Finding the beauty in winter

It’s been a hard couple of weeks for those of us living in the Treasure Valley. A deep and depressing inversion has kept the sun away for longer than tolerable! Are you new to Boise and don’t know what an inversion is? Here’s a great explanation and visual description:

The making of a weather inversion

The making of a weather inversion

For more info on what makes an inversion:
What Is An Inversion

People are so thirsty for sunshine they are driving up to Idaho City  or Bogus Basin just to see the sun. As dwellers of this usually beautiful and mild valley, we are not accustomed to extended periods of time without the sun so we head to the hills to bask in it’s glory.

January inversion as viewed from the road to Bogus Basin

January inversion as viewed from the road to Bogus Basin

To get us through, and help us remember that there can be beauty in winter, I’m sharing these photos that I took before the inversion took it’s hold.

Boise River

Boise River in Winter

frosty pine

Frosty pine on a sunny winter day

Hopefully this inversion will pass in the next few days, as the forecast suggests, and we can all avoid a serious case of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Boise River, near Eagle Road

Boise River, near Eagle Road

What does Home mean to you?

I love this new ad from Coldwell Banker! The dog jumping out of the car, kicking off your shoes at the front door, and sinking comfortably into your couch. All of the great things about owning your own home and making it a comfortable place for you and your family. Even your dog.

A little Motley Crue for the nostaligia doesn’t hurt either! #HomeRocks!


What a nice surprise! Review of local shop Bee Wise Goods and Soda Works

Last weekend, my daughter and I were out running some errands and we decided to do a bit of thrift store exploring. That intention evolved into an excursion of visiting little shops that we pass by all the time and had never checked out.

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One stop in particular will be on our list to visit often – Soda Works & Bee Wise Goods on State Street.  I always knew this little spot looked intriguing from the outside.  When we walked into the Bee Wise side of the shop, we didn’t know where to look first.  It is a wonderful mix of antiques, fun fabric, and essential oils.  You can also find an abundance of jewelry, accessories, handbags, and other fun stuff – all made by local artisans.Image

I picked up these cute, vintage overnight cases.

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When you walk over to the other half of the store you discover the reason for the name. They have an entire wall filled with craft sodas. Every flavor you can imagine, many made with natural ingredients and less than 80 calories.

Thankfully, there is also a refrigerator where a good selection of sodas are chilled and ready to try on the spot.  We were pretty thirsty after our shopping adventures so we decided to try some. Right away my daughter noticed the Izzy drink and wanted what was familiar. We agreed that we would try something we hadn’t tried before. She chose the Reed’s Raspberry Ginger. I chose the Americana Cherry Cola.  We both loved our choices!

But that wasn’t the best part of the shop! Tucked in the back of the shop is the best bakery in town (sorry Big City). The shopkeeper expertly described each baked good in great detail, leaving our heads spinning with choices. In the end, I could not back away from the vegan chocolate cupcake made with avocado.  I know, it sounds weird but I swear it was the best chocolate cupcake I’ve ever had! My daughter chose a dark & white chocolate chip cookie. On the first bite I think her eyes rolled back and she made a low moan. It was a huge cookie that she couldn’t finish on the way home – a first!

This cute little shop tucked in a weird, old strip mall along a traditionally non-retail area of State street will definitely be on our list.  Whenever we need a quick treat or a unique gift. No wonder it received the Best of Boise award in 2012!  I can’t believe it took me so long to stop in. Give it try, you’ll be glad you did.

email:info@thesodaworks.com

Phone: 208.392.8493

Located at 3017 West State Street, right across from Lowell Elementary.

HOURS

Tuesday – Saturday 11-6

Sunday 1-5

Big Tax Changes for Homeowners in 2014

If you are currently a homeowner, you are probably used to a few tax perks.  Well, as of December 31, 2013 the following will expire:

  • PMI Deduction
  • Energy Efficiency Upgrades
  • Debt Forgiveness

According to an article published by the National Association of Realtors, here’s what you need to know about those expiring benefits as you ready your taxes:

PMI Deduction

This tax rule lets you deduct the cost of private mortgage insurance, which is what you pay your lender each month if you put down less than 20% on a home. PMI protects the lender if you default on the home loan. Your deduction could amount to a couple hundred dollars depending on your tax bracket and other factors.

Energy-Efficiency Upgrades

This sweet little tax credit lets you offset what you owe the IRS dollar-for-dollar for up to 10% of the amount you spent on certain home energy-efficiency upgrades, from insulation to water heaters. On the downside, the credit is capped at $500 (less in some cases). But on the bright side, the right improvement could lower your utility bills indefinitely.

Debt Forgiveness

When you go through a short sale, foreclosure, or deed-in-lieu, your lender typically lets you off the hook for some or all of what you owe on your mortgage.

That forgiven mortgage debt is income, on which you’d typically have to pay income tax.

Suppose you’re in financial distress and your lender agrees to let you short-sell your home, say for $50,000 less than you owe on the mortgage, and forgive you for the balance. Without the protection of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act, you’ll owe income tax on that $50,000.

It’s likely if you had the money to pay income tax on $50,000, you’d have used it to pay your mortgage in the first place.

For the full article, click here.

Hope you all have a fantastic and safe New Year!

November Market Report

The Ada County Association of Realtors reports some ups and some downs for the housing market in November.

Here are the highlights:

  • Single family home sales in November 2013 were 548 in Ada County, a decrease of 3.3% compared to November 2012.
  • Year-to-date sales are 7,385; up 14% over 2012 YTD sales of 6,471.
  • Days on market averaged 52 in November, no change from October.  Our year-to-date average is 51 days.

Read the full report here.

December Frost

We’re getting an Elf

Scarlett the Elf

Scarlett the Elf riding herd on all the animals

This year, I finally broke down and allowed Santa to send us an Elf.  You know, the little Elf that sits on a shelf to watch over the children.  These Elves tend to cause lots of mischief, according to all the photos I’ve seen on my friends Facebook pages.  I mean, it seems like a mixed message they are sending to the children by causing all kinds of mischief when they are sent to the home in order to watch over the children and report back to Santa on whether the kids were naughty or nice.

Shouldn’t they just behave themselves up there on the shelf? What kind of stunts have your Elves pulled?

Our Elf will be arriving this week.  Should be interesting to find out what happens!