Pick the Perfect Paint Color


Photo of 3 paint cans with paintbrush

 

If you’ve ever had to pick a paint color you know this major truth, the options are endless. Choosing the right paint color can be an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these 10 tips and you’ll have a new sense of confidence next time you’re in the paint aisle.

 

Bring Inspiration: Take along an existing pillow, piece of fabric, or photo of your space. This will help you make more informed decisions.

 

The Right Light: Make sure to view your paint or paint chips in natural light to assure you’re seeing the color correctly. Paint looks different under artificial light, so try holding the chip near a window or painting a sample on your wall first.

 

Take Home Testers: All the major paint retailers sell paint in small, tester sizes. These are perfect to take home and try out before committing to a full gallon of paint. The small amount will provide you with enough paint to give you an idea of what it would really be like to live with the color.

 

Try Multiple Shades: If you’re having trouble choosing, buy multiple testers and paint side-by-side squares on your walls. Live with them for a few days so you get the chance to see how the colors look morning, noon, and night. Make sure to mark them with identifiers so you’ll remember which one you liked best.

 

Choose Your Drama: Look to the color wheel for inspiration. Colors close together will make a room calm while those farther apart add drama.

 

Do What You Love: Start with a color you love, even if it’s not popular at the moment. Doing this will assure you’ll love the color for years to come. Just remember, your favorite color comes in a range of hues.

 

Lighten Up: If you’re afraid a hue may be too dark, ask the mixer to do a 50 percent tint of the color to lighten it up. Custom colors can also give a room a designer look, but make sure to jot down the specifics of your color for future touch-ups.

 

Room to Room: If you have rooms that are open to one another, avoid choosing radically different colors, which will make the spaces feel chopped up and small.

 

Go Bold: Small rooms that are visited more rarely, like a library or half-bath, can be done in stronger colors that make a statement.

 

Spraying vs. Rolling: Rolling may be the most popular choice, but it’s also the most time consuming and requires touch ups more often. On the other hand, spraying results in a more high-end, professional look that also cuts painting time in half. You can rent high-volume, low-pressure sprayers at most home-improvement stores. With both options make sure you properly cover the areas you don’t want painted.

How to Protect Your Yard From Pests


Photo of Bee on flower

 

High humidity combined with warmer weather creates the perfect habitat for pesky summer bugs. Here are some effective ways to prevent common bites, stings and nuisances.

 

BEES

To prevent bees from establishing a colony in or around your house, it’s important to remember three things: food, water and shelter — bees’ keys to life.

 

As with any other summer bug, stagnant water must be kept to a minimum. Drain pots and repair any faulty irrigation systems. And if you have bird baths or pet bowls outside, mixing in 2 tablespoons of vinegar per gallon of water will discourage any bees from setting up shop near your house.

 

Plan an exterior inspection and eliminate any potential nesting sites. Cover holes, chimneys and animal burrows. Make sure windows and screens are tightly fitted and sealed. If you have any debris in your yard, such as old tires, cardboard boxes or old appliances, throw them out. Bees seek out such items for nesting sites.

 

Removing flowers as a source of food is not recommended. In fact, it’s very important for bees to pollinate many plants, including crops. If you have a colorful garden, not to worry. As long as you have their other two resources tamed to a minimum, you’re in tip-top shape for the summer.

 

GNATS

Although relatively harmless, these small creatures create quite the inconvenience with their constant swarming. Plus, you never know what germs they may be carrying as they travel from place to place.

 

If you garden, you want to make sure your fruits and veggies are staying fresh outside. If you happen to notice rotting or mold, act fast and pluck them out, then turn your soil or mulch to allow any moldy layers to dry out.

 

As with mosquitoes, be diligent in draining any standing water and drying out any moisture. With Texas humidity, the drying process may take a while. In this case, sprinkle a bit of sand on top of your soil, something very discouraging to gnats.

 

MOSQUITOES

Unfortunately, Texas’ No. 1 culprit is here to stay. Aside from the traditional insect repellants and home remedies, it’s best to treat this problem at its source — water.

 

Turn over empty pottery to prevent from collecting water, drain plant saucers and fix any leaking outdoor faucets. Mosquitoes often lay their eggs in stagnant water, so the less the better.

 

SLUGS

Like humans, slugs seek out shade on sunny days. And like many other bugs, they love moist areas.

