September 18th, 2014 at 2:00 pm


In decades past, suburbs were the place to be. Affluent residents moved out of the cities to settle down and start families. Today, we’re seeing the reverse. As poverty levels rise in the suburbs, more well-educated and affluent residents are choosing to stay in cities across America in favor of shorter commutes, walkable communities and urban amenities.

According to a recent report by the Brookings Institution, in a survey of the 100 largest metro areas all but three saw the number of poor living in high-poverty or distressed neighborhoods in suburban areas grow during the 2000s. While poverty has worsened in neighborhoods throughout the Unites States, it’s growing in the nation’s suburbs. “Suburbs now have nearly as many poor residents in high-poverty neighborhoods as cities,” the study says.

Read the full study and see how it’s affected your city at


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September 18th, 2014 at 11:00 am


Whether you’re buying or selling a home, your relationship with your real estate agent is more than just a business relationship. Its foundation should be built on trust and confidence. Sometimes the relationship might not be working as you expected, and you and your agent just aren’t a good match. It’s OK to terminate the relationship if you believe you could be better served elsewhere.

As a buyer, you should only be working with one real estate agent. Although you may not have signed a contract, real estate agents put in long hours, often based on good faith. If you are working with more than one agent, you should break off ties and only work with one. The newer a relationship is, the easier it will be to end. If you’ve been with an agent for a long time but don’t think things are going well, start by being honest with that person. Give your agent feedback about what is and isn’t working for you. If the agent can work to remedy the situation, let him or her know. However, if you are ready to move on, make that clear to the agent.

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September 17th, 2014 at 11:30 am

When it comes to interior design, a staircase can present both a challenge and an opportunity. Below we’ve compiled some of our favorite interior design trends to help you lighten, brighten and freshen up your stairway. For more design inspiration, check out our staircase board on Pinterest at

  1. Create a wall gallery along the wall of your staircase. For best viewing from the first floor, hang the frames low on the wall and follow the angle of the stairs.
  2. Use a vinyl wall decal. These can be found on a number of websites and in stores. Some places allow you to create your own text. For a bolder statement use, vinyl decals along the base of your stairs to create a message as you walk up.



  3. Go contemporary by using a stencil or wallpaper only on the adjacent staircase wall.



  4. (more…)

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September 16th, 2014 at 11:30 am

About eight miles east of the Puerto Rico mainland, in the northeast portion of the Caribbean, is the picturesque island Vieques. The 55-square-mile island is home to about 14,000 people and the brand-new El Blok hotel.

Music executive Simon Baeyertz formed a partnership with architects Fuster + Partners to create El Blok. Twenty-two rooms come in five varieties: Estandar, Esquina, Terraza, Doble and Silencio. Rooms are simplistic with a touch of luxury and designed with relaxation in mind. Most of the furnishings were crafted locally from native materials.

El Blok’s restaurant and bar, Placita, is run by chef Jose Enrique and plays on the traditional Spanish and Creole influences of the island. “I like to say we’re a restaurant with rooms above,” Baeyertz says.

Read what The New York Times had to say or book your reservation by visiting


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September 16th, 2014 at 10:00 am


If you have hard water in your home, you’re no stranger to the white and brown spots on your sinks, tubs and glass. Any time your water is used, hard water spots can appear. Having hard water means it’s high in calcium, and the stains or rings you see are calcium deposits that remain after water has evaporated. However, these spots can be removed with little effort. Try any of these cleaning methods to get your kitchen and bathroom sparkling in no time.

  1. Try an oxalic acid-based cleaner. It quickly removes hard-water stains with minimal applications or continued scrubbing.
  2. Put lemon juice in a spray bottle and lightly apply to spots. Let stand for a few minutes before removing. This may take several applications.
  3. Spray vinegar onto the spots, let stand and scrub until removed. Another option is to combine the vinegar and lemon.
  4. Create a paste using vinegar and baking soda. Let the paste sit on the stain for about 10 minutes before scrubbing clean.
  5. LIME-A-WAY® and CLR® are corrosive and toxic cleaners, so use caution when applying on natural surfaces. Test each product in a small area before use.

One of the best things you can do is try several different cleaning methods. It can be difficult to tell which method will work best as ratios, dilutions and the severity of the calcium buildup all have an impact. Let us know your favorite cleaning tips and how you prevent hard-water buildup.


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