Fun in a Winter Wonderland

I’m sorry that this post is a little later than usual.  I didn’t have any time during the weekend to write it.  As you’ll see, this one isn’t much about being a REALTOR, but I think you’ll see why.   If you are not from St. Louis, MO, we had a HUGE snow storm.  It first started to snow around 2:00 PM on Friday and did not slow down until Saturday night.  There were a few moments of rain and a wintery mix during Saturday.  It was so beautiful.  There were many accidents, cars left on the side of roads, and hot chocolate. 

Thursday, we were smart and went to the hardware store to get some home improvement supplies, mostly so I would have something to do on Saturday when we were snowed in.  We also ordered a new replacement window.  So, we were a little productive then. 

Friday, I went into the office and did as much work as I could before the weather came in.  I was planning on holding an Open House on Saturday but decided against it due to the weather; my car does not drive well in the snow.  Once I made that decision I had to go around and pick up my directional signs and the rider out of the house sign.  I got home right as it started to sleet.  I immediately ordered pizza and it delivered within 20-30 minutes.  Oh, how I love Imo’s Pizza.  After I ate my lunch, I went upstairs to work on hanging crown molding.  The first hiccup was that I had to dig the saw out of the pile of tools, move it up to the third floor, and set it all up.  The second hiccup came shortly after.  I still have all my fingers and didn’t bleed, well not at that point.  I plugged in the saw and attempted to cut a board and the fuse blew.  I had to walk from the third floor down to the basement to flip the breaker back to on.  This process repeated itself once more before I wised up and had to move everything back down to the second floor.  My legs were so tired.  I eventually figured out how to cut the boards correctly and hung all the trim for one room.  I was planning on doing the rest on Saturday.  Later in the night when the snow had accumulated enough, we went outside and played with our dog in the snow.  I was chasing him around and of course I slipped and got covered by snow, and then he decided to jump on me; it was great.  There is a video of right before I fell on my social media accounts.

Saturday, I woke up and knew that I needed to go out and shovel the sidewalk, what a workout.  I was planning on going upstairs to continue working on hanging the crown molding.  Instead my girlfriend, Ruby, and I took the dog, Louie, for a long walk up into town.  We don’t usually go for this long of a walk, and it was rough with 9” of snow on the ground.  We were going up to the local small hardware store to buy some sleds; of course, they were sold out.  We learned that nearly everywhere was sold out of sleds, either that morning or on the days leading up to the storm.  We never found any.  We settled for a Christmas Tree tray.  It didn’t work very well.  While out looking for sleds, we also went by the grocery store; we needed to eat something before we went sledding and afterwards.  We forgot to go before the storm hit.  When we were done with everything, we went by our house to change, and drop off the groceries.  Then onto Art Hill.  With me being a St. Louis native, you’d think that I would have sledded there at least once before — not the case.  It was a lot of fun, except the walking back up the hill part.  Again, my legs were dead.  Luckily for us, our friends brought other sleds that worked better, and let us use them.  We stopped sledding right before it started to rain a little and went to a local bar to watch football and eat some food.  I had a Chili Cheese Burger, and it was pretty tasty.  After we were done eating, we all went our separate ways to shower and change, I had to resist taking a nap.  Then we all went to a friend’s house and played some games.  It was a fun day.  I did fail to get back to hanging crown molding though, I guess I’ll have to do that today now.

Sunday was truly crazy.  Woke up early so I could eat some breakfast, I guess Ramen noodles count as breakfast some days.  Then went to go play some kickball.  I ended up playing four games of kickball which truly wore me out, I still am sore on Monday.  I chose to take my firepit, EZ-Up tent, speaker, and a cooler of beer; no, the cooler wasn’t needed to keep the beer cold, but it was easier to carry.  Playing kickball in 8” or so of snow was really fun, and really sloppy.  I was in heaven.  Although I truly enjoyed playing in the snow, I don’t want to play in that deep of snow again, but I will, given the chance.  The one downside of playing kickball in all the snow was that my feet were so wet and so cold.  I kept them warm as long as I could.  I feel that they were nearly frozen when I was through playing but I still had to pack up everything that I had brought, I hope I didn’t forget anything.  Shockingly, this is when I cut myself and bled.  Closing up my EZ-Up tent I pinched the side of my finger and it decided to bleed pretty good.  I didn’t care, because my feet were so cold, and I wanted to go home. 

