Food & Drink

Food & Drink
Food & Drink

SHOP MY FAVES

SHOP MY FAVES
SHOP MY FAVES

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STYLE
STYLE

Weekend Dispatch


As we head into the last weekend before Christmas, I've got a to-do list that's a mile long (anyone else?) I'm trying to wrap up work commitments and blog posts this week so I can relax next week. I'm heading to a cookie exchange on Sunday evening (more about that below), and I also have gift wrapping to start. But, I always make time for downtime, and here's how I plan to spend the few spare moments I have this week.
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Top Posts of 2018

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Holiday Gift Guide: Harper's Wish List

Every year since they were able to write, my daughters have put together Christmas lists. They've been helpful to "Santa" as well as to family members looking for gift ideas. As the years have passed, the lists have evolved. They started out as short lists of scribbled misspelled words and have now become elaborate lists of printed photos and URLs since they now know who "Santa" is.

And I might add that as my girls have gotten older, the items on the wish lists have become fewer but more expensive. Gone are the days of the $20 art kits and $5.00 books. Now it's expensive electronics and brand name clothing.

For today's gift guide feature, I'm sharing what's on Harper's holiday wish list. It's short, sweet, and age-appropriate for an 12 year old.
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5 Things To Know When Traveling with an Infant

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The holidays are upon us, and for many families, travel is in the plans to celebrate the holidays with family. A new baby suddenly makes traveling a whole lot more overwhelming for a parent. At such times, it may sound more appealing to stick close to home. But don’t worry. Traveling with an infant doesn't have to be a nightmare. By keeping these 5 things in mind, you can make the whole experience easier and fun.
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5 Gifts For Every Wine Lover

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If you've got someone on your gift list who is a big fan of wine, you may be surprised by how many wine accessories are out there for gifting. Every wine lover needs the ideal wine gadgets to make that glass of satisfaction taste even sweeter. Here are five gift ideas for the wine lover on your list.
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How To Make Time For Mindfulness Over The Hectic Holiday Season

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With just a couple of weeks left in the year and just over a week to go until Christmas day, a lot of us will be winding down for the holidays over the coming days…at least in theory. Many of us (especially those in the gig economy) will be rushing to finish year-end work projects and holiday shopping and preparation before the holidays. Christmas shopping these days is like a dress-rehearsal for the stage production of Battle Royale. 

In this backdrop of noise, movement, chaos, confusion and inevitable mess, it’s important for all of us to afford ourselves a little time to come back to center. To reorganize our minds and rise above the chaos and calamity. Here are some ways I do exactly that:
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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. The 18 best cookies in America via PureWow.

2. The best apps for learning a foreign language via The Washington Post.

3. Five tricks to cut your morning routine in half via The Everygirl.
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How to Care For Your Health as You Age

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Last year when I turned 50, I made a pact with myself to take better physical care of myself and to prioritize self-care (everything from skin care to clean eating). Aging is inevitable, and it's only natural that our bodies go through a process of wear and tear. While I can't stop that process, I can take steps to delay it.

I approach my health more in the context of going on vacation, in that I know I only have a limited amount of time to enjoy my trip, and as a result, I squeeze the most out of it. We often become complacent and live as if we are going to be around forever. Unfortunately, we aren't but you can extend your life span by staying in good health. My mantra is always "prevention is better than a cure."
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What To Consider Before Becoming a Pet Owner


It's during this time of year that a lot of parents considering gifting a pet to the children for the holidays. Welcoming a furry friend to the household will undoubtedly bring you a lot of happiness, but it will also add to your workload. Even the most independent and well-behaved pets need care and attention. If you’re on the cusp of making a decision to introduce a new member of the family, here are some top considerations to make before making the final decision.
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Gift Guide: For The Crazy Cat Lady

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We all have a special crazy cat lady in our lives. I am a self-professed one myself. Love anything and everything cat-related, so I chose a few of my favorites to make it easy for you to cross the cat lover off your gift list.
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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. The 50 most expensive zip codes for renters in the U.S. via Rent Café.

2. How to survive the holiday office party via The Cut.

3. Thirty-one Starbucks drinks you had no idea existed via Cosmopolitan.
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My Holiday Wish List

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Many of you have asked what I am hoping for this holiday season. I never really need anything, and I generally buy myself something that I want, but I do like to give my family a few hints as to items that would be nice but not necessary to have. So, here are 6 things on my list this year.
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Tips For Caring For Your Car

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Your car is one of the most important parts of your life and plays a major role in helping your family live their lives. Whether you plan to have your car for 2 years or 20 years, it's important to take care of your car There are many things that play a role in taking care of your vehicle.