 

To prevent slugs from damaging your plants and leaving their slimy evidence, get rid of any hiding places. Think cool, dark and moist. Try irrigating your lawn in the morning instead of the evening, allowing plenty of time for plants and soil to dry before the sun sets.

 

To protect plants, spray surrounding areas with soap and water. You can also create barriers around your plants, such as rocks, wire or anything rough and abrasive to slow them down.

 

Lastly, slugs have no bones. Therefore, they can fit in any crack or crevice they set their eyes on. Seal any cracks and cover any holes you notice throughout your house. By doing so, you not only eliminate the potential for slugs, but for other bugs as well.

 

If you’re experiencing bug problems not addressed here, contact your favorite local nursery for expert advice.

 

Global Reach with a Human Touch


 

Being part of the global economy goes far beyond technology; it requires the human touch. Williams Trew and our professional residential real estate agents are proud to belong to the global network whose name says it all — Leading Real Estate Companies of the World. Only the best of the best are part of this collection. Wherever you go, the LeadingRE logo is a symbol of the finest local real estate professionals.

 

“When you choose Williams Trew to represent your property, you’ll benefit from a local team of experts with unmatched global reach working on your behalf,” says Elizabeth McCoy, market area sales leader for Williams Trew. “In addition to the very strong local marketing for which Williams Trew has long been known, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World provides unmatched global marketing and resources, allowing us to provide the very best service to you.”

 

The result? The Leading Real Estate Companies of the World network produced more than $257 billion in home sales last year, representing over 1.1 million transactions.

 

By tapping into the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World network of 135,000 talented sales associates around the world, Williams Trew agents expose homes they represent to buyers on six continents, ensuring there are more eyes on every property. In addition, Williams Trew receives inbound clients from other affiliates around the globe who are interested in purchasing a home in North Texas.

 

“At Williams Trew, we understand the importance of global reach with a human touch when marketing our properties and delivering the highest level of service to our clients,” McCoy says. “If you’re considering listing your home for sale, you’ll find just the right agent — with just the right connections — at williamstrew.com.

 

PHOTO:  The four-bedroom home at 3716 Lenox Drive in the Monticello neighborhood is offered by Joseph Berkes for $735,000.

Ebby Halliday Companies Join CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion


 

In 2019, the Ebby Halliday Companies, which include Williams Trew, joined a growing coalition of CEOs pledging to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. President & CEO Chris Kelly is among the more than 1,000 CEOs who have come together for CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, committing himself and the Ebby Halliday Companies to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

 

“By signing on to this commitment, the Ebby Halliday Companies pledged to take action to cultivate a workplace where diverse perspectives and experiences are welcomed and respected, and where employees feel encouraged to discuss diversity and inclusion,” Kelly says.

 

The Ebby Halliday Companies also appointed longtime leaders within the company Sylvia Sotelo Kidd and Pamela Young Diversity & Inclusion Officers. Since their appointments they have worked diligently to diversify recruitment and ensure that the Ebby Halliday Companies’ offerings reach the widest and most-inclusive group of homeowners and buyers.

 

Organizations joining the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge have taken a step toward effecting positive change, exchanging tangible learning opportunities, creating collaborative conversations and fostering innovation.

 

“Diversity and inclusion are vital to the improvement of our work culture, the future of our business and industry, as well as the future of the region we are privileged to call home,” says Kelly. “As the market leader in North Texas, it is our responsibility to take action.”

 

Kelly says that the Ebby Halliday Companies have recognized that the Southern Sector of North Texas is underserved by residential real estate brokerages and affiliated services, such as mortgage, insurance and title, and they are actively working to expand their presence in the Southern Sector, including the construction of a new office in Cedar Hill.

 

“As we expand our Southern Sector presence, we will increase homeownership opportunities and provide expert representation for the area’s buyers and sellers,” says Kelly. “As part of this commitment, we are dedicated to expanding the diversity of our employees and sales force.”

 

In addition, the Ebby Halliday Companies – which includes three brokerage brands, as well as in-house mortgage, insurance and title brands – recognized the need to hire loan officers from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities in order to best serve North Texas’ increasingly diverse population. Recruiting, hiring and retaining loan officers to better serve the entire North Texas community is one of the company’s stated goals.

 

“It is a priority for us to provide our clients loan officers that they enjoy working with and who serve their home-buying and selling needs by providing a variety of loan products appropriate to their needs,” says Kelly. “This is an important initiative for us in 2020 and moving forward into the future.”