Again, I don’t know where you are, but I hope you get the chance to have a fun filled snowy weekend.  From playing with your dog in the snow, going sledding, or even playing kickball, it’s always great to find something fun to do when you feel like you should be stuck in the house watching tv and drinking hot chocolate.  I know I had a fun and eventful weekend and I couldn’t even begin to tell you how sore I am as I am writing this post; everything hurts.  I’m trying to talk myself into going to the gym later, I doubt I’ll make it.  Please leave me comments on how your weekend was or any topic that you would like me to explore.  Have a great day and let’s go see some houses.

My MLB Hall of Fame Ballot

If I had a Vote

As a lifelong Baseball fan, I have an opinion on who I believe deserves to be in the Hall of Fame from this year’s class.  I know don’t have a vote, and my opinion means nothing to the actual Hall of Fame, but I felt the need to write who I think should be in and why.  I used to be against the players who were attached to the steroid era, especially if they were accused of using, but I have moved past that; those were the times.  There are non-pitchers who are in from the dead ball era, the times should dictate the criteria on which the votes are based.  If there was a committee that could go though and look at all the players in the Hall of Fame and re-judge them by today’s standards, I truly feel that many of the Hall of Famers would not make the updated list.  When making my choices I used my gut opinion from watching them play through the years, I looked at their stats over their careers, I looked where they align with other Hall of Famers, and I even used the newer Sabermetrics to come to my conclusions.  With my list of ten players, which I have ranked, I did have a few that were on the cusp of making my list.  I will break down why I did not include them in my top ten for this year.  My list, in order, is:

  1. Mariano Rivera
  2. Barry Bonds
  3. Roger Clemens
  4. Sammy Sosa
  5. Roy Halladay
  6. Edgar Martinez
  7. Todd Helton
  8. Manny Ramirez
  9. Scott Rolen
  10. Fred McGriff
  11. Andruw Jones
  12. Omar Vizquel
  13. Billy Wagner
  14. Miguel Tejada

There you go.  Those players listed 1-10 are who I believe belong in the Hall of Fame from today’s ballot.  Andruw Jones was very close in my mind to making the list, but I felt that Scott Rolen and Fred McGriff were just barely more deserving of the right.  I believe that Andruw Jones will make the Hall of Fame eventually, I just ran out of room on my imaginary ballot.

Mariano Rivera.  He is a Hall of Famer to me because I believe he is the best closing pitcher the game has ever seen.  He is the All-Time leader in Saves, won the AL reliever of the year five times, and has a career WAR of 56.3.  From my eye test, every time I saw a Yankee game, and he pitched, I knew the Yankees were about to win the game.  He was dominant for 16 of his 19 years in the MLB.  One of those years he was recovering from a torn ACL, when he was 42.  The other two years were his first two in the major leagues.  All of these factors tell me that he will be a no doubt Hall of Famer.

Barry Bonds.  I think he should already be a Hall of Famer d.  He is the All-Time Homerun leader, both career and single season, All-Time leader in Walks and Intentional Walks, He was a seven-time NL MVP, eight-time Gold Glove winner, two-time NL Batting Champion, and has a career WAR of 162.8.  He was a beast when he was in the batter’s box.  There was a time where he either walked or it seemed he hit a Homerun.  His most notorious season where he hit 73 Homeruns, he also batted .328 and had 137 RBIs.  Yes, I know he has been accused of using steroids, and I believe that he did.  I also believe he was going to be a Hall of Famer before he ballooned up.  Before the season when he hit the 73 Homeruns, he was hitting 25-45 homers, around 100 RBIs, and hitting around .310 every year.  He was also a factor on the bases; he stole 514 over his career.  All these factors tell me that he is definitely a Hall of Famer, and shame on the Baseball writers for not including him in the hall.

Roger Clemens.  This is another player who I believe should already be a Hall of Famer.  He is undoubtedly one of the best pitchers of all time.  He won 20+ games 6 times in his career, leading the league four times, lead the league in ERA seven times, lead the league in strikeouts five times, he won the Cy Young award seven times, and even was an MVP once, which is rare for pitchers to do.  In his career his win/loss record was 354-184, with a career ERA of 3.12, he amassed 4672 strikeouts, and had a career WAR of 139.0.  He is another player who was extremely feared when he was on the mound.  He too has been tied to the usage of steroids, I don’t doubt that he used them.  It was the times, and I feel that if you weren’t using them, you were at a major disadvantage.  I think he used them, not to get better, but to extend his career; he pitched until he was 44 years old.  He is a player that when I watched him play, I knew he deserved to be a Hall of Famer. He will be someday. 