Yesterday I had my 20,000 routine maintenance check up on my car, and as I was picking my car up, I got into a discussion with the service manager about the importance of taking care of what's under the hood as well as what's outside of it.
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POM Picks: All About Plaid

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This time of year, I admittedly go a little overboard with the plaid. I wear it. I decorate with it. I dream about it. The thing is...can you ever really have too much plaid in your life? Um, no. So, if you aren't convinced that plaid is the greatest print ever, here are a few of my favorite plaid items to help convince you. And many of these would make great gifts too!
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Tips For Securing Your Home From Intruders

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After we were robbed almost 10 years ago, home security became our top priority. We quickly realized that it’s not enough to simply rely on a set of locks. We took some additional steps to ensure that we were safe inside and outside the home.
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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. This could be Tom Hanks' next big screen role via Collider.

2. Why you should teach your children the correct terminology for private parts via Huffington Post.

3. The scientific reason you feel lazy over the winter via Bustle.
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What To Do With Unwanted Presents?


Ah, Christmas time. A time of food indulgence, sparkling decorations, and festive outfits and celebrations. But above all, Christmas is a time of gift giving and receiving. We take pride in choosing the perfect gift for everyone on our list. And they'll take pride in choosing the ideal gift for you. As you begin to unwrap, you might have to put on a brave face when you receive something that doesn't entirely suit you. It happens, and there's no reason to feel guilty about not liking a present you've been gifted. But rather than allow the unwanted gifts to accumulate in your home, there are ways to deal with the gifts.
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Weekend Dispatch


Happy Tuesday! I hope you enjoyed a restful and relaxing Thanksgiving and you are easing back into your regular routine. I love Thanksgiving and am always sad to see the weekend end. It's always such an easy and refreshing weekend spent with family and friends. But now it's back to biz as usual. It's a busy time of the year for bloggers who, generally, are overwhelmed with putting together gift guides this time of year. But I am managing to squeeze in plenty of "me" time to help me take a step back from all my work obligations that come this time of year.

Here are some recommendations for your week and what I'll be up to as well:
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3 Books That Aren't Just For Kids

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Many people have read a number of books that have been deemed children's books in a variety of different genres. But, as adults get enjoyment out of them, why should they be marketed solely as books for kids? You know those ones that you loved but sometimes might feel a little embarrassed to admit it? I've read several series of books that would be considered children's books but are just as enjoyable and stimulating for adults.
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How To Give Back on #GivingTuesday

Today is #GivingTuesday, a day dedicated to giving back to make a positive impact in our communities and our world.

Since 2014, we have been supporting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) in hope of a cure for our daughter Harper who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in February 2014.

Millions of people with T1D—and the families who love them—are hoping for a cure. Advances funded by JDRF, such as the artificial pancreas system and encapsulated cell replacement therapy, are bringing us closer to the day when we can defeat this terrible disease. You can learn more about advances being made in the quest for a cure for type 1 diabetes at JDRF.org.

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My 10 Favorite Cyber Monday Deals


Cyber Monday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year with retailers competing to offer the biggest discounts around. It's one of the best days to purchase big ticket items, such as electronics, kitchen appliances, designer bags, and high end clothes and makeup.
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Gift Guide: For The Hostess

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Although your host and hostess may make entertaining look effortless, they are likely to have put a lot of time and effort into preparing and executing their party. Show your appreciation with a thoughtful gift.
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5 Fab Finds Under $50


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On a budget but still want to look great? Here are 5 fab finds under $50 that won't break the bank but will keep you (or your home) looking cute. J.Crew Factory is having an enormous Black Friday sale with up to 80% off clearance items. All of the above apply to that, and they only caveat is that these items are final sale. So, not returns.
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Best Online Reads


We're coming at you early this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Enjoy these 10 great stories from around the web that I am loving this week, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

1. How often you should wash your throw blankets via Apartment Therapy.

2. Twenty-five subscription boxes that make great gifts via Cosmopolitan.

3. The most popular diet the year you were born via Harper's Bazaar.
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Apple Cider Floats


Let's agree. Dessert is pretty much the best part of any meal, especially Thanksgiving. Pies, pies, pies! Yes, please. But if you are looking to switch things up a bit this year when it comes to Thanksgiving dessert, why not try an apple cider float? They are especially fun for the kids, are easy to make, and don't require a ton of ingredients or a long baking time.
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Friday Favorites: Stay Warm


We returned to New Jersey from a 9-day vacation in Florida today. As expected, we were greeted with temperatures in the mid-40s. Not exactly the welcome home hug I was looking for, but I can't expect much more from November in the northeast. Today, I'm surrounding myself with all things warm and cozy and sharing a few favorites with you in today's Friday Favorites.
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Best Online Reads

The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. Ten things you should do 10 days before Thanksgiving via Apartment Therapy.

