Saturday, January 25, 2014

B&B's: Ever Thought of Opening One? Here are Some Pros and Cons

I love staying at a Bed and Breakfast. I stay at one whenever I can. We've even found several family friendly ones in our travels. Above is a photo of one of my favorites in Ipswich, MA. The owners actually became like good friends to us since we stayed there often. It's called Kaede, which means maple in Japanese. The ambience of the house combines Japanese and New England Culture (and food). Click on the name if you want more information. I highly recommend it. Tell them Renee sent you.
 I've always dreamed of owning a B&B and I suppose many people do dream of it. I mean I love to entertain, I love to meet new people, I love to bake and cook and I love to decorate. However, I do like my privacy and being "on" 24/7 doesn't appeal to me much. A while ago, I had the opportunity to get an inside look at owning one -- I wrote an article for a local magazine and interviewed three owners about the pros and cons. (I also got to tour three incredible places.)
Here is what I discovered:
§     You’re an entrepreneur and you can control your own time (to a point).
§     You get to meet interesting and nice people from all over the world.
§     There are great tax advantages.
§     You can live in a beautiful and expansive home.
§     You can have cleaning people and expense it.
§     To be successful, you have to be flexible and that means you may not be able to travel when you want.
§     The initial financial investment is always more than you project.
§     Your privacy can be invaded even if you try to draw the line with your guests.

§     You are responsible when things go wrong – if your technology doesn’t work, a storm appears, something breaks – you have to take ownership even if it’s not your fault.
Have you ever dreamed of owning a Bed and Breakfast? Or do you own one? If you know of a great one, why not share it in the comments?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Inspiration for my son's room

I have a 13-year old who is happy with his room, but is thinking about moving onto his older brother's room (for a bigger bed). Of course, we could move the bed into his room, but I'm not sure the two twin beds (currently in his room) would fit into his big bro's room. So, he doesn't really care at this point what the room looks like (quite obvious with the clothes all over the floor), but I'm dying to create!
I'm looking for his feedback so I' gathering some inspiration from the web. Thinking of a subtle ski theme.
Such as these shelves (snow ski, of course) from Junk Market style:

Or these from Liftopia (above)

This would be a cool headboard, shown on

See where I'm going with this? Send ideas my way...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Happy New Year!

Well, I thought I posted this on Monday, but I forgot…so goes my life!
Anyway, my New Year's resolutions for blogging:

  • Post at least one blog post per week.
  • Provide a useful tip in each blog post.

We had an awesome time visiting our parents in Pittsburgh. My husband's parents and my parents live 10 minutes away from one another so it makes life easy! We had a wonderful Christmas and I hope your holidays were great, too. Here are some photo highlights from our past week:
Christmas morning:
Before everyone gets up

new beer brewing kit -- best present ever for him

My talented son, Nolan, designed this tee shirt for my oldest (Houston).

Very surprised at his gift (it involves going somewhere…more to come in a later post).

Christmas Dinner at my sister's:

The celebration continues in Pittsburgh:

Photo fun with my niece and sister-in-law

Chatting after dinner.

 "Reverse Charades" fun:

This one …I just can't figure out!


New Years and Skiing:
Everyone gets champagne or sparkling cider.

Gigi plays some tunes

My niece sharing the celebration via "FaceTime."

My brave son, trying telemark skiing!

Useful info:
How to take great photos (obviously, I didn't actually listen to this advice for all of my photos…hey, the lighting was pretty bad forcing me to use a flash! Excuses, excuses)
1. Make sure photos are in focus and light enough to see the subjects. Use a tripod if the setting is too dark so you won’t get a blurred image.

        2. Remember composition: Try shooting photos from a different perspective; for example, from above or from the side. Step closer to your subject. Questions to ask yourself when taking a photo: Where is the point of interest? What would happen if I zoomed in? For more information on composition, search online for “photography rule of thirds.”
·       3.  Use natural light when you can. Using flash is OK; just make sure the photo isn’t taken against a reflective background (such as a window). Also note that using flash may or may not work depending on how far away you are from the subject.
                  So, that's it! How is your new year going so far?