Sammy Sosa.  This one is hard for me to say, but Sammy Sosa should be a Hall of Famer.  Growing up a St. Louis Cardinals fan, I absolutely hated Sammy Sosa, but respected him for what he was doing on the field and for the game.  He deserves to be a Hall of Famer purely for the run he went on from 1996-2002.  He was one of the most feared batters in the game during that time.  He finished his career with 609 Homeruns, 1667 RBIs, .273 batting average, 58.6 WAR, 1 MVP, and 6 Silver Sluggers.  His stats line up with other Hall of Famers, not many players have hit over 600 Homeruns.  He would have more MVPs if he didn’t play during the Barry Bonds era.  For how he helped save the game of baseball during the 1998 season with his Homerun race with Mark McGuire, (who I also believe deserves to be in the Hall of Fame), is enough of a reason, to me, why he deserves to be in.  I believe Sammy Sosa will eventually be a Hall of Famer, but probably not until the veterans committee votes him in, with most of the big names from the steroid era.

Roy Halladay.  He should be elected to the Hall of Fame because he was a special pitcher and dominated the batters he faced during the steroid era.  He was never accused or attached to any steroid scandal but maintained his excellence over the league.  He won 203 games over his career, struck out 2117, had a career ERA of 3.38, won the Cy Young award twice, would have been more if he wasn’t battling Roger Clemens for the award.  The cumulation of all his stats, and how he dominated the league during his playing days, tells me that he is deserving of being a Hall of Famer.  I’m not sure if I’d say he’s a top 10 pitcher of all time, but he is definitely a top 3 pitcher of his era.  That, to me, makes him worthy of the Hall of Fame.

Edgar Martinez.  He has been growing on me, I didn’t get the chance to watch him play often, as he was in Seattle and his games were rarely shown where I grew up.  I do remember the name though and thinking that he was a really good player.  Being a DH has handicapped his Hall of Fame selection over the years.  It is hard for a pure DH to be elected, however, he was the best pure DH, until David Ortiz.  I believe if it weren’t for Edgar Martinez being so good and so important for the team as the DH, then David Ortiz could have fizzled out and not become the super star that he is.  Martinez redefined the position.  The award for the best DH in the league was named after him, that alone tells me that he should be a Hall of Famer.  He won this award five times and won the batting title twice.  He will be elected this year, as voters have steadily increased their support for him over the years.  Although this is his last year eligible, I believe if he does not get voted in now, the veterans committee will vote him in in a few years.

Todd Helton.  My favorite stat about Todd Helton is that Peyton Manning was his backup Quarterback at University of Tennessee.  Yes, I know that’s not related to his MLB Hall of Fame worthiness, but not many baseball players can say they were ahead of a future NFL Hall of Famer on the depth chart at any level of football.  On the baseball field he was a force for the Colorado Rockies.  Over his career, he hit 369 Homeruns, drove in 1406 RBIs, batted .316, with a season of hitting .372, had a WAR of 61.2, won three Gold Gloves, won four Silver Sluggers, and one Batting title.  He is hurt for playing in the thin air of Colorado, but I feel where a player plays should not hinder their Hall of Fame status.  If that were the case, move the Rockies out of the Denver.  I remember him always being the most feared batter on the Rockies and one of the most in the league.  He was an amazing First Baseman and with all of this, I believe he should be in the Hall of Fame.

Manny Ramirez.  The Hall of Fame needs a player like Manny Ramirez.  He was so entertaining, and so good at the same time.  He was one of the most feared batters during the time he played, amassing 555 Homeruns, 2574 Hits, 1831 RBIs, .312 Batting Average, and a .585 Slugging Percentage.  Besides those stats, he won nine Silver Sluggers, one Batting Title, one World Series MVP, and was in the top-5 of the MVP voting four times.  He was a major part of the Boston Red Sox team that ended their World Series Championship drought and was always great.  He was one of my favorite players and I always thought he was a little different, in a good way, and a step above the rest of the players on the field.  With all this, I feel that he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

Scott Rolen.  Although he did have a few years where he was a feared batter, he is more known for being one of the best defensive Third Basemen ever in baseball.  Offensively his career was still pretty good, hitting 316 Homeruns, 2077 Hits, 1287 RBIs, and batting .281.  His offensive numbers would be better if he wasn’t battling injuries during the tail end of his 17-year career.  Speaking of his defensive stats, he won eight Gold Gloves and had a career Fielding Percentage of .968 which is insane considering he had 5745 chances to make an error, of which he only made 186.  Other awards that he has collected over his career are the NL Rookie of the Year, one Silver Slugger, and chased after a few MVP awards.  I might be a little biased because he played for my hometown team, but I always was beyond amazed at how he played Third Base.  It made me want to play Third Base growing up, and I still do play in when I play softball.  His defensive skills were a major inspiration to me.  Again, I know that doesn’t matter to his Hall of Fame worthiness, but it demonstrates how good he truly was.

