Monday, February 29, 2016

#MicroblogMonday - 4 pics that make me proud to be a mom

I was given a 4 photo challenge. Callenge
was to post 4 photos that make me proud
to be a mom. These are the tip of the

Summer fun

Brother sandwich


Days gone by ...

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Real Estate Professionals - What Have You Learned This Week?

Lifelong learning for your career and personal growth

There was a period of time that I was constantly searching for learning and growth opportunities. Learning by doing has always been my preference and that is not always the best method. Unless you are doing something very innovative and new learning from those who have gone before you, learning from their mistakes can save time and aggravation. My learning by doing style taught me some tough lessons.

From 1998 to 2005 I sold real estate. A lot of real estate. It was a boom time in my area and it was also a time when many companies were growing in leaps and bounds which meant they were bringing in new employees. The tech companies of the late 1990's and then the pharma companies were all planting roots in and around Boston.
My work as a real estate agent in the burbs had a sharp learning curve. Luckily I am a quick study.

18 years have passed since I had a freshly minted real estate license and since that time I have seen many agents come and go. There have also been many success stories. Mine being one of them. My first year in the business I grossed almost 100k in commissions and from year 2 on I won sales award after sales award at the big blue company where I was affiliated. My last year exclusively selling real estate I was in the top 25% of agents at that large company, which was no easy feat. Many of the other agents in the top 25% sold homes in areas that are much pricier than mine which meant I had to sell twice as much.

One lesson I learned that is still true today is that there are no shortcuts. Talking to people, showing them homes, giving them information on how you can help them get their home sold and writing contracts is what real estate agents get paid for. Lead sources come and go, stay on top of those trends but nothing will ever replace talking to people and developing relationships.

I will be very interested to watch what happens with the new company, SoloPro. The company reminds me of agents I have met (more than one) along the way who have some money to invest in starting a real estate business. Instead of talking to people those agents pay for services that they feel will bring them quick business and success. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not work. One common theme I have seen is that if the agent has not taken the time to learn the real estate business no matter how much money they throw at it it is very difficult to build a sustainable business.

It is critical to know, from talking to clients and consumers individually, what is important to them. Making assumptions about what is important to the client without seeking first to understand their unique situation is a recipe for losing clients.

What do I hope you can learn from this post? It is important to look every day for opportunities to grow and improve as a professional and as a person. Soak up everything you can from the successful agents who have gone before you and from the companies who are doing it right. Training takes time. So does trial and error. Don't get me wrong there will still be situations where you are learning as you go but by taking the time and investing in yourself by investing time in training you will cut down on the trial and error and experience real growth.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Too Much of a Good Thing

A bender. That's what I have been on. For 2 full weeks now I have done pretty much nothing but eat out. I have not even been regularly making coffee at home. Yes, it's that bad.

For some, maybe those of you who live in New York City, that may not sound like anything terrible but where I live there are not the choices and options for amazing, healthy food that exist in other places. I live in the suburbs. Delivery is Chinese food or pizza. Chain restaurants abound.

That's not to say I've been eating all awful food but there has been a lot of it. Everyone knows there is no such thing as bad pizza and we do have an amazing sushi place nearby. The sunken table that you have to take your shoes off to access has hosted me on several occasions recently. The 'Volcano' is as deadly as it sounds and is so good with seafood and some kind of sauce over sushi rolls.  I also went to a fondue establishment I have been wanting to try for YEARS. I had been hinting to my husband to take me there to no avail. I finally got there and yes it lived up to my expectations. Fondue is a blast!

My 'last supper' so to speak was the lunch out with my sister yesterday. Brazilian barbecue short ribs were my choice, rich scallops and risotto was hers. $32 scallops and risotto which brings me to my next point - I have been thoroughly enjoying my cosmopolitan cocktail, dirty martini and wine soaked eating out binge however my wallet is feeling a bit light from it. Too much of a good thing.

Time to get back on the healthy eating wagon and plan some homemade meals. I belong to a great online group 'Healthy Meals for Busy Lives'. I've got some meals planned and my resolve fortified.

