Vinegar and Real Estate. Really? Part II

On Tuesday I posted about some of the great uses for saving your real estate and how handy this inexpensive product is in use for all areas in your home, whether it be Naples, Florida or Naples, Italy.  Click here is you missed Part I.

This is one of my all time favorite uses and I use it about every 3-4 weeks because the coffee stains cloud the pot and I’m a bit anal, I really can’t enjoy my coffee unless it comes out of a sparkling carafe and not something that looks like it survived an army barracks back in the 40’s.  My husband will probably be humiliated that this is going in print, but, he told me that when he worked in the tv studio, he never washed his coffee cup!  Yuk.  He dumped the coffee, ran an eye dropper full of water thru it and called it a day.  For 7 years folks!  A Petri dish would probably have less bacteria.  I’m thinking it probably contributed greatly to his hair loss but, what do I know??!   Remove stains from coffee and teacups by scrubbing them gently with equal parts of salt (or baking soda) and white distilled vinegar. Rinse clean.  Or, for the internal system, try this:  Remove mineral deposits from coffee makers with white distilled vinegar. Fill the water reservoir with 1 cup or more of white distilled vinegar and run it through a whole cycle. Run it once or twice more with plain water to rinse clean. (Check the owners’ manual first.)  I admit, I only do this about once a year.  OVENS: Avoid the bad smell when you heat up a newly cleaned oven by using a sponge soaked in diluted white distilled vinegar for the final rinse. To clean a grease splattered oven door window, saturate it with full-strength white distilled vinegar. Keep the door open for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping with a sponge.  Easily clean your mini blinds by wearing pair of white cotton gloves.  Dip gloved fingers into a solution of equal parts white vinegar and warm tap water, and run your fingers across both sides of each blind.  Get rid of calcium deposits on faucets by soaking a cloth or paper towel in white distilled vinegar and wrapping the area tightly. Let this sit for a couple of hours or overnight.  Remove soap buildup from faucets by scrubbing them with a solution of 1 part salt to 4 parts white distilled vinegar. GUYS, LISTEN UP:  Clean hardened paint brushes by simmering them in a pot with white distilled vinegar. Soak them first for an hour before bringing the white distilled vinegar to a simmer. Drain and rinse clean.  Clean your grill by spritzing white distilled vinegar over wadded up aluminum foil and scrubbing the grill vigorously with it.  Drum roll please….and my #1 favorite reason for the use of vinegar:  Remove the smell of a dead mouse or other rodent (after removing all animal remnants) by wiping down the area with either white distilled vinegar or bleach. Then place a fabric softener sheet in the area to remove any lingering odors. Hasn’t this been a great learning experience!  For further information or any questions on Naples real estate please contact Ruth Bethem at Ruth@RuthBethem.com or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.

Vinegar and Real Estate. Really? Part I of II

Want a few tips on how to keep one of the most important investments (your home) in top shelf condition here in Naples, FL?  Well, I’m first going to test you:  Who remembers this really fun game on tv in the late 70’s early 80’s called the $10,000 Pyramid?  You’re smiling so you must know what I’m talking about.  If you guessed all the blocks on the pyramid, you won the top cash award.  They gave one word hints and the player had to guess what all those items had in common.  Some were so far off the wall a psychic couldn’t have guessed it but I’m going to make this one really easy on you.  Here it goes:  Appliances.  Garbage Disposals.  Showerheads.  Windows.  Old Concrete.  Shower Doors.  Guess it yet? You got it, vinegar!  Geez, like how hard was that I already gave you a good clue.  So, today, it’s all about the vinegar.  Cheap. Easy. Always accessible.  Here’s a few tips from the website vinegartips.com.  I’ve been using it for years and not just for real estate, try 2 Tabl mixed in water with a bit of your favorite sweetener in a small glass of water to keep your internal system working.  This is a trick I picked up from a friend who owns a commercial window cleaning in Edmonton and she swears by it. Oh, life is great with vinegar.  Clean the microwave by mixing 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl ( according to WaterSoftenerGuide.com, hard water can prevent the proper chemistry from happening).  Bring it to a rolling boil inside the microwave. Baked-on food will be loosened, and odors will disappear. Wipe clean. Deodorize the garbage disposal by pouring in 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup hot white distilled vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes then run hot water down the disposal.  Or, Deodorize and clean the garbage disposal with white distilled vinegar ice cubes. Make them by freezing full-strength white distilled vinegar in an ice cube tray. Run several cubes down the disposal while flushing with cold water.  To clean a scummy showerhead, pour 1/2 cup baking soda and 1 cup white distilled vinegar into a sandwich bag and tie it around the showerhead. Let this set for an hour after the bubbling has stopped. Remove the bag and then turn on the water.  Create your own window cleaning solution by combining 1/2 cup non-sudsy ammonia, 1 cup white distilled vinegar, and 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a gallon of water.  Remove the wax residue left by commercial window cleaners with a solution of 2 cups water, 1 cup white distilled vinegar and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap or detergent.  Before painting old concrete, clean with full-strength white distilled vinegar. Let it air dry.  Spray shower doors with full-strength white distilled vinegar after you’ve squeegeed the glass, or before you step in and turn on the water. It will help release the hard water deposits so they don’t remain on the glass.  For further information or any questions on Naples real estate please contact Ruth Bethem at Ruth@RuthBethem.com or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.  Check back on Wednesday for Part II.  I know it’s riveting but hang in there, Wednesday will come quick enough.