Fred McGriff.  This player was another of my favorites growing up.  I remember him always being so good.  Over his career he amassed some incredible stats, 493 Homeruns, 1550 RBIs, 2490 Hits, and a .284 Batting Average.  I believe if he had hit seven more Homeruns, he would already be a Hall of Famer.  He also brought home a lot of awards over his career, three Silver Sluggers, one All Star Game MVP, and he was in the Top-10 in the MVP race six times.  In reading up on Fred McGriff, I feel that the fact that he played for so many teams is hurting his Hall of Fame chances.  I’m not sure if he will get in on this ballot, but I hope that he will get in through the veterans committee eventually.  He was one of the best that played the game and deserves this accolade.

Well those were the players that I would vote for, for the MLB Hall of Fame, if I had a vote.  Now it’s time to talk a little about the players that were on the cusp of my ballot.  Andruw Jones was the player who was the closest to making my ballot, basically being vote 10b, with Fred McGriff being 10a.  I honestly gave Fred McGriff the nod over Andruw Jones because it is McGriff’s last year on the ballot and I believe that he should be in the Hall of Fame.  Andruw Jones’ stats are very similar to Scott Rolen’s, but I liked Rolen more when he was playing.  I believe Andruw Jones should be in the Hall of Fame, and I just ran out of room on my imaginary ballot.  Omar Vizquel was next, he would be going in purely on his defensive merit, and I don’t think that he was good enough on the offensive side of the field to deserve the right to be a Hall of Famer.  I do believe he is close, but he didn’t make my ballot this year.  The next two players I remember them being really dominant for a few years, but their peak years did not last very long.  These two players are Billy Wagner and Miguel Tejada.  These two players are at risk of falling of the ballot for next year, purely because there are so many great players ahead of them in many actual voters’ minds.  Miguel Tejada was one of the best players in the game for a few years, but he needed that to last a bit longer.

Well, there you have it, my ballot, if I were to have one, for the MLB Hall of Fame.  I wish that the actual voters would put out a breakdown like this, so the general public can see where they are coming from and to see why they made the decisions that that they did.  I feel that it would make the Hall of Fame process run smoother and create a lot of interesting conversation.  If you have any thoughts about my choices, feel free to leave a comment and start the conversation.  I hope you all have a great day, and let’s go see some houses, and talk baseball.

New Year’s Resolutions

I find it very important to make New Year’s Resolutions that I think will improve my way of life or achieve various goals I might have.  Yes, I know, everyone makes the resolution to go to the gym every day and to lose a bunch of weight.  Of course, I want that too.  I try to make mine a little more realistic to where I’m certain I will be able to go the distance and finish the year achieving my goal.  I was very successful this past year.   I allowed a one-time lapse on my birthday though; I was craving some McDonalds French fries.  This year I am planning on having some New Year’s Resolutions that are both personal and work related.  I have a lot of big goals that I want to achieve, and I need to make the effort to get there.  I’m sure I won’t achieve all of them, but I desperately want to.

Some of the most common New Year’s Resolutions are anything from quitting smoking, learning something new, spending more time with friends and family, enjoying life, and even getting organized.  These are all good, but kind of generic.  These are all process focused and have no distinct objective.  I try to be more specific with mine.  This past year I decided to give up drinking soda and eating fast food.  I think the only time I had a little taste of soda was when I absentmindedly ordered a Whiskey Coke out somewhere.  I allowed myself to have fast food once, as previously noted.  Otherwise, I mostly observed through the year. There were a few that I did not do so good on, such as working out more, working on my house more, and walking my dog every day; we walk him often, just not every day. I did not include many career focused resolutions, but I know that I will this year.

This year, I’m going to continue not to drink soda and eat fast food.  I am going to try to expand on that to where I’m not going to eat fried food, especially if its battered.  I had to give myself a loop hole, so I can eat chicken wings; they are fried, but I don’t like them if they are battered.  Great, now I’m hungry.  Another personal one is to work out more. I want to go to the gym at least four days a week, hopefully more.  Along with going to the gym, I want to get up early at least three days a week to take my dog for a run.  I’m not excited about this one — I love my sleep, and I don’t like to run.  Another with health in mind, is to eat healthier.  I already don’t eat much candy, but I will try to not eat any.  Holidays will be tough for that.  Another idea, that I literally just thought of, is that I will cook at home more, trying out new recipes and challenge myself in the kitchen, all while being healthy.  I know, this is process focused, so I’ll have to work out the specifics.

