January 28, 2018

Real estate resolutions worth making in 2018

February is almost here. But it’s not too late to make New Year’s resolutions. Better yet, why not make real estate resolutions that will help you buy a home quicker? Setting goals can help. By pinpointing your aims and pursuing strategies to attain them, you stand a better chance of reaching your targets.

Experts weigh in on how to set homebuying goals in my latest column for The Mortgage Reports, which you can read here.

January 21, 2018

That toddlin' town

Many know it best as “the Windy City.” It was christened “the city of big shoulders” by poet Carl Sandburg. Frank Sinatra crooned that it was “My Kind of Town.” Legendary mayor Richard J. Daley’s “the city that works” slogan has stuck around since the 1970s. And you might as well have dubbed it title town after Michael Jordan’s heroics in the 1990s.

While the nicknames may have changed, the name of the game hasn’t: Chicago remains a world-class city that stands tall when it comes to entertainment, culture, history, architecture, innovation, and civic pride.

No wonder it's often chosen as the site of many an organization's annual meeting, as was true in late 2017 when the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) opted to host its once-a-year convention in Chicago. I wrote a Chicago tourist guide in advance of the NACS Show that published in late 2017, which you don't have to be a 7-Eleven owner to use or appreciate. Click here to read my guide.

January 14, 2018

School of love

Kellie O’Brien and her daughter Heather can teach you a lot about perseverance and the power of women determined to make a difference. The school they helped build in Tanzania 10 years ago can also teach a lot of impoverished students—over 430 a year, in fact.

Back in 2007, the O’Briens travelled from their home in Hinsdale, Ill., to Tanzania, East Africa, to perform volunteer work at a Franciscan convent. After learning that the local village lacked a primary school, mother and daughter began gathering the funds and resources to open one. Within a matter of months, the O’Brien School of the Maasai opened its doors, offering year-round instruction to kindergartners through seventh graders.

Read the entirety of this feel-good story, published in this month's Costco Connection magazine, by clicking here.

January 5, 2018

Going against the grain

Oaks, ashes, hickories and maples can coexist harmoniously in the wild. But can they and other wood species play nice when gathered in the same room? For homeowners who prefer the natural beauty of wood furniture, floors, decor and trim and don't want to go against the grain of proper design, it's an important question to answer. The good news is that, while experts recommend some do's and don'ts when it comes to pairing woods in a room, the right choices come down to personal preference.

Before you suffer any "wood-a"-shoulda-coulda regrets, read my new story on this subject, published in the Omaha World-Herald.