Friday Five // October 17, 2014

We're back this week with another five fun fall and Halloween-themed activities to do this weekend. Get haunted, go on a pub crawl, see a musical, and more!

Only the bravest Charlestonians dare to enter Boone Hall Plantation on weekend nights during October. Boone Hall Fright Nights is the scariest, creepiest, most horrifying Halloween event in Charleston. Have a hauntingly good time with the Wicked Woods Hayride, Frightmare Factory, Zombie Town, and Twisted Terror. Open from dark until midnight Friday and Saturdays and from dark until 10pm Sundays and some weekdays.

The 27th Annual Children's Day Festival, presented by BILO, takes place this Sunday from noon to 5pm at the Park West Recreation Complex in Mt. Pleasant. Bring the kids out to enjoy carnival games, rides, face painting, wall climbing, pony rides, a petting zoo, and more! 

Zombies will crawl the streets of Park Circle this Saturday night from 5-11pm! Actually, it'll just be beer lovers in zombie makeup participating in the Park Circle Zombie Pub Crawl to benefit Lowcountry AIDS Services and hosted by Holy City Brewing. Nine bars and restaurants will have drink and food specials, and there will be a costume contest, silent auction, live music, and a DJ.

If you enjoy a good Mel Brooks film, you probably love his hilarious classic Young Frankenstein. Here's your chance to see the movie come to life with a Broadway twist! Charleston Stage is performing The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein at the Historic Dock Street Theater from October 17th through November 2nd. You can catch the show at 7:30pm Friday and Saturday evening or Sunday at 3pm.

For some relaxed, family-friendly fun, check out the 2014 Scarecrows on the Square in Summerville starting this Saturday afternoon. Businesses, schools, and families will set up their scarecrows in Hutchinson Square from 9am to 12pm. Come out and watch them being constructed, or just take a stroll at your leisure anytime this month to see some truly creative and inventive designs. While you're there, look for Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company's scarecrow and Halloween scene! Then cast your vote for your favorite at participating locations.


How-To Tuesday: Purge That Clutter!

A little simplification does everyone good in what can be a hectic modern life. The easiest way to simplify your home life? A good old-fashioned purge session. Getting rid of things we’ve been clinging to but don’t really need can feel so liberating that it can be hard to stop once you start…which isn’t a bad thing, actually. So drag out the donation boxes and trash bags, and consult our list below of some of the superfluous items most homeowners don’t realize they’re clinging to.
  1. Extra sheets and towels (especially the ratty ones). How many sheet sets do you really need? If you’re extra good at keeping up with laundry, you could get away with having one set for each bed in your home. But that’s not exactly realistic for most households. Each bed should ideally have two sets. Anything else is just clutter. While you’re at it, get rid of those faded towels that are riddled with holes and bleach spots. Lots of pet shelters take donations in the form of linens to create bedding and warmth for cats and dogs.
  2. That 4,983,347-piece butcher block knife set. That’s pretty hyperbolic of us, but really. Who needs that many knives? Even most professional chefs will tell you that you only need the basics to get by. Keep a couple of chef’s knives and then choose whatever specialty ones you know you’ll use (e.g. boning knife, bread knife, paring knife). And ditch that butcher block knife stand! It harbors bacteria and bits of food.
  3.  Excess storage containers. Admit it. You know you have that one scary cabinet that hides a jumbled mess of mismatched food storage containers and lids. Get rid of that nonsense! While the bowls can get by without their tops, all those stray lids are doing absolutely no good lingering in the cabinet. Toss them all! Then take stock of how many you actually use on a regular basis and weed out your collection accordingly.
  4. Multiple kitchen tools that do the same thing. Do you really need a blender AND a food processor AND an immersion blender AND a Magic Bullet? (Hint: The correct answer is no.) Ask yourself how often you use your specialty kitchen tools and pare down.
  5. Knick knacks, a.k.a. dust collectors. Most of us are guilty of hanging on to little decorative items that we don’t actually have any emotional attachment to. It may be out of guilt because the item was a gift, or it might just be out of laziness. If it doesn’t serve a purpose or isn’t part of a super special, sentimental collection, it doesn’t belong in your house. 
  6. Lonely, tired furniture. Does anyone actually sit in that cool-looking bamboo folding chair over there in the corner? It may be hip and trendy, but it certainly doesn’t look comfortable. And that old, dirty, ripped armchair only the dog loves? Yeah. It’s gotta go.
  7. Specialty cleaning products. This might seem counterintuitive (pun not intended!) since we’re talking about cleaning here, but truth be told, you don’t really need eleven different kitchen or bathroom cleaners to be squeaky clean. In fact, with just a bit of lemon, baking soda, and vinegar, you can clean pretty much anything in your house. Check out our blog post on how to make your own cleaning products.
  8. Extra dishes. Not only do extra plates, bowls, glasses, and utensils add clutter, but they also contribute to laziness. Who needs to do the dishes if there’s clean china to be had? Abandon that way of thinking! Unless you entertain regularly (and depending on the size of your household), you really only need about six place settings.
Is there anything on this list you disagree with? What would you add to our list? Tell us in the comments below!

Vertical Gardening and You!

If you haven't heard of vertical gardening, it's time for you to jump on the bandwagon! This method of growing plants and produce isn't exactly new (consider the Gardens of Babylon, for exampe), but it's become more popular in recent years for both aesthetic and practical purposes. Going vertical is an especially great way to experiment with hydroponic gardedning, which is the practice of growing plants without soil. Even if you prefer to stick to growing plants in soil, vertical gardening is a convenient method that can cost little to no money to start. Are you convinced yet? Read on to find out more!