For my job-related resolutions, they are most simple.  I don’t want to get discouraged and fall back on bad habits.  I think I will set one or two for now and add to my plan for the year as they become ingrained in my routine.  One that I don’t feel will be a challenge will be to continue to write this blog.  I hope to get better in my writing, and what I’m writing about, but that’s a different issue.  I’m not counting that in my one or two resolutions.  For those, I will say that I want to make it a habit of going and previewing houses at least four days a week; that could help my going to the gym goal too.  I enjoy previewing houses in the areas that I work, I just don’t do it enough.  The second one will be to call and visit expired listings and for sale by owner houses.  It can’t hurt, the worst thing that could happen is they tell me no and to go away.  At least they will have met me and will have a face to go with the name.  All my goals are to get my name as a REALTOR® more recognized, so more people think of me, when they want to buy or sell a house. 

My theory is that if you have a larger goal that you want to achieve, set interim objectives that will lead you on the path to your larger one.  I use the New Year as an opportunity to start setting those smaller goals that will help me achieve my dreams.  Dream big, and then dream small to get you there.  Have a great day, and New Year, and let’s go see some houses (I’ll be going four days a week, so come join me).

Holiday Traditions

It’s that time of year again.  Lots of bright and sparkly lights around.Time to decorate your house and tree. Time to hunt down the perfect gifts for your loved ones.  Time to visit with family and friends.  It sure can be a hectic time of year, and expensive.  Everyone has different family traditions.  I will explain how my holidays are, and truly will be, hectic this year.  My craziness has already begun, with work holiday parties– my girlfriend’s work party was crazy as usual. 

This past Saturday the craziness truly began.  Well, I guess it really was the week before when my work holiday party was.  It was fairly low key, but it was still a fun time and great to see everyone outside of the office.  There were a few epic Giant Jenga games that were over 40 levels high. This past Saturday was my girlfriend’s work holiday party and they go all out.  We were at her boss’ country club where there was an open bar from 7 PM through 12:30 AM.  Do I even have to say that it got a little crazy?  Well it did, but in a good way.  They had some great food, a freshly made Chinese buffet at the country club. I definitely made mine way too spicy. This week, hopefully, won’t be as crazy, which will allow me to recover from the weekend.

This weekend, my girlfriend will be flying back to Michigan to be with her family for the holidays while I will remain here, in St. Louis,to be with mine, and take care of the dog. I know, I know, we should be spending this time together.  We keep talking about starting to rotate Thanksgiving and Christmas for where we are:  just can’t seem to start it.  I have family that comes in town for those two holidays and I enjoy spending time with them and she doesn’t get to see her family that often, so she takes advantage of the holidays to go home to be with them. 

My family’s tradition is that we do my immediate family’s Christmas on Christmas Eve.  Both my brothers and their families and I go over to our parent’s house to have some great food and open presents.  This is crazy, but actually is the calm before the storm.  I’m not sure what food we’ll have this year,but there is no doubt that it’ll be very good. My Mom will make something amazing, as usual.  We will have a great time, and my nieces and nephew will be entertaining as always.  Oops,I just remembered that I still need to make my family’s version of Chex Mix!  My Grandma had a great recipe and I now have the task to make it for the family.  I know what I’ll be doing this afternoon now.

Time for the big day, Christmas.  I will be doing my usual thing, making chicken wings for my Mom’s whole family Christmas party at, again, my parents’house.  This has been a tradition as long as I’ve been alive!  There will be at least forty people there, a little crazy. Again, it will be a great time, and great to get all of us together.  There aren’t many occasions where it is possible for all of us, especially the cousins, to get together.  We don’t exchange presents with the big family,though I believe the little kids get something. I can’t even begin to explain the shenanigans that go on this day.  My parents have always put a Where’s Waldo ornament on the tree, so there will be hunting for him, possibly even a ransom letter for him, yes, that has happened. We are also a family that has an ornament that is a pickle, which is another thing to hunt for; this one stays on the tree though.  Another odd tradition of my family is a Christmas Crocodile.  I think that came from when my oldest brother gave a giant plastic crocodile to my parents as a gag gift and it now always comes out to guard the tree.  We are a special (weird?) family.

