Archives for April 2007

Great Causes to Support


I know some of the best people!  These are the kinds of
people who are always looking for ways to use their business sense to help
others. These are successful folks who
realize that, while their own bills must get paid, it is pointless if the
community they live in is not all that it could be.

Ann Johnson helps those closest to my heart – kids. She is part of the Savannah Ambucs. This is the group that provides mobility
solutions for people with disabilities. Kids who are physically incapable of riding a traditional bicycle are
provided with one that they can operate depending on their individual needs.


Tina Torres, my
personal Pampered Chef consultant, is participating in the Help Whip Cancer
program through her business. Pampered
Chef is donating a portion of the proceeds to the American Cancer Society.

Sarahlyn Argrow has turned her passion and her circumstance
into her career. She and her associates
at A Working Woman in Need have developed a phenomenal, non-profit program to assist
single women develop the skill sets they need to be able to go into the
workforce and provide for their families. This group has the best attitude. Don’t shake your finger at the problem and talk about it – FIX IT!


Lisa Scarbrough is the President of Coastal Pet Rescue. This non-profit, all volunteer organization not only saves pets and
finds them homes, but they also provide great education to help us pet owners
care for that four legged family member.

Rich DeLong is the administrator over at Magnolia Manor in Richmond Hill. From guest speakers, special events to daily activities,
this assisted living facility is doing a great job of helping take care of
those who took care of us.

Are there more? Sure
there are. Who are your favorites? Join me in a big “Thanks!” and get the word
out about great people doing wonderful things.



The Richmond Hill/Bryan County Business Expo

There was an encouraging article in this week’s Bryan County News. Ross Blair covered the presentation given by Michael Toma, Armstrong Atlantic State University Director for the Center for Regional Analysis. At a meeting earlier this week, Toma provided evidence that the future of Bryan County includes large growth in population and economics.


Well, the line at my daughters’ schools support the bigger population idea. I have to get there an HOUR before school lets out to keep my kindergartner from labeling me “one of the late mommies.” Seems completely ridiculous, but it a great time to catch up on my reading.

As far as economic development goes, this weekend’s Business Expo provides a big “Yes!” vote. The Richmond Hill/Bryan County Chamber of Commerce has once again put together the event that allows local businesses to showcase their talents and wares. Held at the recreation center in Richmond Hill, Friday night was closed to the public and allowed the vendors an opportunity to peruse the other booths and mingle with the other participants. Saturday and Sunday, however, is the reason they are there. Free to the public, the entire community has been invited out to see what Bryan County has to offer.

Some of the local vendors included:

Page Printing – local printer of just about anything you could possibly need

Century 21 Ways Station – Obviously, my personal favorite as this is our sister office. Suzanne, Deborah, and Rob were out there educating others about Richmond Hill Real Estate

Bryan County News – local, bi-weekly newspaper and Expo Executive Sponsor

Enchanted Unicorn, A Children’s Boutique – Lori Fisher provides cute children’s clothes and great products for when they get dirty. Expo Entrepreneurial sponsor

Cindy’s Custom Framing & Antique Art, Inc Cindy’s shop does great work. She was especially fantastic with my daughter’s third grade art project. Expo Entrepreneurial Sponsor.

Signature Outfitters – Jacqueline Smith provides custom embroidery.

Pampered Chef – Tina Torres helps bring the family back to the table. Expo Entrepreneurial Sponsor.

Southcoast Medical Group – I trust them with my family.

Richmond Hill Magazine – A wonderful magazine focused on Richmond Hill and Expo CEO Sponsor.

Sugar Magnolia Homes – Richmond Hill home builder.

Tupperware – Tanya Tucker has the cure for what ails your leftovers.

Monavie – Jason Torres has some supplements for your health

First Horizon Home Loans – Patricia Small delivers home loans with a personal touch

Cobblestone Photography & Design – Beth Smithberger and the gang show off their phenomenal picture taking skills

Taste of Home Entertainment – Monica Brummer has the products that make home parties a snap

Computer Solutions & Office Supplies – Computer broke? They can fix it!

Skin Essentials – Skin a mess? Michelle can fix that!

The Shoe Box – They’ve got shoes that rock!

Edward Jones – Laura Evans gets you ready to retire – or whatever else you what your money to do.

Top2Bottom Organizing, LLC – Susan Tobelman can rearrange the biggest messes to increase peace and productivity.

International Center for Leadership and Coaching – Dana Boyd provides incredible insight into making life work for you. Expo Entrepreneurial Sponsor.

Energy Oasis Health Club & Day Spa – Kathy Ackerman is one of my personal heroes. Let her get your body right. Expo Entrepreneurial Sponsor.

PocketMedia Marketing – Need to get your brand out there? Jeff and the crew can help.