It's been fun and I hate to see the fun come to an end but alas it is a must. Here's the start to my plan for getting back on track. Crockpot soups to the rescue! So far it's Italian Wedding and a Tortilla or Taco soup.

I am thinking about following one of those plans where you make 40 "dump" meals in a weekend and put them in your freezer. One of the ladies in the 'Healthy Meals' group did it recently and it worked out great. Have any of you tried it?

My 'Healthy Meals' friend says she spent about $450 and it took 2 days of cooking but her family is loving the dinners and it's saving her tons of time during hectic weekdays.

Here's a link to the plan she followed

So here's a questions - how do you stay on track and out of trouble during busy weeks? Would love to hear from you and learn!

All my best, Wendy

Monday, February 15, 2016

#Microblog Monday - Winters Indoor Sports

Remember that desk I mentioned a few posts back?
I picked it up yesterday and made a trip to the store for supplies to clean it up and restore it. My plan is to use black chaulk paint from the top down and do a natural Cherry top and get a piece of glass for the top. This beauty needs new hardware, which will be fun to select. It really is a nice, solid piece and the back is finished, meaning it could sit in the middle of a room and still look great.
I landed this gem for 40 bucks. It will take some man hours and materials to get it looking great but I think I'll have an awesome desk on my hands when it's done.

It's freezing here in New England so inside pursuits are the way to go. Yesterday was -5 degrees Fahrenheit with the wind chill. Today is a balmy 28 degrees Fahrenheit.
The cold water line to my washing machine froze overnight 2 nights ago, that's how cold it is!
5 feet across!

Dove tail drawers


Back view - 'skirt'

Monday, February 8, 2016

Erma Bombeck Writing Contest - Entry Submitted!

I did it! This was so much fun. It is a writing contest and I got my entry finished & submitted today. 
It had to be 450 words or less - humor or human interest. It is not easy to tell a compelling story in 450 words or less, I loved the challenge of it.
Read my entry below:

1000 Bean Thanksgiving

Lord, I give thanks for blessings, big and small. I have not always had a Thanksgiving like this. That is a story for another time. Thank you for the bounty we are about to receive. Amen.”  - Red Phillips, beloved husband of Ethel May 
In 1930 the Great Depression was upon us There was hardship and little did I know, I had not yet seen my full share of it.  My father, a farmer, struggled with falling food prices.  He laid off the farm hands telling them he'd hire them back next year. 
My school was closing, more bad news. The teacher knew in advance and she taught the older students what we needed to know to get our diplomas. On June 14th 1930 twelve classmates and I graduated. 
Friends set out to see the country and search for work. Riding the rails sounded exciting and I planned a move to Boston. I had heard about jobs there. My parents did not object. I knew they cared about me but leaving would mean one less to feed. 
On the train to Boston hoboes roamed the cars shaking down anyone who did not stand up to them. I was game for a tussle. A raised voice and a gesture with my fist took care of the marauders. 
The time in Boston went quickly.  A job was hard to find. On Thanksgiving I found myself at a diner with the special, 1000 beans on a plate I’d been working for a few months and  wages paid a laborer, like me, were low. My spirits felt to equal my wages. Happy Thanksgiving indeed. 
Holidays on the farm always included a feast, no matter how small our budget. My mother was a skilled homemaker and we always had a bird. 
My situation had a bright spotI learned of a widow renting rooms and three other lads and I took a room splitting the weekly rate. I considered leaving since the cost to board exhausted most of my pay but in the end, with winter coming, I traded a roof over my head for little in my pocket. 
The widow had children and Ethel May, the oldest, was lovely.  Times were bleak but Ethel had a sparkleShe spoke of her father and cried at the loss but it did not keep her from singing in the morning or dancing in the kitchen. 
As I started on my beans, a tear ran down my cheek I heard a voice behind me and  I knew in that instant it was the voice of my bride. She was inviting me for Thanksgiving dessert.  
The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

Bio - Wendy English resides in Hopedale, MA. 
Wife, working mom, full time cheerleader for my kids, aspiring writer. 
Interests include watching rom com movies, following my favorite pro sports teams, historical fiction and losing the 'baby weight' from my 3rd pregnancy 13 years ago.