Then its time for New Years. This year will be even more hectic for me.  We are planning on having friends come in from Chicago and Kansas City to stay with us so we can go to a party.  They will be coming in on Saturday.  My girlfriend, thankfully, will be coming home on Friday.  I thought about going up to Michigan after Christmas, but I would be way too stressed out about people coming and needing to get so much done to get the house ready for guests.  I need to clean our 2nd and 3rd floors, install the vanity in our bathroom, finish mudding and re-paint the bathroom wall, make sure the bathtub has stopped leaking, and vacuum all the dust from dry walling.  But New Year’swill be fun. It always is.  I am just glad that our friends are coming to us, so we don’t have to drive home the next day.  We usually go to Kansas City for New Years, so the next day is a bit of a struggle.

Well, that is my hectic holiday schedule.  I’m sure you all have just as crazy times.  I hope you have a crazy family like mine and have such fun traditions. Please share them in the comment section.  You never know, other people might share the same traditions, or you might get ideas for cool new ones that you want to try.  I hope you all have great holidays and let’s go see some houses.

Ugh, Colds

Cough, Cough, Sneeze, and Repeat

This past week I have been battling a bad cold.  I know I promised you a more exciting post this week; I honestly tried.  I had a great one planned, but I could not draw the energy to put the appropriate effort into an exciting blog last week. I am still feeling lousy but have enough energy to tell you all the struggle of being a REALTOR® when you are sick.

Since I am a solo agent, I can’t rely on a team to pick up the slack when I am not feeling well.  I had to struggle through it.  I decided to stay away from the office: nothing worse than a bad cold sweeping its way through an office.  I figured everyone else would rather I kept my misery to myself.  I did manage to go to my weekly meeting Monday morning, but left soon afterwards when I started to not feel good.  My colds start off differently than most, feel OK for a few days and then, BAM, feel like total crap.  I tried my best to power through.  I had a good day, just in time for the office Holiday Party.  Luckily it was during lunch, so I was feeling better. Mornings and nights are the worst. I have never understood that, but that has always been the case with me.  Of course, I had scheduled to hold an Open House on Thursday evening during this week; my body has a cruel sense of humor.  It felt the need to be sick during a week when I had a lot to do. 

The Open House went well, despite me not feeling well.  I almost called another agent to hold it for me but decided that I needed to power through and show up.  It was fairly slow, only one visitor, but the one person loved the house.  Fingers crossed that it works out in the future. I would not have received this good news or met the potential buyer if I had decided to stay home and pity myself. During the down time, I utilized my time and planned out what my social media was going to be over the weekend, I searched for newly expired listings,tried to write an exciting post on the Winter, and yes, I played a few games on my phone.  This time I finally learned. I brought a folding chair with me, so I could actually sit down during the Open House; I didn’t want to stand for three hours. 

The biggest struggle for me during the week was not writing letters to people.  I didn’t want to lick the envelopes, and yes, I know there are other ways to dampen the strip on the envelope to make it stick.  I focused mainly on going above and beyond on my social media content to keep me going.  I tried to have fun with it;putting a post on Facebook about chicken wings, asking the public where their favorites are.  I found some that I need to try.  There will definitely be a future post about chicken wings.

Now we’re to the weekend. I don’t think I made a smart decision on Sunday.  I chose to go play four Kickball games.  Yes, I know it was super cold outside.  Yes, it was outside.  Yes, I know I was fighting a cold.  I don’t feel worse now, and actually might feel better.  That is probably because I was dead tired and went to bed early last night.  I am glad that I went out, it was a morale boost to get back to my normal routine.

Well that was my week of having a bad cold and trying to do REALTOR® things.  I didn’t think I was very productive last week, until now.  I actually did more than I thought.  I am proud of myself for getting so much done, except writing letters, which I am working on now.  Writing this blog has been a break from letter writing, so my hand can un-cramp.  I hope you all stay healthy and let’s go see some houses.

Social Media Strategy

As promised in a previous post, it is time to talk about Social Media.  This has been one of the easiest yet hardest aspects to develop into a habit.  I have no problem being on Facebook all the time, just looking through and killing time, but the challenge of adding creative and interesting content can become overwhelming.  Twitter is another platform that has been, and still is, a challenge for me to utilize.  The only reason I got onto Twitter in the first place was to get clarification of an article I was reading regarding tweets from Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson. Yes, that was a while ago.  I rarely had tweeted on my personal account since then.  I believe I have tweeted more on my business account in 4 months than I had on my personal one in many years.  That brings up another great point.  I find it very important to have separate accounts on all platforms for your business and your personal stuff.  That allows your thoughts and appearance to be professional where appropriate, though I do still put some personal interests on my business one to keep it from getting too dry.  Other platforms that I use are Instagram, which is a battle, for me; Pinterest, which I think is fun and an easy way to get your information out there.  I’ve been working to start posting on Google+ but that has been a challenge to get going.  I’ve made a point to post on my LinkedIn account a few times a week, because that is a platform that not many REALTORS® use, and finally this blog, which, at times, stresses me out.