It was phenomenal to walk around the recreation center and see these guys and many more promoting their already successful businesses. It votes well for Bryan County and even better for those who are realizing their personal dreams.

What you should know about Zillow Part 1

Sometime ago, my husband pointed out a website he thought was pretty neat.  Zillow.  I thought, “What in the world is that?”  Turns out, it is a website that allows the user to search for homes for sale and add their own home to the list. The feature my husband thought was interesting was the “Zestimate.” This is a “value” of your home generated by a Zillow formula. At the time, I didn’t think much of this little feature because, well, I am real estate agent. The concept of a generic formula may sound good in theory.  However, in practice, it is the single biggest mistake in pricing a home. So, I dismissed it. Sort of like Paul, Sr. would dismiss the comparison between a factory Honda and one of his personal OCC creations.  The Honda rides fine, it’s fun. But, when your ready to get serious, give him a call.

I didn’t give it another thought, really. Especially since there are no “Zestimates” in my market anyway.  Type in Hinesville, Ft. Stewart, Richmond Hill, or even Savannah – no Zestimate. In fact, this is the first thing you need to know about Zillow.  As a seller, go ahead and ask your agent to list it there.  The agent will put in the price of the house that you decided on without worrying about Zillow’s generic opinion clouding the field. As a buyer, understand that most of the prices listed are from user input. You are looking at the price the owner set, usually with an agent. Continue to do your research to find out if the price is reasonable.

Kirk and Jeri-Lynn Renovation Project

It is a great benefit of my profession that often clients become friends.  Such is the case with Kirk and Jeri-Lynn.

When I met this couple last year, they were engaged.  Kirk is an officer in the Army.  Jeri-Lynn is a college student. Neither had owned their own home.  Being from out of town, house shopping had to be seriously condensed.  We looked at what felt like hundreds of homes over the course of two days. As you can imagine, that pace is exhausting.  But Kirk and Jeri were such a nice couple, you almost didn’t notice.

They found a cute home.  Perfect starter house.  It was located in a popular neighborhood and the price was good.  However, it had been rental property for some time. As is typical, this meant it needed work.  But Kirk and Jeri weren’t scared – they were actually excited over the opportunity to really get in and make this house their own.

Now, they are no longer engaged – they are newlyweds! I had the opportunity to have lunch with them the other day. Lots of laughs and good company.  Afterwards, they invited me back to the house to see their work.  It was amazing!  Carpet had given way to beautiful laminate.  Kitchen tile had been replaced, wallpaper was replaced by fresh paint, and they had even removed an entire wall to open up the living room!

They aren’t finished yet, but I am sure they will be soon.  I can’t wait to post pictures so you can see why I am so excited for this new couple. I will also share with you some of the funny stories about the cat in the closet and the hole in the wall!

The Newest Member of my Family

As if I didn’t have enough to do, I have adopted a new member into our all ready expanded family. I don’t know why.  Guess I am just as obsessed as everyone else.  They are addictive.

Madison got two for her birthday.  Savannah wanted one of her own.  We spent the better part of a Friday scouring Savannah – nobody had one. Fortunately, Auntie Jennifer had "an extra."  I guess it is common to get more than one. The family grows.

Heard there was a rare place in town that had many of them left to adopt.  So, off I went.  I had to have one for my own.

I introduce to you, Froggy, the Tree Frog, proud member of the Webkinz race and now a member of my family.  I have the adoption certificate to prove it!



Have to go play Webkinz games now, so that I can make Kinz Cash, so I can feed and clothe my newest addition. ‘Cause there’s not enough to do during the day:)

Doctors and Dentist and Children – Oh My!

I was fairly certain that yesterday was gonna be a long one.  I was not disappointed.

The two oldest girls needed their six month dentist checkup – so did I for that matter.  To make things easier, I scheduled them all for the same time.  At the last minute, my office meeting was rescheduled for the same day – ugh.  Drop the kids off at school, get to the office, dash back to pick the girls up for the appointment. Of course they are horrified at my timing.  One would think they would be elated to leave in the middle of the day.  But, unbeknown to me, I had interrupted music and gym class – I should be ashamed!

The girls like the dentist (crazy, I know), so that didn’t make me too nervous.  What I had not anticipated was what they would do to occupy themselves while I was in the chair.  The office is equipped for children – maybe too well.  I hear them chasing each other with the “bug pops out of the bubble gum wrapper” toy.  Not acceptable.  Let’s color.  Savannah decides she wants to be the one to clean my teeth.  She gets to hold the water sucker thing.  She does real good for a minute.  Then she puts in her mouth, tries to suck up things on her shirt and mine, gets bored and drops it.  We need a new one.

Finish up pay the bill (I think my dental insurance costs me more than I save).  Got to get them lunch (they have missed it at school), get them back to class and make it across town because I have a doctor’s appointment myself.  Girls had not considered that they would have to go back to school.  The children that I had to drag out of school now have to be dragged back. Always a pleasant experience.

