Category Archives: Everyday Great Ideas

Great ideas for home owners in the Baton Rouge Area

Back to School for East Baton Rouge!

Can you believe it is time for the kids to be back in school? Summer always goes by way too fast. In order to keep up with what is happening this year, we have posted the 2016-2017 School Calendar for East Baton Rouge.  We hope you enjoy it.

2016-2017 Calendar of School Events

If you would like to have a pdf of your very own to print out and keep handy for the year, feel free to click here to download one with our compliments!

Social Media and Real Estate – Part 2

Popular SociaSM2_1_600l Media Sites (and what it means in Real Estate)


What is Facebook? Facebook is probably the most popular social networking site on the Internet. Used by people around the world, Facebook allows users to make posts, share pictures and videos, and overall connect with friends, family and communities via the Internet. Facebook allows users to get direct access to information via posts by people in their groups. If you’re utilizing Facebook for real estate marketing, you have the ability to post listings, property pictures and other information that users will find immediately helpful. Not only that, but with the fact that Facebook users are all somehow connected via friends and groups, your listing can be shared beyond your immediate group of contacts, making Facebook a great word-of-mouth marketing tool.

The most common age group of Facebook users is 25 to 34; many people who use Facebook will be interested in real estate or know someone who is. Facebook also allows users to share information about their communities and neighborhoods that might not be found on a website (because it comes directly from the people living in the community), so the amount of info that can be accessed via Facebook is almost limitless.


What is Twitter? Twitter is an online social networking site that is also used by people around the world. The draw of Twitter is that it’s a rolling conversation: it’s fast-paced and posts are limited to 140 characters or less. Users have the ability to post pictures, videos and links to other media or websites that can be readily accessed by their followers. Twitter is also an excellent marketing medium because it has a great search function: if you’re looking for information about a certain city, community or neighborhood, it’s likely you’ll be able to find Twitter conversations (or ‘tweets’) with relevant information and responses.

Marketing with Twitter requires a lot of engagement on both sides of the coin. Because Twitter conversations are constant, the more effort that’s put forth on Twitter means the greater the reach of your posts and the people who will receive your information. Twitter is a great tool in that users have the ability to attach hashtags, or #, to apply keywords or phrases to a post. This allows for greater reach, as anyone can search for a keyword or phrase, meaning the number of people that can find your post is only limited to the total number of Twitter users.

Instagram and Pinterest

Instagram and Pinterest are both online social networking services that rely heavily on images. Instagram users share photos and videos, either their own or those of others, and Pinterest is an application that allows users to share those pictures or compile them together into “pin boards.” The benefit in both of these social media sites is the ability for users to share media – whether it is pictures or videos. People in general crave visuals – we are visual beings, especially when it comes to homes and properties. Visuals have been found to create and boost user engagement, and both Instagram and Pinterest are an excellent way to showcase a listing’s pictures and information. Both are also great tools for anyone looking for ideas on curb appeal, ways to stage a home, or even those looking for ideas on updating a property to get it ready to sell.

Social media has become a way of life in our ever changing, technological world. Real estate is a competitive market for both buyers and sellers, and social media is a great, readily available tool for anyone interested in real estate to utilize to their benefit. Check out some of these sites and see the endless possibilities of social media and real estate.

As always, contact us if you are looking to sell your home! We always use state of the art marketing including social media to sell your home!


Social Media and Real Estate – Part 1

Social media has become a way of life in our country over the past decade. With more and more people using sites like Facebook, and applications like Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, Laptop having a presence on social media is almost an absolute must. But what is social media? We hear that term a lot, especially on the news and in public places. Social media is those websites and applications that give users the opportunity to create and share content for the sole purpose of social networking, or communicating with others. Social media allows people and communities to connect in ways they were unable to in the past, paving the way for new or renewed connections.

While many think social media is only an option for those looking to share family photos or cat videos, social media has opened the door to new marketing opportunities, especially when it comes to real estate. Whether a buyer, seller, or real estate agent, social media is an excellent tool to get the word out about properties, and should you be considering a real estate search soon, don’t forget to look to social media for more ways to market your property or find your dream home.

With all the social media sites that abound at this time, what about the large sites as well? Sites like, Trulia, Zillow?

RealtorSocialThey will always have their place as people love to look up homes on these sites and with their apps for your smartphone, they make it simple as pie.

But this post it truly about social media and all the different tools that abound in today’s market. Tools that are like kicking your feet back and having a group of friends over to see your fabulous home (or to find YOUR dream home) and a wonderful cup of coffee or glass of wine.

Next week we will delve in the most dominant social media sites and how they differ and just how they will help you and your realtor sell or find you a home.

Memo to Parents: Your Adult Kids Don’t Want Your Stuff

Parents of grown children, please sit down. I have some harsh news for you.
Your kids don’t want your stuff. Don’t take it personally. It’s not that they don’t love you. They don’t love your furniture.