Let’s start with Facebook.  This is the platform that I am to most comfortable using, as I have been since 2005, or so.  I did not have a business account then, since I was still in High School, but I had learned many of the ins and outs of the site, or so I thought.  Once I came to CB Premier Group, I learned a lot more regarding the use of Facebook to build a business.  I jumped on board and began to explore the business side of the site.  I’ve learned how to build advertisements, boost posts, set target audiences, and much more.  Learning what to post took a little while, but I think I am getting a better grip on both what I want to post and what I need to post to get traction from my followers and the general public.  This is especially important in case of ads and boosted posts.  Another thing that I found out on my own, I think, was that when you post an ad, or boost a post, you NEED to invite those who liked the post to follow your page.  That is the easiest way, I’ve found, to get new people to follow you.  A strategy that I use to avoid just posting Real Estate posts all the time, is to post a motivational quote that every morning, (OK, I try to every morning).  These can help to motivate me through the day and can cheer me up in the morning if I’m feeling down.  Sometimes I am in the office earlier than I want to be, or appear to be, so I schedule posts throughout the day at various times.  I wish I remembered the source, but I found somewhere that the best times to post on Facebook are around 9 AM, Noon, and 5 PM.  If you think about it, it makes complete sense; before work, lunchtime, and after work.

Now let’s look at Twitter.  As described earlier, consistency here has been more of a challenge for me.  I use the same strategy I use with Facebook by posting the same motivational quote on my Twitter feed.  Other than that, I try to post about what I am doing during the day. I don’t get too personal, but I try to seem transparent.  One of the themes I’ve been using a lot, is complaining about going to the gym and how sore I am from going to the gym.  Another way that I get Tweets is through Instagram.

Well, I guess now I need to talk about Instagram.  So far, I generally use Instagram to show off the houses that I am looking at whether with a client, just previewing them myself, or going to open houses.  Through Instagram, you can replicate your posts on other sites; I only go with Twitter and Facebook since I use those sites regularly.  Occasionally I post food that I’ve ordered or made to show what I am into.  I am working to post more content on Instagram, but it’s been tough for me to get going on that.  I forget to take pictures of what I’m doing a lot and think of it after the fact.

Now let’s talk about a fun social media platform that I use, Pinterest.  This is a super easy platform to post on.  Nearly every day, I go on the site and look around on topics that interest me, or that I think might interest people doing research on DIY projects or thinking about selling their house.  I have started to create my own pins, but I have not, yet, figured out the magic way to utilize those.  Once I do, I’ll write a blog post specifically about that.  This is a site that is still new to me, but I enjoy the time of searching through it.

This next platform is extremely new to me, and I really don’t know how to use it yet.  I am talking about Google+.  So far, I am still exploring the site and learning ways to utilize it.  If you have experience or insight, I am more than willing to learn the ways to use it best.  I don’t know if I’ve even posted on there yet, to be honest.  I better do that now.

The last platform that I will talk about is LinkedIn.  I will talk about my blog in a later post, and I don’t feel the need to share the website with you all, as you are already on it.  LinkedIn is an important website for, well, everyone.  If you are in business, you should have a LinkedIn profile.  It allows you to connect with colleagues and even search job listings.  One aspect that not many utilize is the fact that you can post on the site for the world to see.  I try to post a few times a week with articles that are relevant to the time, relevant to Real Estate, or just great articles that can help you through life.  Not many REALTORS® use this to their benefit.  As always, I try to stand out from the herd.

Well, now you know the strategies that I use on all my social media platforms.  I hope you all will follow each one of them.  I will continue to build on my social media skills and will probably write about what I learn some time down the road.  I hope you enjoyed this read as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Next week I’ll write about something more exciting.  I don’t know what it’ll be yet.  I hope you all have a great day, and week, and let’s go see some houses.