Get to my doctor’s appointment and the planets must be aligned.  No traffic so I wasn’t late.  Great doctor and she wasn’t late either.  In and out and good to go.  Have to get back across town to round up all the children.  Two oldest – check.  Two youngest – check…wait a minute…

Emily has a fever. She is not happy about it and it is obvious her ear is bothering her.  The change in weather coupled with all this pollen as made her stuff and now I am sure it is in her ears.  Fever gets higher, give her some medicine to help her feel better and watch.  1 AM – fever is back, higher than before and Emily is miserable. Definitely her ears and maybe a bit of sinus.

Today should have been catch up work day after Dentist/Doctor day. Oh well, will have to reschedule that for essentials during nap time. As much as I love real estate, my Emily is way cooler.  I know you are not surprised.

Off to start my Doctor/Mommy day.

My Beautiful Chaos

Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.
Henry AdamsThe Education of Henry Adams

I have been asked about my tagline “Beautiful Chaos.”  Where it comes from and what it means.  It was born during a conversation with a girlfriend and is the perfect definition of my wonderful life. And I love explaining it and refuse to apologize for it.

I look down at my daily planner, cross check it with the one on my desk, then make sure I haven’t missed something on my Outlook. First thing that crosses my mind as the coffee touches my lips – “yeah, right.”

Some may think it is a defeatist attitude to start the day knowing that 10% of your “to do list” will still be left to do tomorrow. Not me. I am a busy woman with lots of priorities. I will get to them all – eventually. I will leave the “performance guilt” for somebody else.

My husband adores me, my children think I’m the best, my friends depend on me, and my company regards me as valuable. Who cares if I failed to chart the steps or follow the action plan? So what if there was a day (or week) my house was messy, or my desk cluttered. I love my beautiful chaos!

Liberty County pursues “Entrepreneur Friendly” State Designation

It amazes me each time I am out with a new home buyer and they ask, “How are the business opportunities in the area?” The courage of people who will move into a new area and begin a new business is impressive. It is a trait I admire and so I was excited to hear Kenny Smiley address the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce’s plan to help these folks out.

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) Small Business & Innovation Division has implemented a procedure facilitated by the Regional Project Managers-Entrepreneur & Small Business (RPM-ESB) to help communities build a framework for entrepreneurs to find information quickly, easily, and effectively. The outcome of this, hopefully, is to provide a better start for new businesses and increase collective economic growth. 

The steps to the plan are centered on creating a comprehensive and user friendly step by step guide to starting your own business in said town. The efforts are then reviewed by the RPM-ESB and they will issue the designation of “Entrepreneur Friendly” is successful and assist in the plan implementation. 

Only a handful of counties have achieved this designation as of this writing. More are in the process and many have not even started. It should be a credit to Hinesville, and Liberty County as a whole, that they are taking the leap and putting forth the effort to produce a system where tomorrow’s entrepreneurs have a head start on the road to success.

Go the Distance

If you stop this fight
I’ll kill you.”

Rocky Balboa in Rocky

I am a huge Rocky fan – even Rocky V. I love his optimism, sincerity towards his fellow man, and his never-say-quit attitude. Even when he is beaten, he is not broken and he is not a loser. He doesn’t come from affluence, he is not educated, he doesn’t even have a plan. But he believes in himself when no one else does and in others when they don’t believe in themselves. Rocky gets his shot against the heavy weight champion of the world. They beat each 0ther mercilessly. Even Mickey wants him to quit. Rocky then becomes the first man to go the distance with Apollo Creed. He doesn’t win the fight, but at this point,  who cares?

How do you define success? More importantly, what are you willing to do to get there? If the opportunity is not there, that’s just a fact of life. But, if the opportunity is thrown away because it becomes too hard  or we get lazy, then it is a waste. Commit to the fight. If it wasn’t worth it, you would have never stepped in the ring. You owe it to yourself to go the distance.

Imagination Sparks Creativity

“. . . you can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”

Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

Spring is here!  Aside from the pollen, it is a wonderful time of year.  The window at my desk finds more children playing now that the weather is nicer.  Work is slowed by the distraction, but the added inspiration is worth the wait.

A child’s energy can often spark the imagination.  They force us out of our “adult brain” box.  Trees become castles, bikes are fast horses, and bushes become the jungle of peril.  The art of make believe creates a wealth of ideas and problem solvers.  These are two of the things most of us would say we need more of in business and in life.  Many times we are paralyzed by that project that won’t wrap up or that issue that has no resolution.  Frustration makes it worse.  Productivity and success suffer.

Take a minute to enjoy the spring.  Watch the kids play, the flowers bloom and the sun shine.  Exercise your imagination and watch your accomplishments soar!