2. At what age should your child have a cell phone via Huffington Post.

3. Stop believing these 5 money myths via MindBodyGreen.
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Cocktails for the Holiday Season


The holidays are quickly approaching. One of my entertaining must-dos is to have a signature cocktail that I serve at our gatherings. It takes the pressure off of you to be mixing up all sorts of custom-made cocktails all night long and gives you more time to mingle with and enjoy your guests and your party. Here are two of my favorites.
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What We're Reading


We are currently enjoying a much needed vacation in Captiva, Florida. And when you're on vacation, lots of reading happens. Shortly after boarding the plane last Wednesday, I finished reading this book which was downloaded on my Kindle. At the last minute I threw a book in my carry on bag since I didn't have one downloaded. I started it on the plane, and finished it 2 days later. It was so good.
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Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!! I am starting this one off in sunny Fort Myers, Florida where I've been since Wednesday. Today we are heading out to Captiva Island for the next week. But first, before I go into complete vacation mode, let's talk the Nordstrom Fall Sale. As is the case with any Nordstrom sale, it's epic. Here are five of my favorite items from the sale.
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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. Nine things to focus on when you're exercising via Bustle.

2. Secret Santa gifts under $25 that recipients will actually want to keep via Business Insider.

3. The worst color to wear in photos via PureWow.
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What's In My Carry-On Bag


On Wednesday we leave for a 9-day vacation in southwest Florida. I pay as much attention to packing my carry-on bag as I do my suitcase. Making sure I have everything that's essential to a comfortable flight is a must regardless of whether the flight is 6 hours or 60 minutes. I always carry a big bag that I can carry on my shoulder. These types of bags are more convenient and put less strain on my lower back.

These are the go-to items in my carry-on bag:
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Friday Favorites

Who remembers the Friday's Fresh Picks posts I used to do? It was a weekly series that I participated in with several other bloggers. It was a fun way for us to share the things we were currently loving or obsessing over with our readers in hopes that they'd love it too.

This week I was thinking about how much I miss writing those posts and participating in the link up. While I don't have any plans to get back into a link up, I am reinstating a similar type of post, Friday Favorites. Let's get to it!

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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. How to eat like a local while traveling via The New York Times.

2. What it's like to take the longest flight in the world via Vogue.

3. Which money personality type are you via Camille Styles.
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Weekend Dispatch


This coming weekend is the last weekend before we leave for Captiva, Florida. This is an annual trip for us and one we look forward to pretty much from the day we leave the year prior. While I'm sure this weekend will be filled with packing and last minute preparations, I do plan to squeeze in a few fun things and some downtime too.

Here's what I'll be up to this weekend:
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8 Books I've Read Recently


I've been on somewhat of a reading kick since mid-August. I can't pinpoint exactly how or why it happened. I've always loved ready, but something clicked while we were on vacation in Rehoboth Beach in mid-August, and I haven't been able to find a book that haven't liked. Here are the books I've read since August and my overall feeling about each one.

1. Saving Grace by Jane Green
I love Jane Green's style of writing and her subject matter, so it was so surprise that I loved this book. Her characters are rich in depth and so vividly described that it's easy to feel as if you know them personally. Such is the case with the protagonist Grace Chapman, a middle-aged woman struggling to find her identity after spending most of her adult life tending to her husband (a successful writer) and daughter. Grace's world is turned upside down when her husband hires an assistant who turns out to be sinister than sincere.
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5 Home Improvement Trends To Implement Now

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No matter what our age or number of children, busy moms always invest in our homes and treat them as another child who needs to be pampered and nurtured. Regardless of the size and location of the house, there are many little things we modify over time. There can be multiple reasons for home improvement such as changing trends, a new liking developed for something, or overall efficiency. No matter how many trends you follow, there are still a few you may miss. Among the crazy smart gadgets operating your home, here are some home improvement trends you will want to follow to update your home:
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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. Hacks for getting ready faster in the morning via The Zoe Report.

2. The reason men talk 90% of the time on conference calls via Career Contessa.

3. Six things you should never do after a workout via Refinery29.
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Weekend Dispatch


Last weekend was jam packed that it didn't leave much down time. We had a casual family dinner on Friday night before my sister-in-law and brother-in-law returned to Denver. On Saturday I met friends for coffee at the café at the Herbary at Bear Creek. It was a lovely place to meet and a nice change from our "on the beaten path" coffee shops. Saturday night my girlfriend had a birthday party, and Sunday was a slow start, naturally, and full of errands and prep for the week.