The china hutch, the collectible figurines, your antique map or thimble collection, the sideboard, all those family treasures may hold many precious moments for you, but for your kids, not so much.


Ouch. Yes, I know you think you’re being generous. Yes, I know you paid good money for these things. Yes, I know kids can seem unappreciative. Yes, I know it was part of your family’s history. And, yes, I know it still contains some useful life.
I also know that deep down, you believe your kids will change their minds.

That is pure fantasy.

This topic hits home, so to speak. That became clear last week when, at a book signing and author chat for my new book, “Downsizing the Family Home: What to Save, What to Let Go,” the subject stirred up a fine fuss.

Read the rest of the article here

Story by Marni Jameson

Special to| The Times-Picayune

Wearin’ of the Green Parade 2016

Who does not love St. Paddy’s day? Filled with all the shenanigans and fun one can muster. This year though has been a bit wetter then usual and many have asked if there truly will be a St. Paddy’s day parade at all. We have great news! Looks like it will go off without a hitch and tons of plans have been made in case the weather gets too “drizzly”.

WHEN: 10 a.m. Saturday

WHERE: Starting at Hundred Oaks Avenue and South Acadian Thruway, Baton Rouge (see accompanying map)

ON TV: 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., WBTR, Channel 41 (cable Channel 19) and, with repeats on WBTR at 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday; noon and 7 p.m. Sunday; and 2 p.m. Thursday (St. Patrick’s Day).

UP TO DATE INFO: or Hope to see you there!


Baton Rouge State of the Market 2016


Time to break out the Crystal Ball and see what is in the forecast for the 2016 Baton Rouge housing market. A Bank of America Merrill Lynch global research SOM_Graphgroup has stated they expect the ongoing housing recovery to continue this year. The economic research group also gave a real estate market forecast for sales activity. Existing home sales, they said, could increase by as much as 5% in 2016, as it suggest a higher level of demand. They also pointed to a possible slowdown in home-price appreciation in 2016. They expect houses values nationwide to rise by a mere 1% next year, due to “home price overvaluation relative to income.” Locally we may possibly see home values increase more then that figure.

One other good note is that Baton Rouge is ranked among Trulias’ list of 10 “markets to watch in 2016.” These are areas with a healthy combination of housing affordability, job gains, and demand (based on online search activity).

It’s a great time to sell and a healthy time to buy a Baton Rouge home!

To learn more about how homes are selling in your area, email your request to for a detailed, hassle-free report.

Knock Knock Children Museum


Knock Knock Children’s Museum is a community spark for engaging, playful learning experiences that inspire and support lifelong learning.

Knock Knock MuseumKnock Knock Children’s Museum is expertly designed to provide learning zones (exhibits) and programs to stimulate informal learning experiences for young children. Knock Knock Children’s Museum is under construction in City-Brooks Community Park on Dalrymple Drive in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and will serve the families of the Capital Region.

Knock Knock is the result of the work of dedicated volunteers and advocates for early education, a pivotal partnership with The Recreation and Parks Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge (BREC), and the generous philanthropic support of our community.

When its doors open, Knock Knock Children’s Museum will be a destination for the exciting world of learning through play, discovery and hands-on exploration for young children (ages 0-8 years old) and their families.

Watch the video below to learn more:

Learning Zones

Knock Knock’s Learning Zones are hands-on, interactive exhibits creating “teachable moments” that connect children’s every day experiences to learning. These Learning Zones are anchored in research and evidence-based practices and translate these best practices into informal learning opportunities.

More information on Learning Zones:

For more information about the Knock Knock Children’s Museum and how you can get involved, check our frequently asked questions, submit an inquiry, or contact us.

Knock Knock Children’s Museum

Melissa A. Bell
2561 Citiplace Ct., Ste. 750-260
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
Phone: 225-388-3090


The Real Value of a Renovation – Part 2

Looking to Renovate? Here’s the Best of the Best (and the Worst than Bad) of RenovatingReno_out

The Best of the Best

 Workmanship – a job well done, whether by yourself or a hired professional, shows. Whether the job is cosmetic or a deeper fix, the work should be of high quality.

Design – well thought out and beautiful, with attention to use, style, scale, and materials; a great design can add the most value to the renovation.

Utility – the more something is used and enjoyed, the more the renovation is worth. Improved access, storage, or other everyday needs is among the most valuable work you can have done. When doorways, stairs or other access points get renovated – check for scale and materials that are user-friendly. Ensure that people can pass each other and that furniture can move where it is needed. Renovations that are difficult to use are a failure.

Lighting – lighting fixtures can be expensive and are very subjective. Consult with a lighting designer and use bright lights that are recessed and well-placed. Avoid the expensive, over-the-top dining room chandelier unless the intention is to use it for years.

Electrical/Plumbing – while not a “sexy” renovation, knowing that the two greatest conveniences of modern living are up-to-date and functioning well is a huge benefit to a homeowner. Document all repairs and renovations and keep the information on hand to show the quality of the work, since it is hidden behind walls and more difficult to assess.

