5 lessons from my Dad


“Five Lessons from My Dad” is something I wrote a couple of years ago. While I rarely look backwards, many of my life decisions have revolved around these lessons and it’s worth revisiting. Happy Father’s Day!

Just like my Mom, my Dad taught me valuable lessons about life.  When you’re growing up, you’re not thinking about what your parents are teaching you.  You’re thinking “Man..this is so dumb.  Why are we talking about this again?”  (This was constantly running through my head while in middle/high school along with: “Why do I have to stop reading to listen to this?”)  In honor of my pops and Father’s Day, here are five things my Dad taught me.

Be kind.  This sounds like a no brainer but I’m constantly surprised by people’s bad behavior. It’s one of the tenets of my personality and a lot of days, it’s hard. Everyday there’s someone I want to blast but I don’t.  (Most of the time.  I’m not perfect and I complain a lot instead).

Be on time or early.  My Dad taught me that being late is rude.  It conveys a message to the person you’re meeting that their time isn’t important.  I’m always punctual and when I’m late, it stresses me out.

Pay your bills on time.  This lesson was one of the best things my Dad taught me.  I always had a job at our restaurant when I was growing up. When I got my first bills in college, my Dad made certain I knew the importance of paying bills on time and how it led to good credit. Having good credit has been instrumental in my adulthood when purchasing cars and my home.

Work hard and you shall achieve.  When I was growing up, my Dad worked incessantly. When I was little and we lived in Northern Virginia, he was a teacher, a painter, a driver’s ed teacher and a photographer.  He worked hard to provide my brother and me with a great childhood.  It also led to a beach house and a wonderful retirement.

Your actions say it all.  My Dad was an excellent athlete.  He still has football records that remain unbroken in his home state of WV.  When my brother and I played sports when were younger, he taught us  actions always speak louder than words. While I don’t play sports any longer, I apply this lesson daily to both my personal and professional life.

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gift guide fathers dayI can’t believe it’s Father’s Day this weekend! Here’s a few gift options that will please any of the men in your life.

j’s hot sauce four pack sampler   This is my friend Jason’s hot sauce company.  It’s delicious and for those who love hot sauce, it’s no joke! Especially #4.  It makes my husband break into a sweat every time he eats it.

grill tool set  The grilling essentials and it comes in different colors.  I’m getting orange because my Dad’s high school colors were orange and black.

kamado charcoal grill and smoker  New grill tools to use on a new grill and smoker.

bacon subscription Bacon is never bad! especially if you love blt’s. yum.


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chevron doorOn Friday, my husband and I took the train to Philly to visit with some cousins.  It was fast and furious but tons of fun.

My cousin took Friday off and set up an epic walking tour of the city. We explored a couple of new (to us) neighborhoods like Fishtown and Northern Liberties. This crazy door is the entrance to Frankford Hall, one of the many beer gardens that populate Philly. We also stopped off at the La Columbe and grabbed a snack from Snap Kitchen.

Side note: I’m fascinated by Snap Kitchen. It’s a fast casual, healthy meal shop and I can eat the majority of the stuff in there.  Do you know HOW EXCITING that is???  I asked if they were going to open on in DC and they said “real estate is expensive”.  Le sigh.  Anyway..I tried their Silken Chocolate Mousse and it was delicious.  Imagine-Vegan, Dairy and Gluten Free mousse and it was actually *delicious*.  See why I got excited?


My cousin also knows how much I love decor shops and took us to one of his favorites, Minima. This store is incredible! FYI-they said a lot of their clients live in DC.  If this type of furniture is your jam, check out their website or better yet, go visit.


On Saturday, there was an art fair in Rittenhouse Square. We meandered through the show and my favorite part was the poppies. Next we did some shopping. Just like on our last trip to Philly, we hit Joan Shep, EYEsite and Egan Day.  Do not miss these shops next time you’re visiting.  They’re so fun!

In between all the walking and shopping, we also ate and drank well. We had lunch at High Street on Market (my husband LOVED his roasted pork with fermented broccoli rabe sandwich), cocktails at Circa Green and dinner at Veda. 