Citizen Diplomacy – You Can Change the World

Back in the fall I joined a small group of concerned citizens here in Naples that wanted to help make an impact on the perception of America in the international community.   Under the leadership arm of the Naples Area Chamber of Commerce, the Council for International Visitors In Collier (CIVIC) is a grassroots organization that has fundamentally been in existence for a few years, started by a few concerned citizens that understood the importance of advocating for Naples on a global level.  Being an active real estate agent and broker, I know that what used to be 9% of home sales from international buyers is now at 20% and that spoke volumes to the leaders of our community.  Our group of volunteers, headed by Ekkehard Grampp and the website, have become more active and visible and because of his leadership role, we are traveling the road to being nationally recognized so that we can accept more international visitors wanting to have a deeper understanding of our area.  How does it work?  One part of CIVIC is to accept invitations from our NCIV (National Council for International Visitors which falls under the US State Dept.) for individuals that are mid-to high level government officials that are hungry for knowledge on many different issues and arenas throughout the United States.  In Collier County we promote our tourism, agriculture, water resources, emergency disaster planning, law enforcement, urban planning and education, as well as our cultural and arts attractions.  The visitor arrives in Naples and we set a very busy agenda for them for anywhere from 1-5 days depending on their requested time period.  It’s a wonderful exchange of ideas and knowledge and allows both counterparts to interact in a way that would normally not be possible if not for the NCIV and the State Department.  I will be traveling to  Washington, D.C. for the 50th Anniversary Gala and Annual Meeting this week to learn how we can have our programs at their optimum.  Classes are very early and run the course of the day and then I get to meet and greet with our counterparts from all over the United States, as well as attending an Embassy Reception (I’ll be attending the Netherlands Embassy) as well as the US State Department Reception and to start us out, we are having a wonderful celebration Gala to open up the meeting on Wednesday night celebrating 50 years of successful citizen diplomacy.  Here’s the basic principles:  The individual citizen has the responsibility to help shape foreign relations “one handshake at a time.”  The peoples of the world are interdependent and that our future is secured through collaborations nurtured by free, open, and respectful communication.  Face-to-face meetings are the most effective means of communicating.  International exchange programs are essential for those who hope to lead the communities and nations of the world.  NCIV and its member organizations must at all times meet rigorous and measurable standards of quality and excellence in all areas.  This excellence requires commitment and competence marked by flexibility, risk taking, and an infectious and invigorating enthusiasm. Voluntarism is a unique trait of American society that must be reflected in our organizations and programs. So, what can you do to help promote your area’s citizen diplomacy, well, it all starts with a handshake.  Watch for my tweets  on Twitter throughout the week and more blog postings upon my return.  For further information or any questions on Naples real estate please contact Ruth Bethem at Ruth@RuthBethem.com or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.

