39th Annual Home Expo Is Here!

39th Annual Home Expo and our Second year at The Albany Capital Center venue is starting off to be a great weekend! Meet our local vendors, visit the in-booth demonstrations taking place as well as free giveaways throughout the show.  Come in out of the cold, and feel spring in the air!

The most wonderful time of the year shouldn’t be put on hold just because of a little cold weather. Even though outside it hasn’t been the best, inside at the Home Expo the grass was green! It really has felt like a spring was here in the home and garden booths around me.

All the attendee’s are ready to start remodeling and/or building projects, and looking for the latest trends, fresh ideas and great deals. With hundreds of experts under one roof you are sure to find what your looking for. Come Join the excitement, there’s only two days left!

If your looking for inspiration, I invite you to attend the 39TH Annual Times Union Home Expo, come see me in booth 323!

Sweetly,

Michele Conti

 

 

Super Bowl Sunday LIII

The Super Bowl is today, and you’re going to be hungry. When you watch a Super Bowl, there’s nothing like sitting down with an amazing spread to gorge on during the game.  With food that will make the weeks of planning worth it when the Patriots face the Rams today!

I’m guessing you’re going to be eating at some point during the game, if not the entire night. Remember, for many people, the Big Game is more like the Big Gulp — a wintertime Thanksgiving for football fans, their friends and, best of all, the people who pretend to be both. So what better way to prepare for Super Sunday than by sizing up some of the most popular game-day snacks?

 

Tired of the same old wings recipe? Kick it up a notch with Maple Mustard Chicken wings which are sweet and spicy and go down great with your favorite beer!

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 pounds chicken wings, separated into drumettes and midsections (or flats), wing tips discarded
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • Vegetable oil, for oiling the grill
  1. Combine the salt, pepper, and cayenne in a large container with a tight fitting lid or a large resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken and toss with your hands until evenly coated. Close the container and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, place the maple syrup, Dijon mustard, whole-grain mustard, vinegar, and soy sauce in a small, nonreactive bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.
  3. Heat an outdoor grill to medium high (about 375°F to 425°F). When the grill is ready, use tongs to rub the grate with several layers of paper towels dipped in vegetable oil. Place the wings on the grate in a single layer so they are not touching (if needed, cook them in batches). Cover the grill and cook, flipping the wings occasionally with tongs, until the skin is opaque and no longer raw-looking, about 10 minutes. Brush all over with the reserved maple-mustard sauce and continue to cook, flipping and basting occasionally, until the wings are golden brown, no longer pink at the bone, and the skin is crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes more.

These slightly sweet and spicy wings are easy to eat with your fingers and go great with beer. The glaze, made from common ingredients, is a snap to throw together. Have lots of napkins on hand for sticky fingers.

Mini Wonton Tacos

Serves 24
Meat
1 lb 80% lean ground beef, lean
3/4 cup Pace chunky salsa, Mild
1 package Taco seasoning mix
24 Wonton wrappers
1 cup Mexican blend cheese
1/4 cup Sour cream
Heat the oven to 425°F.  Press the wonton wrappers into 24 (1 1/2-inch) mini muffin-pan cups.
Cook the beef in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until well browned, stirring often to separate meat. Pour off any fat. Stir in the taco seasoning mix and 1/4 cup salsa.
Spoon the beef mixture into the wonton cups. Top with the remaining salsa and the cheese.
Bake for 5 minutes or until the wontons are golden brown and the cheese is melted.  Top with the sour cream, if desired.

Chips and dip are an easy go-to snack for tailgating, but what about a cheesy pimento dip and crackers instead? This is a recipe for a mild pepper cheese dip with herbs that is a little more interesting than the usual.
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from canned chipotle’s
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 8 ounces pepper jack, grated
  • 4 ounces pimentos, jarred or fresh
  • 2 teaspoons fresh dill, finely chopped

Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, adobo sauce, and black pepper in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix it until totally combined (if you have a few lumps from the cream cheese, no problem; you won’t see them later!)

Jalapeno Poppers

To make this amazing DIY bar snack recipe, begin by splitting open fresh jalapeño peppers and scraping out the seeds and veins. Separately, mix cream cheese, cooked Mexican chorizo, canned chipotle chiles, and salt and pepper to form a smooth mixture. Fill the jalapeños, then broil until hot and blistered. Serve at once, with plenty of cold beer or soft drinks.