What are the benefits?

1. With vertical gardening, monitoring and controlling pests is easier. The plants are right in front of your face, which allows you to spot signs of decay and pest activity more easily and quickly.

2. Your yield per square foot will increase since you'll be able to fit more in a vertical garden.

3. Taking away the need to hunch over, bend, and kneel makes harvesting much easier.

4. Since the fruits and veggies are right at eye level, they won't be able to hide under other plants. You'll be able to catch them at their prime ripeness.

5. Elderly gardeners and those with disabilities benefit greatly from vertical gardening since the physical exertion is less than traditional soil gardening.

What can I grow in a vertical garden?

Basically, you can plant any non-bush fruit or vegetable smaller than a volleyball. Examples of produce are tomatoes, peas, cucumbers, pole beans, squash, and mini pumpkins. Pretty much any flower or plant you grow in a traditional garden will thrive in a vertical one as well.

Where do I construct my vertical garden?

Almost any wall will do. In fact, vertical gardening is a great way to hide a particularly ugly wall! If the plants you want to grow have specific care instructions, be sure the wall you choose is located in a prime spot for those growing conditions.

How much money will I need?

This really depends on how fancy you want your garden to be. There are several methods that require different materials. If you want to build a complete, irrigated system, you'll need: a frame built of PVC pipe (Don't use metal or wood because of extra expense, weight, and possible rusting or rotting.) plastic sheeting fabric (Basic felt carpet padding works well.) galvanized screws stainless steel staples automatic irrigation system with a timer set to seconds If you don't want to get this far into it, there are simpler, cheaper methods. You can buy pockets especially designed for vertical gardening at most hardware or gardening stores. Pot hangers with polypropylene support clamps are also available for purchase. These are specially designed to endure high winds and weight. You can also go the green, free method by using found objects like rain gutters, burlap bags, shutters with wide slats, etc. If you're using a solid material, make sure to drill drainage holes; and if you're planting edibles, be sure the materials are non-toxic.

Have you had experience with vertical gardening? Have you tried hydroponic gardening? Tell us about your nontraditional gardening experiences in the comments below!


How to fix your credit score

 bad credit

Your Credit Score

How can you make your credit score clean again? Yes, your lenders will be reviewing your credit score.  It will play an important role in determining the price range in which you can afford to buy.  If you know it will be at least six to eight months before you move into that dream home there is time to expedite the credit cleaning process in order to increase your credit score. Equifax, TransUnion and Experian are important places to get your credit score.  Analyze your report and scores, and then start making corrections to your credit mistakes right away. If you find a problem on your credit report, contact the creditors ASAP to make sure the information is correct and accurate.  If not, then file a dispute and have them update your report.  Make sure this information is corrected with all the credit bureaus. This will allow Equifax, TransUnion or Experian to make corrections as soon as possible in order to help fix/increase your credit score.

Credit Cards

Many people have a bad habit of using credit card(s) much like cash. Continually charging and not paying off the balance every 30 days will increase your chances of credit card debt and credit problems in the future. Plan to take action to stop credit card spending. Plan a budget and start fast in order to give your credit score a boost in the right direction. If you pay the balance within 30 days, then you reduce your interest debt to almost nothing. Learn how to use credit cards responsibly to maximize their benefits. Eliminate credit card debit and usage in order to get a handle on finances.  This will allow making a mortgage payment possible and not overwhelming.

Monthly Payments

If your monthly payments make up a large percent of loan and credit card payments, you may be placing yourself in a situation where obtaining a financial mortgage loan is difficult.  Anticipating the future is always difficult but taking steps to be financially prudent can make all the difference. When you feel you have extra money, instead of spending it right away, add the money to your savings account.  The ability to save will provide you additional financial stability and security.


Friday Five // October 3, 2014

Need something to do this weekend? Check out two cultural festivals, participate in a surprise dinner, and more!

On Friday from 5-8pm, art lovers will have the opportunity to connect with the local art community at the French Quarter Art Walk.  Art from over 500 artists will on display, representing a wide variety of styles and media from traditional to contemporary. Pick up a map at any one of the 27 art galleries located within the French Quarter and begin your stroll. The event is free and open to the public, and wine and refreshments are available at no cost.

Learn about Central American, South American, and Caribbean culture at the Latin American Festival on Sunday from 12-6pm at Wannamaker Park. Food vendors will be serving up delicious tamales, empanadas, chorizo, and jerk chicken. There will be a salsa dance competition and Capoeira demonstration, and for the kids, a jump castle and arts and crafts.

Get ready to dine and dance at a moment’s notice! The Charleston PopUp Dinner will take place this Saturday from 5-10pm. Wear white and be ready to go when the location is announced on Saturday afternoon. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be added to the guest list.

What If? Productions presents a Broadway & movie musical themed Karaoke Smackdown this Saturday at 8pm. Ten contestants will perform their favorite Broadway numbers during the first round, and the second round will showcase four finalists singing the judges’ selections. Audience members will have a chance to participate in karaoke roulette during intermission.

The 45th annual Charleston Greek Festival, a favorite among Charlestonians, takes place this weekend, Friday through Sunday. Enjoy gyros, kebabs, and baklava while you  listen to music from A Night in Athens, Nick Trivelas, George Antonopoulos, and Joanna. For wine lovers, there will be Greek wine available from over thirty distributors. Other events include traditional Greek dance, church tours highlighting the Greek ecclesiastical tradition, and a Sunday church service. Parking is free, and a shuttle is provided from the MUSC employee parking lot.

Whatever you do this weekend, we at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a safe and happy time!




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