov. 5, 2018

5 Don't Miss Sandwiches In Lake Norman

I am probably a 100% like Joey on Friends, "ummmm Sandwich" is a staple comment from me. I will put anything in between two pieces of bread. I mean anything. Now the bread needs to be a bit special - no Wonder bread here but what ever is slipped in and stacked and layered and smudged on, I'll eat it and try it. I am not sure I could live without a sandwich. And every-time I start a no carb kinda eating plan, I get depressed. No sandwich. But I end up finding a way to make sure once a week I get my sammy on. I'd like to declare every day sandwich day, but my family won't have it.

Here are five that I would eat any day of the week or any time of the day, Breakfast Lunch or Dinner. Try them!  


Great Harvest Bread

19901 S Main St.,Cornelius

I mentioned how the bread on a sandwich needs to be a bit special. This place will do that! Their smoked turkey with peppers lettuce and cheese wasn't around long enough for me to remember eating it. So I've been back a few times. Locations in Charlotte too with this one in Cornelius most recent opening and very excited to have them. Make sure you bring some bread home with you to make your own.


Clean Eatz

17711 Kenton Drive,Cornelius

Not just for meal planning but go into the cafe and get the Grilled Goat Cheese sandwich with squash, tomato and homemade spinach remoulade. No meat you say, doesn't matter. This combo on oat bread makes my mouth water before I get there to order. Lot's of locations but the one in Lake Norman just hit their 1 year anniversary! Yippeee. 


Viva Chicken

9121 Sam Furr Road, Huntersville

WoW Lomito on ciabatta bread is tasty. Sirlon with tomato, onions and their rocoto mayo is super filling.  Just walking into Viva overwhelms with delicious smells and makes it hard to order. But trust me the spices and just right cooked sirlon is a nice change from the chicken.   



10308 Bailey Road, Unit 427, Cornelius

Their perfect tag line..."a plant based twist on a southern tradition" says it all. We all love our barbeque and can have throw down arguments on which place is the best. But when you are vegan, it doesn't get better then this. Barvecue is sold in stores across the Carolinas, however ordering a freshie from their Cornelius location is simple. Use their Order Now Chow Now online system and go pick it up. Delish .  

The Egg Cafe

9525 Birkdale Crossing, Huntersville

This second location from their original in Davidson allowed my hubs to try their Stuffin Muffin. It's just an egg you say, it's just a muffin, ham, cheese...Noooo. It's the perfect breakfast sandwich in all its basic glory. Sure they have more then just eggs here...but this one is worth waiting for. 


Tell me your thoughts on any of these sandwiches and tell us more ideas. Never too many sandwiches to try!


If you want to try your hand at making your own Peruvian Chicken...


Little extra, quick drive around Cornelius. Peaceful.


Posted in Community, Foodie
Nov. 2, 2018

5 Driving Destinations Within 2 Hours of Charlotte

We all get it, the weather has changed. We all get it, Football is on. But you can do both. Drive to a new place to get outside, watch the game and eat some good food - all very close to our wonderful Queen City. Some of these places you have been to, while most you keep saying you will go. The goal is to just get out and take a few hours away from home, away from the tube and together with the ones you want to be with. And if you have to leave someone behind because they can't break away from the game...try it first with a friend or other family member. Then you can go back to show them what they missed. 

Here are just a few ideas to get you on the road and getting out (before we complain it's too cold)...

1) Belmont, NC

Nestled in between Lake Wylie and the Catawba River, you’ll wonder why you have only driven through this town. Tired of Beer? Try Muddy River Distillery and get your RUM ON! Of course, you can also relax at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens – which changes all the time so if you’ve been there, go again and see the beauty with their upcoming Fairy Fest and of course the lights during the holiday season. 