While it was a whirlwind trip (we were there a a little over 24 hours..I had to work on Sunday) we had a blast. Thanks for showing us your city, cousins!!

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five lessons from my mom

mom and me

“Five Lessons from My Mom” is something I wrote a couple of years ago and it’s one of my favorite posts.  Many of my life decisions have revolved around these lessons and it’s worth revisiting. Happy Mother’s Day!

My Mom has taught me a lot about life.  Throughout my adolescence and most of my 20’s, I rolled my eyes about these lessons.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized these are the tenents of my life and I’m grateful.  So Mom..despite all the years I dismissed them, these are my favorite lessons.  Happy Mother’s Day!

1. Work hard and you will achieve. My Mom always worked hard. After starting her career as a teacher, she worked in our restaurants and then for a publisher selling educational textbooks.  She won many sales awards, she worked insessantly and helped fund a wonderful retirement.

2. Wear lipstick.  Image is important.  For years, I thought this was the silliest, most superficial advice.  Then I realized she’s right.  People judge you as soon as they meet you.  If you’re pulled together, the impression is more favorable.  It’s sales 101.

3. Laughter is the best medicine. Whenever I’m having a terrible day, I try to find humor in something.  Laughing always makes me feel better.

4. Be curious.  My Mom is curious and she taught me to be the same. It’s why I love to read and travel.

5. Good grammer is important.  My Mom is a former English teacher.  While I used to find her corrections annoying, now I’m grateful. Poorly written sentences make me cringe.


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Rise Bakery, located at 2409 18th St, NW in Adams Morgan, is a gluten-free bakery.  This is monumental news in my gluten free world.  A couple of months ago, my husband popped by there and grabbed a few things: a bag of bagels, a loaf of bread, a banana nut muffin and a cinnamon roll.  They were delicious and I was so exited. Good gluten free bread and pastries are hard to find.

I had an appointment today in Adams Morgan so I popped by the bakery. I grabbed a chocolate croissant and a cherry-ginger scone. I was not disappointed!  Is the croissant light and flakey like a regular croissant?  Nope but it’s pretty close in taste. I ate it in 3.2 seconds.

The cherry-ginger sconce was also yummy. Out of everything I’ve sampled, I’ve liked the croissant, banana nut muffin and the cinnamon roll the best.  Their bread is also tasty. If you’re gluten free, Rise Bakery should be on your list of places to try in DC.


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life via instagram aprl

Why hello there. I’ve been a little lax on the ole blog because I can’t seem to muster up a lot of enthusiasm. I’ve been writing about real estate, design and things I love for TEN years. My creativity has dried up and work has been crazy. (Correlation? Possibly but I’m too tired to figure it out). I’m still exploring new places and things but really, I’m a kinda over writing about it. Kinda. There’s still a host of topics that pique my interest.  You’ll definitely still be hearing from me. However the days of daily postings are a thing of the past.  If you’ve noticed, I’ve been publishing twice a week.  That’s my plan for the future and I hope you keep reading.  Till next week!

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life via instagram

My trip to LA over President’s Day weekend was a ton of fun. The only downside: the weather! The weekend we were there, LA had a “monster storm” and it rained like crazy two out of the five days we were visiting.  Figures.  They’ve had a drought for four years but the weekend we visit, it’s a deluge.

We spent a couple days in Pasadena with my Aunt and Uncle then moved onto LA. While in Pasadena, we ate at wonderful restaurants and visited the Norton Simon Museum.  The museum was incredible and had a mix of old Masters and modern art.  I found a new artist that I like: Sam Francis.  I’d never heard of him but I LOVED the “Basel Mural 2”. I wish I could recreate it.

On Saturday, we met up with more family but on the Angotti side.  We spent the day with them at the LA Natural History Museum and then checked out their neighborhood in Hollywood.  It was cute! California has an interesting mix of housing styles and I enjoyed gawking.  Always a real estate agent.