 

To learn more about the Ebby Halliday Companies’ residential real estate brands, visit williamstrew.com, ebby.com and daveperrymiller.com.

Serving You is Our Passion


 

Throughout 2020, the Ebby Halliday Companies – of which Williams Trew is a proud member – are celebrating 75 years of serving the real estate needs of North Texans and those relocating to the region. It all began in 1945, when one bold woman parlayed her wisdom, generosity, business acumen and endurance into what is today the No. 1 residential real estate brokerage in Texas.

 

“Long life is a privilege not everyone – or every company – gets to enjoy,” says Ebby Halliday Companies President & CEO Chris Kelly. “During this anniversary year, we acknowledge this fact with a spirit of gratitude.”

 

The legacy of Ebby Halliday, who founded Ebby Halliday Realtors in 1945, is carried out daily in North Texas through 2,000-plus agents and staff across three real estate brands and in-house mortgage, insurance and title companies. It is now amplified by the Ebby Halliday Companies’ affiliation with Berkshire Hathaway affiliate HomeServices of America, the country’s No. 1 residential real estate company.

 

Acquired by HomeServices in 2018, the Ebby Halliday Companies are modernizing homeownership services and are focused on ensuring that homeownership is available to everyone who wants to own a home in North Texas. Among the company’s primary business objectives in 2020 is furthering access to homeownership opportunities for historically marginalized communities.

 

The Ebby Halliday Companies include real estate brands Williams TrewEbby Halliday Realtors and Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate and core-services companies Prosperity Mortgage, Home Team Insurance and Texas Premier Title.

 

“Simply put, we offer one ‘door’ to everything you need to buy or sell a home in North Texas,” says Kelly.“Purchasing or selling in any other way would be like going back in time. Our complete offering of brokerage, mortgage, title and insurance homeownership services ensures you have the easiest and most secure real estate experience. In good times and most importantly, in challenging times, we have stood by North Texas and North Texans for over 75 years. It would be our honor to put our experience and strength to work for you.”

 

For more information about brokerage, mortgage, insurance and title services, visit williamstrew.com.

 

Tips for Flawless Outdoor Entertaining


 

Summer is here, which means longer nights and warmer weather. What better way to spend a summer day with family and friends than at an outdoor gathering? If you’re hoping to host a backyard soirée, here are some tips that will help things run smoothly.

 

PREPARE YOUR YARD

Tidy up your yard before hosting guests. Mow the grass and pick up any tools, hoses or toys.

 

CHOOSE THE RIGHT SEATING

Patio furniture with thick, comfy cushions are the best option for homeowners who frequent their outdoor space. When hosting a gathering, make sure you have enough seating. Benches and tree stumps are a casual, rustic way to add seating to your outdoor space. Make sure all the seating is clean of debris before your guests arrive.

 

KEEP GUESTS COMFORTABLE

Guests will be more inclined to stay for the duration of the party if they are comfortable. Have ample shade coverage and consider running a fan near the dining area to keep guests cool. You may also want to set out a basket with warm-weather essentials for guests to grab — think sunscreen, insect repellent, handheld fans and iced spray bottles.

 

PLAN A SIMPLE MENU

Opt for recipes that can be prepared in advance and will withstand crowds and heat. Fresh grilled vegetables, pasta salads and guacamole are all popular (and colorful!) choices.

 

ADD LIGHTING

Outdoor globe lights, lanterns and LED candles are all great options for setting a relaxed summer atmosphere. Setting out candles with an open flame is a bit riskier — instead, use hurricane lanterns or jars to shield the flames.

 

PLAY RELAXED TUNES

Set the right tone with a playlist that is easy and laid-back. You don’t want to overpower any conversations among guests. Create a long enough playlist to avoid repeating songs too many times while guests are there.

 

DISPLAY FRESH CUTS

Use flowers and foliage from your own yard as centerpieces. Arrange your fresh cuts in jars or buckets and set them out to brighten up your display.

 

OFFER ACTIVITIES

Providing lawn games like cornhole or croquet will keep your guests occupied and happy. Use butcher paper as a tablecloth and set out crayons for creative people of all ages.

 

KEEP PESTS AWAY

Be sure to protect food with mesh food coverings and light citronella candles to keep bugs away. Eliminate any standing water in gutters or the bottom of flowerpots to keep mosquitoes from breeding there. Offer guests bug wipes and insect repellent.

 

CREATE A BEVERAGE STATION

Make sure your guests are hydrated by preparing a beverage bar or cart stocked with the essentials. Include straws and plenty of ice.