*photo courtesy of Muddy River website

2) Gold Hill, NC

Gold Hill close to Cabarrus County, is rich in history and Gold Mines! Head to Gold Hill Mines Historic Park, reportedly the richest mining properties East of the Mississippi and home of the first Gold Rush. Swing by Sacred Grove Retreat Center to pick up a brochure and learn about your next weekend overnight stay which could be for meditation, yoga and girls get-aways.

3) Lexington, NC

Have you ever been here? Home of Childress Winery where their “Fine Swine Wine” Checker Pig was developed for the 2018 Barbecue Festival. Don’t let that fool you, there are more wines then just for BBQ… However speaking of BBQ, you haven’t seen so many places to try then in Lexington. Check out their BBQ Tour that can be one afternoon or 3 full days of BBQ tasting – you choose! TOUR

*photo courtesy of Childress Winery website

4) Mooresville, NC

Also known as RaceCityUSA, Mooresville is at the Northern top of Lake Norman with a place that offers a new driving experience for the whole family, GoPro Motorplex is not to be missed. Drive into gear and get a thrill, then stop off at Queens Landing for some good eats and lake views. Plenty more to do in this great town both old and new things to see.   

5) Salisbury, NC

Historic Salisbury has allot to offer in ways of shopping and site seeing. And yes, this is the birthplace of CheerwineThe original Cheerwine building is on 300 East Council Street and great for a photo opp.  Also, The North Carolina Transportation Museum is out that way. You don't have to be Thomas the Tank Engine fan to enjoy these old relics and a nice ride. For more on Salisbury, visit their page and plan your trip.


Billy Barnes tells the story of this popular Salisbury-based soft drink. Produced by Our State magazine and UNC-TV, with generous support from BB&T. Segment originally aired on 4/1/10.

Posted in Community, Fun Times
Oct. 23, 2018

Best Coffee Shops

 I had been drinking cold coffee lately. Just take the left overs in the pot, throw in some creamer and whaaala...But then I started reading about how there is actually a city’s craft coffee scene in Charlotte that is growing.  

Let’s embark on a caffeinated tour of the best coffee shops in the Charlotte area, whether you prefer your coffee black or mixed with exotic flavors like lavender, rosemary and the like. There is something here for you. Well to my husband, I didn't find bacon coffee; maybe next time I research this topic...hehehehe

Enderly Coffee Co.

2620 Tuckaseegee Road

Enderly Coffee Co. is the result of the love story between former teachers Becky and Tony Santoro, who fell in love over coffee and relied on it to get them through their years as teachers and raising their daughters. We have seen their coffee beans all over the city since 2012, but the Enderly team finally has their own brick-and-mortar location! The shop opened in the Enderly Park neighborhood (their namesake!) in summer 2018.


Undercurrent Coffee

2012 Commonwealth Avenue

Undercurrent Coffee Charlotte, NCPhoto Courtesy of Elli McGuire Photography via Undercurrent Coffee

The gorgeous space at this new shop in Plaza Midwood is equally as inspired as the drinks on the menu. You are invited to sit and relax, meet and discuss, taste and explore at Undercurrent Coffee. Select from an array of unique and exceptional coffees, primarily roasted in the Ozarks by Onyx Coffee Lab. Or sip on a comforting cup of tea, curated by SPIRIT Tea, complemented by a pastry baked from scratch. Undercurrent offers a complete food menu, focused on seasonal and local ingredients, including breakfast bowls, toast, salads and desserts.


Basal Coffee

1429 Bryant Street

Everything in Basal Coffee looks like a work of art — from the minimalist decor to the handcrafted drinks and food — which makes sense since the shop is adjacent to a contemporary art gallery, LaCa Projects. Basal seeks to create a space for connection through conversations, coffee and food, bringing a variety of cultures together under one roof. The coffee menu at Basal is simple, featuring a number of espresso-based drinks, cold brew, teas, pour overs and specialty drinks. Complement your drink of choice with a food item, whether you prefer a fancy toast, healthy granola or a hearty waffle.