  • 12 jalapeño peppers
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup minced, cooked Mexican chorizo
  • 1 teaspoon minced canned chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Set the oven to broil and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Lay a jalapeño on your work surface so that it sits flat without rolling. Make two cuts forming a “T” by first slicing down the middle of the chile lengthwise from stem to tip, then making a second cut perpendicular to the first about 1/4 inch from the stem, slicing only halfway through the chile (be careful not to cut off the stem end completely). Carefully open the flaps to expose the interior of the chile, and, using a butter knife or small measuring spoon, scrape the inside to remove the seeds and ribs. Repeat with the remaining peppers; set aside.
  3. Place the cream cheese, chorizo, chipotles, and salt in a medium bowl, season with freshly ground black pepper, and mix until smooth and evenly combined. Transfer the mixture to a quart-size resealable plastic bag, cut one bottom corner off to make a 3/4-inch-wide opening, and squeeze the mixture into the chiles until just filled (be careful not to overfill). Insert a toothpick widthwise through each chile to secure the flaps and filling. Place the filled chiles on the prepared baking sheet in two evenly spaced rows of six.
  4. Broil for 4 minutes, rotate the pan, and continue to broil until the peppers are starting to char and the filling is browned and bubbly, about 4 minutes more. Remove from the oven, and remove the toothpicks if desired. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Get your game face on!! Bon Appetit!

Sweetly,

Michele

Bathroom Bliss

 

Remodeling a small bathroom can be а challenge because of space limitations. To make the most out of your remodel you’ve got to make every inch count. Here are some tips to maximize your space when remodeling a small bathroom.

Use the Right Colors

Using light colors throughout the space helps reflect light and brightens your room to make it appear larger. We’ve found that lighter and softer neutrals do the job well to make a small bathroom look larger.

Install a Pocket Door or Barn Door

Pocket doors slide along their own length and disappear into an adjacent wall or compartment when opened (unlike а traditional hinged door). Barn Doors operate by sliding on an iron track, over an outside wall, and they continue to trend in 2019. They are a beautiful, easy-to-install design piece and save space. You will be surprised at the amount of floor space that becomes available.

Install а Clear Glass Shower Enclosure

It may not be obvious, but many people don’t realize how glass shower doors will stretch visual space. Think about it: your eye can travel through clear glass, but other surfaces will obstruct your line of vision, making the bathroom feel even smaller.

Select а Vanity with Open Shelving

Cabinets with drawers can make а room feel cramped. To keep items organized, consider baskets or bins placed on shelves.  The use of glass shelving is great for small display items. Consider furniture style vanities with small drawers or floating vanities which create an illusion of more space.

Minor changes like these can make a huge difference in a space so small. Whether you’re prepping your home for a sale, these remodel ideas are the perfect remedy for any small bathroom.

Stay tuned for more Adventures in Styleland!

 

Sweetly,

Michele Conti

Organizational Tips For Your Home, Declutter For 2019

What’s the secret to keeping a clean and clutter-free home? Well, the secret is there isn’t one! It’s being intentional every day. Cleaning up messes before they get out of hand, following through with routines, and putting a few simple systems into place will definitely help.

Start your day with a routine:

About 20 minutes is all it takes to really get the ball rolling. I make my bed, start a load of laundry, unload and reload the dishwasher, wipe down the bathroom counters after I finish get ready, and then do a quick pick up of our living space because we live in our home! Dogs, cats two girls and my wonderful husband.

Just like your morning routine is the perfect way to start your day, your evening routine will help you set yourself up for success the next day.

Only do the absolute necessary things. These include cleaning up the dinner dishes and setting the dishwasher to run overnight, finishing the load of laundry I started by drying, folding, and putting it ALL away, completing a quick pick up of your home, and making a short to-do list for the next day.

I’ve found that if I do nothing else throughout the except completing my morning and evening routines, my home stays clean and clutter-free.

Have a Cleaning Routine:

Instead of having a specific day each week to clean the entire house or having specific chores assigned to different days of the week, do something completely different. Have a list of 5 tasks to complete throughout the week. As you have time, check a task off  your list. Some weeks this means getting everything done in one day. Other weeks you may sporadically clean the house throughout the week. But that’s okay. It’s all getting done eventually and your home stays cleaner because of it.

The tasks to try to complete each week include dusting (you can actually do this every other week), vacuuming, mopping the floors, scrubbing the bathrooms, and changing the sheets on all the beds.

One other thing that has made cleaning a home much easier is simply de-cluttering. When you have less to clean and less to clean around, this task takes much less time. Removing the furniture and decor  or chatchka you didn’t really need or love makes such a difference. So dusting that took an hour is now a 10 minute chore.

Meal Prep!