 

OPT FOR MELAMINE

Melamine is an affordable and durable option for outdoor dinnerware. Using the break-resistant plastic will help you reduce waste and also keep the area clear of lingering paper cups and plates.

 

Visit williamstrew.com to view all of the extraordinary outdoor patios on the market that are begging to have you as a host.

 

How to Create a Greener Home


 

There are many different ways to go green at home. Even if you do just one or two of the below five things, you can make a big difference for our environment — and you’ll see the results on your bills.

 

MONITOR YOUR TEMPERATURE

Nearly half of a home’s energy usage goes toward heating and cooling. Keep filters clean, consider a new/more efficient furnace, and make good use of ceiling fans.

 

UPGRADE OUTDATED APPLIANCES

It’s estimated that almost 20 percent of the typical home’s energy bill can be attributed to appliance use. By upgrading to newer appliances, you’ll consume significantly less energy.

 

SAVE WATER

Putting an aerator on faucets can cut your annual consumption by half. Consider installing low-flow toilets, which use just over half the normal amount per flush.

 

LET THE SUN SHINE

The cheapest and most environmentally sound heat and light source is just outside your window. Open blinds, drapes, and shutters to let solar energy warm and brighten your home naturally.

 

USE GREENER CLEANERS

There’s an abundance of green cleaning products available these days. A simple online search will reveal which products are gentler to the environment than others.

Refreshing Summer Recipes


It can be tough to beat the Texas heat, but ice-cold beverages and tasty treats definitely help. Here are some easy and delicious recipes perfect for relaxing on the patio or hanging by the pool.

 

SIPS

CLASSIC LEMONADE

Ingredients:
*6 lemons, enough to make 1 cup of juice
*1 cup white sugar
*6 cups cold water

Directions:
1. Juice the lemons via your preferred method of juicing.
2. Stir together lemon juice, sugar and water.
3. Serve over ice.

 

WATERMELON GREEN TEA

Ingredients:
*3 cups green tea
*8 cups watermelon, cubed
*1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
*1/2 cup seltzer
*Springs of mint, for garnish

Directions:
1. Combine green tea, watermelon and lemon juice in a blender; blend until smooth.
2. Strain through a mesh sieve.
3. Refrigerate until cool.
4. Add seltzer.

 

BLACKBERRY SWEET TEA

Ingredients:
*1 pinch of baking soda
*4 cups boiling water
*4 tea bags
*2 1/2 cups cold water
*3 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen/thawed
*1 1/4 cups sugar
*1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped

Directions:
1. Crush blackberries and sugar together in a large container.
2. Add mint and baking soda; set aside.
3. Drape tea bags over the side of a pitcher; pour boiling water into the pitcher.
4. Steep for 3 minutes; remove and discard tea bags.
5. Combine tea and blackberry mixture; rest for 1 hour.
6. Strain through a mesh sieve.
7. Add cold water and stir.
8. Refrigerate before serving.

 

SNACKS

SWEET RICOTTA AND STRAWBERRY PARFAITS

Ingredients:
* 1 pound fresh strawberries, trimmed and halved or quartered
*1 teaspoon sugar
*1 tablespoon snipped fresh mint
* 1 15-ounce carton part-skim ricotta cheese
*3 tablespoons light agave nectar
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
* 1/4 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
* Fresh mint

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl combine strawberries, sugar and the 1 tablespoon snipped mint; gently stir to combine. Let stand about 10 minutes or until berries soften and start to release their juices.
2. In another medium bowl combine ricotta, agave nectar, vanilla and lemon peel. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.
3. To assemble, scoop 1 tablespoon of the ricotta mixture into each of six parfait glasses. Top ricotta mixture in each glass with a large spoonful of the strawberry mixture. Repeat layers with the remaining ricotta mixture and strawberry mixture. Garnish with additional fresh mint.
4. Serve immediately or cover and chill for up to 4 hours.

 

CAPRESE SALAD PITA POCKETS

Ingredients:
*1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
*4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
*1 cup coarsely chopped cucumber
*3/4 cup mixed spring salad greens
*1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
*2 tablespoons chopped green onion
*1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
*4 large whole wheat pita bread rounds, halved crosswise
* Large soft lettuce leaves (such as butterhead, Boston or Bibb)

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl toss together tomatoes, cheese cubes, cucumber, salad greens, basil, green onion, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.
2. Line insides of pita halves with lettuce leaves.
3. Spoon tomato mixture into pitas.