Coco and the Director

100 West Trade Street

Coco and the Director Charlotte, NC

Photo Courtesy of Michael Tulipan via Coco and the Director

This neighborhood coffee house and retail shop in Charlotte is certainly a unique place — and you’ll know that as soon as you walk through the door. The soaring ceilings, funky furniture and tiered seating complete with a communal table make this coffee-shop-meets-co-working-space an exciting place to be. Located in the heart of downtown, Coco and the Director is a convenient place to get a few hours of work done or host a meeting. Plus, they regularly host events, such as readings, film screenings, concerts and workshops.


Trade and Lore Coffee

3306 North Davidson Street

Nestled in the heart of the artsy NoDa neighborhood, Trade and Lore Coffee is a gorgeous specialty coffee shop serving coffee drinks, tea, beer and wine. Relax in the cozy corner lined with a cushioned bench or at any of the tables dotting the spacious interior — enjoying your caffeinated or alcoholic drink all the while. The primary roaster at Trade and Lore is Mountain Air Roasting, a roaster in Asheville, home to the other Trade and Lore location.


Not Just Coffee

224 East 7th Street2000 South Boulevard + 222 South Church Street

Not Just Coffee Charlotte, NC

Since opening their doors in 2011, Not Just Coffee already has three locations throughout the city, each pledging intentionality and passion for every cup and every customer. It’s all about North Carolina here, as Not Just Coffee partners with Homeland Creamy in Julian and Counter Culture Coffee based in Durham. Not Just Coffee offers a wide spectrum of brewing options, including pour overs, syphon pots and finely executed espresso beverages. Plus, the baristas are passionate about coffee education, hosting a number of cuppings, classes and interactive brewing demonstrations.



325 East 9th Street

Acting almost as “the speakeasy of coffee shops”, Subsecreto is a unique and mysterious establishment. This shop in Uptown opened in 2017, making headlines for its oddities and rituals, like the membership pins handed out to the first 13 guests on opening day — and sold thereafter for $13 — in exchange for 10 percent off drinks. Check out the unique decor at Subsecreto, like black birds, a rat figurine, crystals, books and other trinkets. But more importantly, enjoy a quality cup of coffee at this intriguing shop!


Brakeman’s Coffee & Supply

225 North Trade Street, Matthews

Brakeman’s Coffee & Supply Matthews, NC

Photo Courtesy of David Johnson via Brakeman’s Coffee & Supply

Slow down with a visit to Brakeman’s Coffee & Supply, an inviting shop in Matthews, just outside the hustle and bustle of the city. The shop is named after the role of the brakeman, a railroad worker responsible for halting the speed of the train and keeping all passengers safe. Brakeman’s provides ample space to slow down and enjoy a cup of coffee and a bite to eat — and take a moment to write, talk, laugh and relax, if only for a brief stop in your busy day. Their menu features an array of hot drinks, like drip coffee, Americanos, lattes and more, and cold options, including milkshakes, smoothies, cold brew and more.


South End Grind

255 Clanton Road

Head to South End for this hidden gem — and a relatively new addition to Charlotte’s coffee scene. The modern and bright interior and spacious patio set the scene for experiencing the quality coffees brewed at South End Grind. The area is filled with hard-working people and this shop is focused on supplying them with coffee, the unofficial beverage of hard work. South End Grind keeps things simple on their menu with drip coffee, cold brew, espresso and aeropress — all of which is brewed or prepared with expertise.


HEX Coffee Espresso Bar

125 Remount Road

HEX Coffee Espresso Bar Charlotte, NC

Photo Courtesy of HEX Coffee Espresso Bar

Originally a pop-up café, HEX Coffee Espresso Bar now maintains a permanent location, sharing a space with Good Bottle Co. in South End. This stylish artisan shop believes coffee is best served in its purest form, where it can be unashamedly bright, fruity and full of robust flavor. Explore an array of espresso formats (and a mean waffle!) in this vibrant modern space and grab a brew from Good Bottle Co.