We stayed at Santa Monica pier at the Shore Hotel for the rest of our visit. A few of my DC friends have absconded to LA and live in Venice Beach.  Santa Monica was the perfect location between Hollywood and Venice.  Saturday and Sunday we spent hanging out in Santa Monica and Venice.  Saturday evening we ate at Michael’s (which was seriously amazing) and Sunday we had brunch at Scopa. Venice was adorable and I loved all the shops on Abbot Kinney Rd.

Although we managed to pack a lot of visiting and wandering while we were there, there’s still neighborhoods that I want to explore.  Next visit!


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off to la

la sky

I’m off to LA tomorrow and I’m looking forward to sunshine and nice temperatures.  At least 2 of the 4 days will be nice. Even though LA has been having a drought for the last 4 years, apparently this year they’re getting record rainfall.  While I’m pumped for LA, I’ve been feeling a lot of *#%^ due to the weather forecast.  Le sigh.

I’m spending a couple days in Pasadena and then a couple of days in LA proper.  More on my adventures next week. Have a happy President’s Day weekend!

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Hope you have a wonderful day full of chocolate and champagne! xoxo

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bathroom after bed1

Although the guest bathroom renovation finished in July, it wasn’t photo worthy until recently.  I’m thrilled with the final result!

before after guest bathroom bed

It’s unbelievable how new tile adds to a space.  For the floor, I chose a 5 x 5 carrera marble hexagon tile.  It’s a small space so it made a big impact.  I used a matte white subway tile and grey grout for the rest of the  bathroom. I am overjoyed not to see brown, builder grade tile anymore.

before after shower stall

My only regret is not adding a niche in the shower wall for shampoo and soap.  I can’t believe I spaced on adding one!

before after guest bath hallway

I also replaced the original toilet with a Toto dual flush toilet, tiled behind the toilet for a more cohesive look, added a shut off valve for the shower and switched the shower hardware to match the sink hardware.

The art is by Kristi Kohut as detailed in this post.  The ocean print above the towel bar is from Urban Outfitters.  It’s by Tina Crespo and it says “the cure for anything is salt water. sweat, tears, or the sea”.  True words.

Total cost was around $3,000 for labor and materials.

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winter reads

reads jan

I love curling up on the sofa with a blanket and getting lost in a good book. As we make our way through snowy, cold days, here’s a few books that have caught my interest.  I’ve read almost all the books that are on the “lists” and many didn’t impress. (I’m talking to you The Underground Railroad, Sweetbitter, The Wonder, The Girls. I know but I didn’t like them. Don’t bother unless you can check them out of the library.)

What I did like was:

The Assistants by Camille Perri. An accurate, hilarious portrayal of life as an assistant.

The Commonwealth by Ann Patchett.  All the hype is spot on.  An engaging tale about complex, family relationships.

Faithful by Alice Hoffman.  I LOVED this book and blew through it in an afternoon. The story is about growing up with a burden of guilt.

the book that matters most by Ann Hood. What books matter most to you? That’s the premise of the novel and it explores the relationship of why book matters and how literature can heal.

The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close.  This books is so DC, I had to include it.  It’s about the Obama campaign and it made me laugh.

small great things by Jodi Picoult.  As always, Jodi Picoult delivers a thought provoking book that’s a timely message about race.

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan. A feel good novel about following your dreams.

Happy reading!


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happy 2017!


Why hello!  I’m a couple of days late in wishing you a Happy New Year but getting back to work is hard.  I spent the last couple of weeks working, enjoying my family and friends, and reading 8000 books.  Ok..I only read 15 and some were only 250 pages.  It was a really great holiday!


This year was quiet as my Uncle couldn’t join us for the annual Christmas Eve fish fry. Instead, these jokers helped my Dad.  It’s a lot of work but they have a great time.

Meanwhile, the rest of us were inside waiting for the pepperoni rolls to come out of the oven. Christmas Eve is one of my favorite days of the year!


The hilarious part?  This compilation of my Dad cooking on Christmas Eve the last four years. Does this man age? He’s certainly having a good time every year!


While I had a wonderful time, I’m glad I’m back in DC and getting geared up for 2017.  I think it’s going to be a wild and crazy year for real estate.  I hope it’ll be a year full of fun as well!


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