Habits & Traditions Something that gives meaning to my life--and I think to everyone's--are those little daily activities that become rituals. One such habit that is important to me is my morning-coffee-at-Stabucks-with-Jo-and-Pame. Here's how this got started: Jo and Pame, best friends since high school, had coffee every morning. At some point, 15+ years ago, I crashed their coffee, and they let me keep coming. I like to think I eventually became essential. My morning pattern, without fail, has been: get up, workout, meet Jo and Pame. You'd be surprised how much news and information builds up over 24 hours. Our conversations are like an ongoing saga about which we three know very well the back-story and inside details. Over the years, we have talked through kid stuff, home remodels, personal tragedies and triumphs, retirements, unretirements, new ventures, travel, books, and so much more. Often, we have all been invested (very invested) in the same TV shows, and so we'd need to rehash that week's episode of, say, Downton Abbey. It is true that Coronavirus has impeded our morning get-together. For probably two months, we didn't meet at all and only caught up by text and phone call. That was disruptive to my routine, and I didn't like it. But we had to be safe. Slowly, we have added careful-distance coffees at each other's homes. I look forward to the day--and I know it's coming!--that we reclaim our regular table at Starbucks and our mornings return to "normal." Sometimes what we discuss is of critical importance; sometimes it is silly stuff that matters to no one but us. But I love being able to count on this time together. Here's to the little habits that make life worth living!
Neighborhood Spotlight: Caruth Hills
Fun Fact: For a quick minute, I was the President of the Caruth Hills Homeowners Association. Chris and I lived in Caruth Hills somewhat briefly--2 years-- and enjoyed our time there thoroughly. Let me back up for some background and history: Caruth Hills is a neighborhood with a population of around 2500 that represents the last piece of land that the Caruth family had retained of their original enormous tract that stretched from downtown to Forest Lane. Driving east on Caruth, you pass under a gorgeous bower of trees (see photo above). If you are a Dallas native, you might remember that as recently as the early 80s, you could still see the Caruth Farm if you went to North Park--with horses and cows grazing in a field right there on Northwest Highway. Roughly (because the boundaries are complicated), Caruth Hills is situated between Northwest Highway to the north, Central Exwy to the east, Lovers Lane to the south, and Airline Rd to the west. Parts of the neighborhood are within the Highland Park Schools, and other areas are DISD. What this means is that there is quite some variety in the home values in the area (see below for some sample listings-- not mine).
Before moving to Caruth Hills, I was amused by the thought that there were any hills over there. As a Park Cities native, I feel I know the surrounding area pretty well...and it's almost entirely flat. But in fact, there are indeed some hills in Caruth Hills. It's just that to really experience them, you almost need to be on foot. Let's put it this way: At the end of a long run, you absolutely can feel the hill going up Boedecker towards Northwest Highway. Caruth Hills is walkable to Caruth Park and Snider Plaza, and the neighbors are friendly, fun, and proud of the Caruth Farm history of the neighborhood. The neighborhood association throws a heck of a Christmas party, too. As a final note, the old Caruth estate, dating back to the late 1800s, is still standing, tucked away in Caruth Homeplace (part of the neighborhood). Go check it out sometime!
Real Estate Vocab: "Romance"
Early in his real estate career, Chris announced that I'd be writing most of the romance for his listings. I had zero idea what he meant. But I quickly learned that "romance" is agents' term for the write-up, or blurb (less poetically, the description) that accompanies a property listing. The more practice I got writing the romance, the more I understood how fitting this label actually is. When you write up "the romance" for a new listing, if you do it well, it should be enticing and intriguing. The reader should already be half in love with the property before he/she even sees it. Not surprisingly, it is easier to write the romance for some properties than others. But whatever a property's strengths or weaknesses, I use the romance to highlight and honor what is awesome about a home (there's always something!). Writing real estate romance is one of my favorite parts of the job!
Home Maintenance Tip: There's no denying that Carrera Marble is lovely. Kitchen and bathroom surfaces are so trend-driven, but Carrera is perennially in fashion for those who love the sleek, white look. That said, it is a sensitive, finicky surface. When we bought our current home, Chris and I loved all the Carrera marble, but we couldn't help but notice plenty of water spots and other blemishes that marred the overall impact of the beautiful stone. I had tried every cleaner known to man, and I was just about to get quotes to replace the
marble, when I happened to mention this dilemma to super-star interior designer Peyton Wood. How fortunate that I mentioned my plan to her first! She put me in contact with Marble Care Unlimited...and a week later, my countertops looked as good as new (which is to say, more lovely than when we even bought our home!). So there you go. Don't give up on your Carrera marble! It can be fixed, but a pro has to do it. I'm not going to pretend this was wholly inexpensive...but it was a lot more cost-effective than entirely new countertops!
Stuff I Adore
*Apartment complex names (yes, you read that correctly; this one's a little esoteric; stay with me): I've always been someone who notices names-of-things. I guess it's how I'm wired up, and one of the best examples of this is names of apartment complexes. This--call me crazy--has been a fascination of mine for a long time. I think they interest me largely because I end up wondering, "But why?" in response to these names. The first apartment complex name I ever recall noticing was "The Premises" out on Forest Lane and Greenville Avenue. I couldn't let go of the fact that the word "premises" is almost always used negatively (e.g., "Stay off the premises!"). Who would purposely give an apartment complex that name? Yet someone did. Another I've noticed in more recent years (but it's been there forever): "The Tradewinds" at Lemmon and Inwood. This one makes me wonder: what is it about this complex that calls to mind the tradewinds? What exactly are the tradewinds? (yes, I finally got curious enough to look it up). Finally, one of my favorites is at the corner of Ross and Live Oak, and I will actually go out of my way to make sure I pass it, just because I like to think about it: the "Sun & Sands." This complex is smack in the middle of a cool, edgy, urban East Dallas neighborhood. For whom does that spot evoke something like a beach? On a sunny day, there is obviously sun there, but is there ever sand? Well, now I fear I've over-shared about how my brain works. But there you have it: I really enjoy thinking about words, names, and the process of naming. *Oishii--Oishii is the best sushi place in town. In a pinch, I'll go to others, but I spend the whole time wishing I were at Oishii. The sushi is sooooo fresh and sooooo yummy, I can't even do it justice. Just do this: Go to Oishii (I prefer the original on Maple), and place this order: edamame (to start); and then the Royce Roll and the Caesar Roll. If you are really hungry, get a side of the fried rice with chicken. It is A-MAZE. But it's mostly about the rolls. Than Nguyen, the owner, used to live two doors down from us, and I'm not going to lie: it was awesome how he would have us moved up on the waitlist and get us a premium seat at the sushi bar (which is the most fun spot). Actually, he still does this. He moved a few streets away, but he still finds space for his old Livingston neighbors. I cannot say enough about how fabulous this sushi is. Just go. Go now.
7512 Wentwood DriveDallas 4 Bed | 5 Bath
7807 Lovers LanePark Cities--Recently Sold 3 Bed | 2 Bath