The Suffolk Punch

2911 Griffith Street Suite A

Experience it all at The Suffolk Punch, which hosts a brewery, a coffee bar, an American eatery and a fermentation lab all under the same roof. The full-service coffee bar features ethically grown and responsibly sourced beans. Much like everything under the Suffolk Punch name, they treat coffee as an art, seeking to experiment and create — from bean sourcing to water profiles and everything in between. The menu is simple and always changing, but the bar will consistently feature five varietals, four taps, and a mix of coffee and tea. Don’t miss the coffee cocktails, including the Boozy Cream Soda made with a cold brew ice cube, vodka, half and half, vanilla, bubbles, and an orange garnish.


Mac Tabby Cat Café

1134 North Caldwell Street

Mac Tabby Cat Cafe Charlotte, NCPhoto Courtesy of The Mac Tabby Cat Café

If you haven’t yet been to a cat café — you’re in for a surprise! The Mac Tabby Cat Café has two separate spaces, one for ordering hot or cold brew coffee from Pure Intentions Coffee, kombucha from Lenny Boy Brewing Company and other local goods, while the other is for petting cats. That’s right — pay by the hour to mingle with up to 12 adoptable cats in the Cat Lounge while you sip on your coffee. Reservations for Mac Tabby Cat Café are recommended.


Happy sipping! What local coffee shops in the Charlotte region are your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

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Most information courtesy of the official Allen Tate blog....We are home.
Oct. 23, 2018

Kids Eat Free On Wednesdays

I had not been one to take advantage of free meals for my kids because frankly I couldn't stand taking them anywhere and in an effort to quite them down, I would rather throw chicken nuggets at them in my own private kitchen. But...I regret it. I wish I had been one of those moms that was scared to take her kids out in public but did it anyways. We need to embrace the mess...somewhere else. Hat's off to these restaurants that give us a chance to be loud, lively and living large with a few bucks left over in my pocket because I didn't have to pay for the kiddies. Enjoy! 

What we have for Wednesdays:

Alton's (19918 N. Cove Road, Cornelius, 28212, 704-535-2727) Actually everyday 430-630pm with adult entrée.

Captain Steve’s (8517 Monroe Road, Charlotte, 28212, 704-535-1400) | Kids 10 years & under eat for free all day on Wednesday. Two kids per adult entrée. Dine-in only.

Dilworth Neighborhood Grille (911 E Morehead St, Charlotte 28204, 704-377-3808) | Kids 10yrs & under get a free Kids’ Meal all day on Monday – Thursday. One kid per adult entrée.

East Coast Wings & Grill (9711 Northlake Centre Pkwy, Charlotte, NC 28216, 704-494-4174) | Kids 12yrs & under get a free Kids’ Meal on Wednesday after 3:30pm. One kid per adult entrée. Dine in only.

Everest Grill Restaurant (122 S NC 16 Business Hwy. Denver, 704-822-0404) | Kids 12yrs & under get a free Meal on Wednesday after 4-9pm. One kid per adult entrée. Dine in only.

Firehouse Subs (8 Charlotte locations)| Kids 12yrs and under eat free after 4pm with the purchase of an adult meal.

Flying Biscuit Cafe (4241 Park Rd., Charlotte, 28209, 704-714-3400 / 7930 Rea Rd, Charlotte, 28277, 704-295-4440)| Kids 12yrs and under eat for $1.99 with the purchase of an adult meal.

JJ’s Red Hots (15105 John J Delaney Dr, Charlotte 28277, 980-335-06011 / 514 East Blvd, Charlotte 28203, 980-225-8880) | Kids 12yrs and under get a free Kids’ Meal all day. 1 kid per adult combo.