 

NO-COOK ASIAN CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS

Ingredients:
*3 green onions
*1/2 6-ounce package refrigerated cooked chicken breast strips
*1/2 of a medium green sweet pepper, seeded and cut up
*3 tablespoons rice vinegar
*1 teaspoon sesame oil or olive oil
*1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, as desired
*1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
*1 cup shredded cabbage
*2 tablespoons water
*2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
*8 leaves butterhead lettuce (Boston or Bibb), about 1 small head

Directions:
1. Trim and discard root ends of green onions. Cut off and slice green tops and set aside.
2. In a food processor combine white parts of the green onions, chicken breast, sweet pepper, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, oil, black pepper and, if desired, crushed red pepper. Cover and pulse until chicken mixture is finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl.
3. Add cabbage and toss to combine. Divide chicken mixture into four individual microwave safe containers; chill.
4. Spoon mixture into individual lettuce leaves and wrap.

For dipping sauce, in a small bowl combine sliced green onion tops, 2 tablespoons vinegar, water and soy sauce. Divide among 4 small containers.

 

Count Sheep Not Threads


 

It’s estimated that a person will sleep for a third of his or her life. If you’re spending that much time in bed, you should make sure you like your sleeping conditions. Comfortable sheets are crucial for a good night of sleep, and many people don’t seek out the sheets that are best for them.

 

A common misconception is that higher thread counts mean better sheets. While thread count is important, there are other factors to consider when searching for the perfect sheets: the type of cotton, weave and finish, to name a few.

 

Cost: When it comes to sheets, quality is better over quantity. More expensive sets of 200-thread count sheets will generally be higher quality than a cheaper set of 400-thread count.

 

 

Fiber: Evaluate the length of the sheet’s fiber: longer fibers are better than short and lend themselves to longer lifespans. In addition, Egyptian cotton isn’t a myth, it’s indeed an indication of the quality of the cotton. Make sure the label says 100% or pure Egyptian cotton, because sheets can be labeled Egyptian even if they only contain a small percentage of actual Egyptian cotton. Alternative options are Pima and Supima, cotton-poplin, cotton-polyester and even bamboo.

 

Finish: Sheets may contain bleaches, dyes or finishes to keep them from wrinkling. If you have sensitivities or allergies, steer clear and opt for 100% organic sheets.

 

Thread Count: Thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. Additional threads can be woven in, thus, increasing the thread count. In general, a higher thread count will make the sheets denser. It’s recommended to get anything over 200, but anything higher than 400 isn’t necessarily worth it. The threads used to achieve these higher thread count sheets are often thinner so they can all fit.

 

Weave: Weave is the last thing you should pay attention to and is the determining factor in how the sheets feel and the lifespan. Common weaves are percale or sateen percale features a cool, crisp feel, while sateen is softer and warmer. When it comes to weave, pick what feels best to you.

 

6 Tips for Lasting Flowers


 

Like many businesses, flower shops have taken a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. But as the Texas economy continues opening up, flowers are again in demand.

 

From homemade bouquets to delivered arrangements, here are some tips for making your fresh flowers last longer.

 

Clean vases are a must.

If whatever container you’re putting your stems in isn’t clean, bacteria will continue to grow and kill your flowers. Experts suggest scrubbing the vase with a mixture of 1-part bleach to 10-parts water before rinsing.

 

If a whole leaf is submerged underwater, tear it off.

When leaves remain underwater, they decompose and bacteria can grow. Remove excess leaves and stems to keep bacteria at bay so your flowers will last.

 

The colder the water, the better.

When you want to cook vegetables, you steam them with warm water until they wilt and soften. Think about it like this, if you use room temperature or warm water, you’re causing the flowers to soften. The colder the water, the better your results.

 

Cut stems at a 45-degree angle.

When you cut flower stems with scissors, you are constricting the straw-like tube that allows nutrients to reach the top of the flower. Use a Swiss Army knife for soft stems and a pair of bypass cutters for woody stems. Always trim the stems at a 45-degree angle.

 

Measure flower food precisely.

Avoid dumping flower food into the vase with your flowers. Too much flower food will poison your flowers, and too little is somewhat pointless. Use the directions on the packet of flower food to follow the correct food-to-water ratio.

 

Fresh water is key.

Every two days, or when the water gets cloudy, replace the water in the vase. With each water change, it’s recommended to clean the vase. Use the same steps as above.