Thanksgiving Travels

I would like to start this off with Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  I hope you had a great week and you were able to spend it with lots of family and friends.  Some people have the issue of traveling during the holidays as I did.  I had to drive from St. Louis, Missouri to Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The drive there wasn’t too bad, 7 or so hours, with a little bit of snow.  The worst part of the drive was its length.  I have learned many ways to pass the time while driving on long trips.  This time was a little more tough, as my girlfriend was working remotely, in the car, during the drive, so it was a little more boring for me for the first 6 hours.  I was going to listen to an audiobook but realized we were in her car which does not have Bluetooth and my phone does not have an audio port in it.  I just cranked up the volume on my phone and listened to the book.  There were some moments where that was tough.  After I finished the book (I was almost at the end when I started it) we switched over to listening to a hilarious podcast.  I will write a post on podcasts that I enjoy soon.  Once we got to Ann Arbor, we let the dogs play for a bit and then went out to dinner.  We had some awesome nachos and some good beer.  The next day was Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Day was a great day with great food.  First thing I did though was work.  I made sure to write my letters and either post or schedule posts on social media.  After that, I watched a lot of football and hung out with my girlfriend’s family.  We took advantage of most people being inside and took the dogs for a long walk and then to a local school to let them run. I’d forgotten how fast my dog is when he can fully sprint.  It was a lot of fun.  After the walk, the dogs were all tired, and that was GREAT.  Family friends had gotten to the house by the time we returned, which added to the excitement.  Louie, my dog, got to reunite with people he only gets to see once a year; yes, he remembers them.  I’m sure our Thanksgiving was like most everyone’s, congregating in the kitchen and catching up with everyone.  After catching up, we returned to the couch and watched more football.  If you couldn’t tell, I like football.  Once the food was ready, we all sat down and ate. We ate SO much food.  We all thought that we were full after dinner, until we remembered there was dessert.  It all was so good.  After we ate our dessert, we were all tired and returned to the couch to watch more football, aka nap.

Friday was a day of recovery.  Since we had eaten so much food, we had planned on going on a long walk with the dogs, but first I had to get some work done.  I’ve learned that being a Realtor requires discipline to continuously communicate, even when you’d rather just sit back and relax.  When I finished, we went on a long walk through the woods; of course, it was muddy, and I almost slipped at least 10 times.  It was a great walk.  After the walk we went into downtown Ann Arbor to get lunch and to check out the local shops.  Ok, I was the only one who needed lunch.  After I ate lunch, we checked out some local shops.  I bought a few cool prints and some spices.  It was a good time.  After we were done at that collection of shops, we were picked up by my girlfriend’s dad and we moved to a different part of town, after dropping off the letters I had written, so I could get some University of Michigan gear; I had been wanting a good pair of sweat pants.  We kept walking around for a little bit and shopped some more.  Once we got back to the house from shopping, my girlfriend and I left to go see her friends from high school.  That was a lot of fun, and very entertaining.   The drinks were flowing, and the music had them all dancing.

Saturday was the big, but depressing day for the house.  Michigan versus Ohio State.  This was supposed to be the year that Michigan won.  I watched the first half as I wasn’t allowed to get up; my dog decided I was his bed and he was laying on me the whole time.  The second half I was in the other room reading by Kindle.  I forgot how good my book is.  After the game, everyone was upset (guess who won).  We took the dogs for another walk, not if the day before.  After the walk we went and did an escape room.  It was really fun; however, we did not escape.  We went from the escape room to dinner, where we met up with some other friends.  Great, now I’m hungry.  At dinner I had an amazing burger with Ghost Pepper cheese on it.  It wasn’t too spicy though.  This day was not as filled as the rest, as we were going to be leaving to drive back home the following day.

Sunday was our day to drive again.  Before we left, her family made breakfast.  Which was delicious, as usual.  One funny thing though, was when her brother was going to fill up my glass with orange juice, he spilled the juice into the pan full of scrambled eggs; they were still good.  The highlight of the breakfast was the scones that her dad makes, they were awesome.  After breakfast, we packed up all our stuff and hit the road.  The drive back was just as long, but there was a little more excitement, rain.  This whole drive we listened to a new audiobook that we’ve heard good things about.  We both really enjoyed it.  I am so glad that I didn’t have to drive through the blizzard that hit the other side of Missouri.  We were so happy when we got home.  We had ordered pizza, which delivered 15 minutes after we unloaded.  Now it is time to eat healthier and to exercise to work off all the food that I ate.  Well, that was my Thanksgiving.  I hope you had a great week too.  If you would like, tell me about it in the comments section below.  It is always great to hear of adventures that others have.  Have a great day and let’s go see some houses.