You might be wondering how meal planning can help you home stay clean and clutter-free. But hear me out! If you are consistently meal planning, then you should always know whats for dinner each night. So instead of feeling frazzled and crazy trying to get something on the table, you will know exactly what to prepare.

Sometimes we don’t realize how stress and anxiety affects us until we step back and make changes. If you are putting all of your energy into trying to scrap together a meal at 6pm at night, you will be less likely to clean up the dishes or finish that evening routine.

Here’s hoping this will help you stay organized and stress free in 2019!  See you shortly at the Times Union Home Expo!

Stay tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…

Sweetly,

Michele Conti

 

Asphalt Offers Driveway Durability

The majority of commercial and residential driveways are finished with either asphalt or concrete. Both are cost-effective, but asphalt comes with more benefits. If you’re paving a new driveway or refinishing and existing one you’re probably wondering about the relative benefits of asphalt over concrete. L.Browe Asphalt Services is ready to answer your questions.

An asphalt driveway can usually be laid in one or two days, depending on the size of the project. Concrete, on the other hand, typically takes twice as long to lay and even longer to set. Depending on the season, asphalt driveways can be ready for use in as little as two days after completion, whereas concrete can take up to a week to cure.

Unlike concrete, asphalt is not subject to surface flaking caused by poor installation, incorrect preparations of the mixture or the application of salts to melt ice and snow. Known as ‘spalling,’ this surface flaking is an ongoing problem with many concrete driveways, especially those that were hastily installed. Given its flexibility, asphalt is also considerably less likely than pavement to crack over time.

If your asphalt driveway does start to show some lineal cracking, you can repair these easily and inexpensively. The crack sealant products you need are widely available through home improvement retailers. They don’t cost very much and can easily be applied on your own, even if you have absolutely no previous paving expertise.

In addition, regular preventative maintenance, like crack filling and seal-coating, can extend the lifespan of your asphalt driveway to 20 years or more. Concrete is more difficult to maintain, because it cannot be heated and repaired with the same ease as asphalt pavement.

Need help maintaining your asphalt? Give L. Browe a call 518 479-1400 Janeen Browe will be happy to get you started with a free estimate!

 

Stay tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…

 

Sweetly,

Michele Conti

 

The Perfect Deck

Many years ago, I lived in a home that had a simple deck attached to the back of the house. My husband and I spent countless hours relaxing, cooking, laughing and sharing stories with friends in our outdoor living room. It was an ideal combination of comfort and convenience, with the fresh air and sounds of our backyard. Without a deck, we would have spent considerably less time outside and might have missed out on some lovely afternoons and evenings with friends.

 

Here in Albany NY,  we have many spring, summer and fall days that invite us outside. Decks and patios are outdoor living rooms, kitchens, and playrooms. They are places where we can gather with loved ones. Whether stone, wood or composite decks or patio’s they are so much more than square expanses with no character.

In addition to their versatile sense of style, covered portico’s also have flexibility as to where they are used in an outdoor space’s design. Ground floor or elevated locations, homeowners can even choose to make use of the area beneath an elevated porch by building a secluded grotto or an outdoor kitchen.

Fireplaces and ceiling fans, are must-have features and part of so many back porch designs because they are both stylish and useful. Both of these features evoke a sense of luxury ambiance in whatever space they are included. More than just looking gorgeous, these accessories have a job to do. Fireplaces keep you warm in the winter and ceiling fans help you stay cool in the summer, meaning both extend how much use you’ll get from your outdoor space.

Stop at any of our builders and re-modeler’s booth’s at the Home Expo and start planning your outdoor space!

 

Stay Tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…

 

Sweetly,

Michele Conti

The Value of the BBB

For more than 75 years, Better Business Bureaus have kept tabs on the trustworthiness of businesses and charities. Consumers consult BBB reliability reports, now completely online, a whopping 54 million times a year. And nearly a million American and Canadian consumers file complaints through their local BBB annually to get help when things didn’t go quite right in a goods or services transactions.

For example, suppose you go down to the local hom­e and garden store to buy a new lawnmower and the salesman talks you into a four wheel drive riding mower with a money-back guarantee.

When the blade falls off a month later, you take the faulty mower back and ask for a refund. The salesman says you must have heard him wrong. The store doesn’t offer money-back guarantees. “Maybe you should get a new hearing aid,” he jokes. Should you call the Better Business Bureau (BBB) YES! When asked whom they would contact if they had a problem with a major purchase, 40 percent of Americans said the Better Business Bureau.

Another service the BBB offers is research; Before you hire a company for that big project, don’t forget to do your research at BBB.org!