Sabor Latin Street Grill (415 Hawthorne Lane, Charlotte, NC 28204, 980-237-0308 / 3205 N. Davidson Street, Charlotte, NC 28205, 980-207-3589 / 11112 S. Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28273, 980-256-2622) | Kids 12yrs & under eat free on Wednesday. Kids Meals only with an accompanying adult purchase.

The Vinyl Pi (15906 Old Statesville, Huntersville, 704-992-1782) Free Kids pizza with adult entree - 1/2 price wine bottle a bonus on Wednesday. 4pm-7pm

Tryon House Restaurant (215 E Exmore St, Charlotte, NC 28217, 704-527-6545) | Kids 12yrs and under get a free Kid’s Meal on Wednesdays.  One kid’s meal per adult.

If I've missed any, please comment below and I will post out so we can all enjoy. Thanks!

To get the whole weekly list click "EAT FREE" to claim. 

*some information provided by LKNSavings and CharlotteAgenda

Posted in Foodie, Fun Times, Kiddos
Oct. 17, 2018

Patches and Mazes

I couldn't help but laugh one of Aw Shucks pictures on their site is this:

Aw Shucks is new for me this year and I had to include it in the Top 6 Patches and Mazes for 2018. Get out and go to a new one. You never know what you'll find that works for your family. 


Hodges Family Farm - Address3900 Rocky River Rd E, Charlotte, NC 28215

ANNUAL PUMPKIN PATCH – Thru October 31st
Hours: 9:00am – 6:30pm (Closed October 10th and 11th due to rainy weather)
MORE INFO  All time favorite on this one.

Red Wolf Farm - Address1900 H W Farm Rd, Maiden, NC 28650

MAIZE & PUMPKIN PATCH – Thru October 28th
Hours: 11:00am – 6:00pm (Sat/Sun Only)
MORE INFO Love Love this is new for me and I went this year!

Country Days Corn Maze - Address416 Joe Lee Helms Rd, Indian Trail, NC 28079

MAIZE  – Thru November 4th
Hours: Fri: 5-10pm, Sat: 10am-10pm, Sun: 2pm-8pm  
MORE INFO Corn Maze is super fun!

Triple Diamond Farm  - Address2260 London Rd, Mooresville, NC 28115

Pumpkin Patch  – Thru October 28th
Hours: Sat and Sundays 10am-4pm 
MORE INFO Good for younger kids and very "horsey" so if you have a horse lover!

Aw Shucks Farm - Address3718 Plyler Mill Rd, Monroe, NC 28112

Pumpkin Patch  – Thru Novmember 11th

Hours: Fri: 6-11pm, Sat: 11am-11pm, Sun: 1pm-6pm
MORE INFO Waaaay too much to do at this one. I've been twice this year.

Lewis Farm - Address330 Lewis Rd, Gastonia, NC 28054


Pumpkin Patch  – Thru November 3rd
Hours: Sat 9am-4pm and Sundays 1pm-6pm 
MORE INFO Don't miss the Hay Bale and Slide...LOL

Tell us your experience with any of these on our blog page so we can share with everyone. Thanks and enjoy!



Posted in Community, Fun Times
Oct. 15, 2018

Verde Latin

This week’s Huntersville hot spot is Verde!
Located off of 23/Gilead by Earth Fare - this Latin deliciousness is waiting for you to come and enjoy their fresh foods. Which isn't just normal Mexican dishes. I didn't know that their sister restaurant was Prickly Pear! I had been there twice before they changed locations and then just never made it back out to Mooreseville. And then there
And just like that I randomly met some co-workers for lunch and suggested Verde. So glad I did. Not one of us four had been there so this was especially nice. New experience for us all.
Start with "DE JAIBA" Chipotle Crab Cakes served over a mixed green salad, truffle orange vinaigrette. $10
And if you are vegan - "VEGETARIANO" Roasted veggies, cactus paddles, cotija cheese, rice, black beans, tomato ragout. $9
And you can never go wrong with this traditional meal with the Latin spin "COCHINITA PIBIL" Traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork, rice, beans, avocado salsa,
pickled onions. $9
I love this place so much because for under $15, I can have a delicious lunch. Have you ever been here before? What was your favorite food on the menu? I had the TAMPIQUEÑA which is Grilled Steak, mole chicken enchilada, cactus pico de gallo & rice for just $11.00!
They have live music every Saturday at 9pm and you can order online and deliverable by Uber Eats! There is no reason not to try this place and make it a regular spot!
Salsa it Up!
Oct. 11, 2018

71 days to sell your house...what to do about it.