After a busy weekend, here's how I plan to spend this coming one:
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5 Fab Finds Under $50

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On a budget but still want to look great?  Here are 5 fab finds under $50 that won't break the bank but will keep you (or your home) looking cute.
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How To Buy Your Dream Home

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Do you have a dream of owning a house that you absolutely love? Do you want a bigger house, a prettier house, a house in a different location? If you’ve answered yes to any (or all) of those, you’re not alone. You may find yourself so far away from where you actually want to be. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get the house that you really want. It just means that you need to work that little bit harder to get it. You may need to think about selling your home in order to move forward with buying your dream home. But how exactly do you go about doing that when you seem so far from your ultimate goal? Start here:
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Tips For Dealing With Common Childhood Ailments

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As a parent, seeing your child in pain will be one of the worst things you can be put through. Their    discomfort becomes your discomfort, especially when there isn’t much that can be done about it. Thankfully, nowadays, it’s rare that you’ll find a medical condition without some sort of solution. 
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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. I am loving Benjamin Moore's color of the year via Domino.

2. The top late-night restaurants in 7 major cities according to Lyft via Food and Wine.

3. Why you feel dizzy after spinning via Popular Science.
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6 Ways To Teach Your Kids About Finance


Back-to-school time means plenty of lessons to learn in the classroom. But parents usually have to be the teachers when it comes to a subject their kids will need to understand throughout their adult lives – personal finance.

Studies show that teaching finance is not a top priority of the U.S. education system. Fewer than 20 percent of teachers report feeling competent to teach personal finance, according to a Council for Economic Education Survey, and only 17 states require students to take a personal finance course in high school.

“The majority of your kids’ financial education will come from you,” says Kathy Longo (www.flourishwealthmanagement.com), the author of Flourish Financially: Values, Transitions, & Big Conversations. “Because we parents have such a great influence on how our kids spend, save, and invest, it’s critical that we teach them early and often how we want them to value money.” 

Longo, who is also president and founder of Flourish Wealth Management®, provided me with a list of ideas and discussions that can help you teach your kids about finance at different developmental stages:
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Playing Favorites

Playing Favorites is a monthly series where I share my latest obsessions, favorite finds, and any kind of entertainment (books, movies, TV, podcasts, and magazines) that I am loving. Here's what I am loving this month.

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Selling Your Home? Don't Drop Your Asking Price

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Later this year, I'll be taking a real estate sales course. It's a 75 hour course that prepares you for becoming a real estate sales agent. I've been looking for flexible ways to supplement my income, and real estate sales is the likely path for me. In preparation for the course, I've been researching the industry. If you currently have a house on the market, here's an argument for why you should think twice before dropping your asking price.

There are so many other alternatives to dropping your asking price such as investing in a home stager, re-assessing your marketing strategy, and more.

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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. Is it better (and cleaner) to shower in the morning or evening via Apartment Therapy.

2. Three ways to break bad holiday shopping habits via Real Simple.

3. The key to being a kick ass friend via ManRepeller.
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Shift Happens


Last month, Emma and Harper started their junior and seventh grade years, respectively. The morning of the first day of school was rushed, emotional but uneventful. In the chaos, I didn't have time to snap a picture. They were dressed in outfits that they painstakingly took forever to choose. I sent them off to school, and hoped for the best on their first days.

It wasn't until they came home later in the day that I was finally able to get a picture. As they stood and posed ever so willingly, I looked through the viewfinder at these two amazing creatures. My flesh and blood. I gave them life, and now they were standing in front of me, and I was grappling with the task of trying to figure out where the years have gone.


Once you become a parent, you hear all the clichés about how quickly your child will grow. For most of us, we are so deep in the depths of parenthood that it's hard to pay attention to all the things you've heard over and over again through the years starting when you were a child.

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Shop For A Cause: Breast Cancer Awareness

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October is breast cancer awareness month, and if you are looking for a way to support research efforts to find a cure, I've got you covered. This is a win-win situation because not only do you get something for your money, but a donation is made also to support finding a cure.

Here are a few of my favorite items that support various BCA organizations.
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6 Sins of Old Homes

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The search for the perfect home isn't an easy one. The variety of properties available on the market, from a tiny apartment in a buzzing city center to a cute bungalow in the suburbs, from an old mansion filled with dust and stories on the outskirt of town to a stone cottage on a hill, makes it difficult to narrow down what exactly you want in a home.

The answer might be surprising for many, but one of the key criteria for home buyers is the homeliness of a house. Admittedly, it doesn’t mean that factors such as budget, location, and the number of bedrooms have no impact on the final decision. They definitely matter and are essential to the final decision. However, when given a choice between a brand new property that has just been built and an old house that has seen several generations growing up, first-time buyers are more likely to pick the old house.
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