For over 100 years, people have turned to Better Business Bureau for unbiased information about businesses. Businesses use their BBB Accreditation as a way to show customers that they are trustworthy businesses.

For over 100 years, Better Business Bureau has helped people find businesses and charities they can trust. There are thousands of free and subscription websites that offer a range of information, but BBB is the one place you can find it all. We offer consumers Business Reviews, Customer Reviews, Request a Quote service, and dispute resolution, to name a few. Visit us at bbb.org for more information!

Stop in at The Time Union Home Expo and visit their booth, we’ll see you there!

 

Sweetly,
Michele Conti

2019 Design Trends

Design trends for 2019 start with Colors; Pantone’s pick is Living Coral, but homeowners are choosing darker and moodier colors, such as navy and forest green, in the new year. 2019 is taking a more mindful, lifestyle-based approach to the development of new shades. While nature is a common inspiration for home décor, in 2019 we will see a shift from over-sized botanicals to the woodlands, with mushroom grays and fern-inspired colors. Mushrooms will also continue to be a key shape in the home. Their earthy color–gray blended with warm brown–gives off an old world, naturalist feel.

 

Kitchen Trends; Home design professionals expect to see more full-height backs-plashes that seamlessly stretch from the counter to the ceiling. Behind floating shelves and range hoods, for a clean and cohesive look. This dramatic statement can create the illusion of additional surface area.

Destination Tubs:

Bubble bath fans, rejoice. As bathrooms shift from private, utilitarian spaces to open, spa-like environments, homeowners are focused on the accoutrements, including free-standing tubs.

A resurgence of unpainted wooden vanities in 2018, will only be amplified in 2019, with a turn toward reclaimed and light wood. Visible grain and knots can add texture and visual interest to a space and work well in crisp, clean white bathrooms.

 

Stay Tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…

 

Michele Conti

Designs by Michele Conti

Day Two! We Are Rolling…

There was an exciting vibe here today, with the economy growing the crowd is ready to take on some new projects and the atmosphere at the home expo was bustling with information for its attendees.

Demonstrations and giveaways are on hand at several vendors the attendees are here to Renew, Refresh and Restore your Home! As an interior designer I know the importance of having a good plan to follow, let our vendors help guide your project with budget as well as and idea of a time line for your project. Need help? Visit me, Designs by Michele at booth #323 I’m here to help! Come in sign up for a free Consultation!

At the Times Union Home Expo everything that you need to turn your home and garden dreams into a reality can be found under one roof. Explore hundred of vendors and exhibits, and engage with more than a 1000 experts! Remember to visit CRBRA at booth 103A and get your free ticket to the Parade of Homes!

 

 

Come on down you only have one More Day to visit the Home Expo ! If you are building or renovating you don’t want to miss our last day at the Albany Capital Center!  I look forward to meeting you!

 

XOXO

Michele Conti

Designs by Michele

Opening Day at The Home Expo!

The 38th annual Times Union Home Expo brought a crowd of infinite energy. Kicking off what show organizers hope to be a successful weekend! The new Albany Capital Center was bustling with enthusiastic show attendees, and some of our favorite vendors were on hand to great them.

Local professionals will be available all weekend to discuss the plans you have for your home. Whatever your plans include, from selling your home to buying into the real estate for market, a large scale renovation to your home, or minor cosmetic changes you’ll find what you need here! There will be in-booth demonstrations taking place as well as free giveaways throughout the show.

The venue was beautiful and traffic moved well through both levels. The lights in the ceiling on the second level, are stupendous setting the mood for attendee’s to discover new products, and meet with vendors for latest trends, fresh ideas and great deals with hundreds of experts under one roof… 

 

 

 Welcoming new friends, L. Browe Asphalt is with us this year, Loren Browe says “Not only does quality paving enhance your home or business’s curb appeal, it also adds value to your property’s total investment. Whether you are residential or commercial, and in need of a new driveway, parking lot, private road or tennis court, stop in and make an appointment for a free consultation and estimate.”

Click Heaters offers reusable and instant Thermal pads which can be used nearly anywhere on one’s body. Unlike most heating pad products, what makes this product unique is that it requires no electricity for immediate activation. With just a click of a small metal disc located inside the pad, it instantly heats up and can last up to an hour or more, depending on use.

Visit Click Heathers in booth# 140 for a demonstration!

 

Looking forward to a great day tomorrow,  when you renovate your home you want to choose products that are cutting edge and timeless. If your looking for inspiration, we invite you to attend the 38TH Annual Times Union Home Expo!

 

See you all tomorrow!!

 

XOXO

Michele Conti

Designs by Michele