The Millennials are just starting to buy. The Baby Boomers aren't selling. What can we do to get inventory on the market and sold for a reasonable amount of time and a reasonable price?

For years, and just recently 1st through 3rd quarter, we have seen bidding wars. Prices so far over list price that guarantees of paying out of pocket over and above appraisal seemed the norm. These homes got this kind of run for the bulls buying frenzy because they were in a desirable area, in a medium price zone and were updated. That's right they are already updated! Which is what Millennials don't want to have to bother themselves with. 

 The over-priced, over-promised delivering of "perfect" homes isn't sustainable and it is simply not working anymore. The realization that you paid $10-25k, yes Ten to Twenty Five thousand over appraisal starts to sit funny. You are already in the rears on a loan and home and there is no promise of quick market rises. 

Let's update houses but don't request over price non sense to get the war going. Let's make new improvements that are reasonable because the house is out dated not because you want to squeeze the buyer for more money. The better priced the faster the house will sell. We don't want stale inventory - we want fresh homes.

Example for Huntersville as of 10/11/18 shows homes currently for sale are at 30 days, but most likely will take 71+ days to be sold. For those that have lost out on the bidding wars - they have rethought the process and are taking their time. 

Currently FOR SALE *
Avg. Days on Market: 29 Days
Listings Currently for Sale:   2
Newest Listing:   09/07/2018
Shortest/Longest:   28 Days/29 Days

Recent SALES
Avg. Days to Sell: 71 Days
Total Sales:   4
Last Sale:   09/28/2018
Shortest/Longest:   40 Days/137 Days
Months of Supply:   2**
(6 months is considered a balanced market)

After years of above average appreciation rates, the market is now beginning to normalize. Now more then ever, it is important to keep your home current and updated. Priced right and put together nicely isn't asking too much for the home buyers these days. 

Posted in House Upkeep, Selling
Sept. 25, 2018

Flip Flop Flounder

I had a conversation with my flip flops last night. I told them that it was time to put them away...after it's Fall Y'all. However after one hour of having closed toe shoes on, I couldn't stand it. I needed the wind beneath my wings again. I need the cool dew of the morning grass squishing between my toes and then the squeaky flip flop sound as I approached whomever was around.

I couldn't do it.

I couldn't put these things away just yet. I had to be brave. I had to go get one more pedi for the season before relinquishing to boots. So for now they still are visible in my closet. And I will not give them up till the last hot day on the Lake. Which in Lake Norman and Charlotte could just be sometime in November. Fingers Crossed!



Posted in Fun Times
June 20, 2018

Five House Painting Hacks

I am so busy getting painting vendors for my clients that I often say I might need to sell one of my kids in order to actually hire a painter myself for my house. But as I read through, it's just one step at a time that I know I can handle!

Owning a house can be a mixed blessing. On one hand, you have a place to sleep and eat and collect weird knick-knacks you bought off of eBay. On the other, you sometimes have to take on projects that are simple, but overwhelming. Repainting your house, for example, is a big, messy job, though the techniques don’t necessarily require years to master.

House Painting Hacks

The word “hack” is kind of loaded. To some, it means cheating your way to success, to others it can be code for “low quality work or unadvisable actions.” Since you don’t really need either of those things to have really good results from your paint job, replace the word “hack” in your head with “tip.” After all, you should listen to tips, they’re helpful.