Roof/Foundation/Windows – like electrical and plumbing, renovations that include improvements to a roof, windows or a foundation can add a measure of security as well as immediate and tangible value to a home. Preventing water damage and maintaining the structural integrity of the home is of the highest concern. Ensuring that quality work is done with an eye towards the style of the home is paramount in getting the highest return on this investment.

 Kitchen/Bathroom/Basement/Garage – creating MORE timeless and classic space that is used frequently gets the most return in resale value. Storage is king in any of these spaces, but it should be useful and accessible.

Worse than Bad

Conversely, poorly designed renovations, including poor stylistic or configuration choices, shoddy workmanship or materials can deter a buyer or render your own renovation a failure. Avoid the trap of using the wrong materials: fixtures that are too big, or obviously bought because they were on sale/seconds, using the wrong windows, or inadequate materials for the project that won’t hold up in the locale or manner of use.

Fad renovations often lack long-term usability; that disco playroom or man-cave may look cool, but updating it again in a few years may be impractical. Everyone loves a steam room, sauna, billiard room or workout room, but maintenance and upkeep might make it less attractive. Furthermore, repurposing a bedroom or garage for a renovation of this sort removes spaces that future owners may find vital, so this further jeopardizes return on the investment.

Some renovations don’t go far enough. Redoing the kitchen or a bathroom without updating the wiring is an example of this. Putting in a bedroom, but failing to make it big enough or to follow the building code, is another example. Seek to find renovations that provide a lot of utility for the dollar, while accomplishing all that is actually required. If you really can’t afford to renovate, perhaps waiting is a better idea.

We all know when something is, “Just a little ‘off’.” One of the worst things is a great idea, done well and with fine materials, that just misses the mark; perhaps there is a corner that always gets in the way or that constantly causes someone to get hurt, or maybe it is a cabinet that opens in the wrong direction. Measurements that are off and made right with a work-around, all of these “little things” end up making a good thing into a frustration.

Don’t bash a lot of bedrooms. Converting a little-used bedroom to an office is one thing, but build-ins can diminish the ability to use the room as a bedroom again, potentially limiting the use of the room in the future. Consider carefully before repurposing a bedroom in a manner that limits the future utility of the space. The number of bedrooms in a home greatly influences the home’s value. At the same time, putting an extra bedroom in a basement is often a mediocre idea. Code requires two points of egress – a door and usually a window with very specific requirements, which may be expensive. Additionally, basement bedrooms are often unattractive spaces that require special attention to ensure they are not cold and dark.

With these ideas and goals you ought to have a pretty great idea on what (if anything) you want or need to start on to increase the value of your home – and what not to do. If you would like to understand how to view renovations as a buyer, click here to go to our Part 1 of this series. Happy Renovating!

Seasonal sense: Using scent, sight and sound to stimulate holiday spirits

From baking cookies with loved ones to caroling through the neighborhood or celebrating with family and friends, fond memories of holiday traditions abound. Each year, scents, sights and sounds promote the season’s spirit – continuing long-standing traditions and creating new memories.

Here are some ideas for stimulating your senses and evoking the warmth of the holidays in your home:

Savoring seasonal scents
Home fragrances create a warm, inviting environment during the holidays and all year-round. A whiff of a familiar scent often calls to mind memories of holidays past. The scent of cinnamon and vanilla conjures thoughts of freshly baked cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, while a blend of evergreens, cedar, and musk reminds many of Christmas tree hunting in the woods.

One of the safest ways to recreate holiday memories is with scented, wickless candles. With no wick and no flame, there’s no worry or mess. After selecting a favorite seasonal fragrance, it’s easy to place a cube or two of the scented wax into a decorative, ceramic candle warmer. Just one whiff and you are on your way down memory lane.

“A festive, welcoming atmosphere stimulates our senses and reminds us of holidays past as we celebrate with our family and friends,” says Heidi Thompson, president and co-owner of Scentsy, a leader in home fragrance. “A home filled with classic holiday scents not only evokes  memories but inspires new seasonal traditions for young families.”

Behold the sights
Twinkling lights fill the indoor and outdoor landscape during the holidays. To capture the spirit of the season and add a shimmering glow to any room, consider a simple string or two of miniature lights strung along a mantel or displaying a holiday-themed wickless candle. From snowmen to Santa, there are festive designs in all shapes and sizes to complement any decor.

Sounds of the season
The sounds of the season create happy holiday memories. Adding traditional tunes from Bing Crosby or modern interpretations from Harry Connick, Jr. can set the mood as you decorate your home, entertain dinner guests or simply escape the hustle and bustle of the season. Music creates a cheerful atmosphere and often encourages listeners to sing along.

Enjoying the scents, sights and sounds of the season is simple. To learn more about how to fill your home with festive fragrances and decorate with wickless candles, visit

Courtesy of ARA