Great new Tex-Mex in Naples: Blue Agave

Strange Name. Great food.  Shimmy on over to Blue Agave in East Naples for traditional Mexican fare and the ever popular Tex-Mex for an evening of great food and tequila baby!  So, once I discovered what exactly Blue Agave is, it all made perfect sense to name this Tequila Bar and Grill this unforgettable name, which is a Mexican plant that is used as the base for tequila.  Every now and then, you come across a restaurant that hits it “out-of-the-ballpark” and I think this is going to be one of those that will be hanging around for a while.  The interior is a well planned open space with half walls in the front areas for privacy, warm lighting with wood ceilings in the main area, sparkling dark ceiling tile in the front of the urban kitchen and dining area with picture windows and just an overall warm atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re stepping into a friend’s home.  The wait staff is very knowledgeable and friendly, without being pushy, and can navigate you through the well selected menu.  I can’t even tell you how many selections of tequila they have but if you’re a fan this is one place you’ve got to put on your list.  Everything from an appetizer of salmon & shrimp ceviche marinated in fresh lime juice and cilantro, to daily made guacamole, to mini tostada loca, there’s something for everyone to start your dining experience, not to mention the low-heat salsa & warm chips served upon seating.  My mother-in-law ordered the chicken chimichanga, and yes I did sample it and it was truly a gift from the heavens.  I rarely eat anything that is deep fried but felt I needed to sample it if I was going to talk about it.  My husband had the traditional beef tacos and I was served the Tex-Mex version of red-sauced chicken enchiladas.  The serving size of the entrée on all three, plus those that were eating around us, were all very ample and generous sized with the refried beans and rice just the perfectly sized duo meant to accompany, not overpower.  Next time, I think I’ll try their signature Blue Agave Salad with cactus, pinto beans and avocado tossed with blue cheese in a balsamic vinegar dressing.  This menu challenges you to actually pick just one entrée.  I’d suggest dining with friends that you don’t mind sharing with and enjoy their great selections because with a menu like this, you’ll need to go back weekly to sample everything.  All in all, it was a great dining experience and I just hope the owners, Judy Barney and Arturo Perez will stick around for a long time.  They seem to have the recipe for success at the Marco Island fav, Arturo’s Italian Restaurant, which has been around for 15 years.  Let’s hope word spreads on Blue Agave that’s only been open since mid-December.  I heard about it from a friend, who heard about it from a friend, who heard about it from a friend.  And so the story goes.  When you need a break from dining, let’s look at some homes for sale. For further information or any questions on Naples real estate please contact Ruth Bethem at Ruth@RuthBethem.com or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.

Nature’s Greatest Gifts

Conservancy of SW Florida
Conservancy of SW Florida
Conservancy of SW Florida

Conservancy of SW Florida
Conservancy of SW Florida

While finding their real estate property in Naples, I like to give my clients a little time to discover one of Naples’ greatest treasures:  the Conservancy of SW Florida.  After I take my clients on a tour of Naples, highlighting our beautiful beaches, amenity rich communities and unique real estate opportunities, they head out for a tour of a different type.  Marine life, terrestrial life, flora and fauna are all tucked away in one place known to Neapolitans as The Conservancy.  It’s been an exciting time for them as they have been undergoing some changes and renovations as part of their Sustainable Campus Initiative but still provide a memorable time at the Nature Center.   They’ll be having monthly eco-themes, a mini Nature Zone where many of the Discovery Center residents are located as they created the new Dalton Discovery Center.  They now have “Take Action Tuesdays” where you can get hands-on knowledge on preserving our paradise and “Sensational Saturdays” which is a celebration for the entire family.  This will prove to be a great year for the Conservancy as they’ve scheduled their Earth Day for April 16 and the “Magic Under the Mangroves” gala fundraiser in March, sure to be a success.  Try their “Dining for Wildlife” in April and the Red Snook Catch & Release Tournament in October.  A few days ago, as a volunteer for the Naples Chamber of Commerce, I was fortunate to participate in a get re-acquainted tour that included a 45 minute narrated electric boat cruise that took us through the winding backwaters off the Gordon River and provided us with a “boatload” of new knowledge.  The volunteers are simply a walking Wikipedia!  It was followed by a tour of the touch tank in the temporary Nature Zone that offered live encounters with a 6 year old sea turtle, a baby horseshoe crab and some slippery little reptiles.  It’s also a great opportunity to take a walking trail tour where I came across the Gumbo Limbo and the answer is no, just in case you thought it was the name of a new tropical cha-cha.  It’s actually a hardy, smooth-trunked tree that sheds a papery-thin red skin.  Some of you may remember that the Ritz-Carlton on the beach has a lovely little beachside cabana that serves great fare and refreshing libations of the same name.  Plan to be stay a while, in other words, pack a lunch, if you care to try to identify some of the 140 species of birds that have been recorded at the Nature Center.  The dozens of volunteers, interns, administrators and just some concerned citizens have joined forces years ago to make this a truly one-of-a-kind experience that melds learning and conservation so that our future generations will be able to enjoy the Naples we’ve come to know and love.  One of my clients commented just last week that she always had such a hard time describing Naples to those friends and family that hadn’t yet discovered Naples.  Then, frustrated because she just couldn’t find the right word that would sum up how she felt about Naples, she simply gave a heavy sigh and said “paradise.”  ‘Nough said.   For further information or any questions on Naples real estate please contact Ruth Bethem at Ruth@RuthBethem.com or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.