Without further ado, five tips for your big paint job this summer:

Prepwork: The Biggest Hack of All

“But wait, prepping isn’t painting,” you just shouted at the screen. It’s true that your prep isn’t actual painting, but the fact is that prep work is everything. Without good prep, you might as well not bother with the painting because the lack of prep work will show. Depending on which area of your house you’re painting, here are a few prep items to get you started:

* Go over all the painted areas, even on windows, with a metal putty knife or 5-in-1 tool to get rid of all loose paint chips. If you’re dealing with lots of layers and they’re flaking randomly, use a pressure washer set around 2,500 PSI to blast the paint away.
* Remove and repair any rotted window sills or siding now, before you paint. Make sure to apply a coat of primer to them once they’ve been put in place.
* Paint stripper can be useful to get paint off of finely detailed trim pieces that you risk damaging by power washing.

* Paint a test area on popcorn ceilings before doing a whole room. Sometimes, they’ll slough off, leaving you with a mess–better to know before you’re in elbow deep.
* It’s not enough to just patch holes, you also must sand them. If drywall seams are bothering you, the same rule applies after you’ve skim coated them with additional joint compound.
* Clean walls thoroughly. A once-over with a broom followed up by a pass with an electrostatic cloth mop will grab all the dirt, helping you create the perfect paint job.

Painting on the Dark Side

Painting your house is important maintenance, but it can also be a difficult one in the summertime. When you’re ready to paint, really ready, start on the dark side of the house. As the sun shifts, so should you. This will give you the most time to work with wet paint, helping you to avoid dried-on drips and visible brush strokes. Treat your primer just like your paint and circle the house with the sun when applying.

Improve Trim Appearance By Reducing Strokes

Painting trim should be a challenge to see just how little you can touch it. The end result will be a smoother finish with fewer brush strokes. Work in small sections, no more than about 18 inches long. Start your paint work by loading the brush on the heavy side, then wipe as much paint onto the trim as possible. Level the blob with just one or two strokes that fill into the previously painted section.

Paint Brush Storage

Whether you’re going to lunch or just taking a break to heed Nature’s call, there are going to be times that you really don’t want to bother to clean your brush just to stick it back in the same color paint again. Desperate times call for desperate measures. There are various tricks for this, these are our favorites:

* When you paint, wear disposable gloves. If you need to pause, just grab the brush bristles with one hand and turn the glove inside out until it covers. A quick knot will keep that brush ready to go again.
* Ziptop bags are great for taking a lunch, but they can also be used to keep brushes wet. Just snip one corner open to the width of the handle, slip the brush in, burp the bag and zip it up. Problem solved.
* Between coats, you can drop brushes into water that reaches to the handles or higher (don’t mix colors, that’ll make a mess). When you’re ready for the next round of painting, swish the brush around in the water to get most of the thin, wet paint out and then use a paint brush and roller spinner to spin out the water. Do the spinning outside or deep in a tall bucket to avoid getting paint water everywhere.

Catalog Those Paints!

Hey, this may not sound like a useful thing, but will you really remember the color you used on the trim work on your house in five years? Be honest here. Cataloging the paint you’re using, including manufacturer, formula, name and a photo of what the finished result looked like fresh will help you immensely should you need to touch the paint up before the next big repainting job. If you used the paint in more than one place, note what areas were painted, as well.

Some pro painters make custom labels for the can they leave behind for touch-ups that contains excess paint. These labels includes detailed information about the paint color, sheen and so forth. You have a computer, you could do the same if you really want to keep it organized.

Ready To Paint?

When you’re ready to get on that painting project, be safe and have fun. Even a bad paint job is better than a day at work, isn’t that how the saying goes? If you find that the prospect of painting your house on your own is just too much to handle, set that stress aside and log in to HomeKeepr. The marriage of tools, tech and the best pros in their field make it easy to get the painter you need on the job fast.

Posted in House Upkeep