Spring Cleaning: Tips To Help Your Home Shine From The Cole Team

Spring Cleaning: Tips To Help Your Home Shine From The Cole Team

It’s March and usually around this time people start thinking about moving. I’m so glad to have The Cole Team as a great partner this year. They are giving us helpful tips each month all year long! For March, we are focusing on spring cleaning so they put together a video and article for some great tips on spring cleaning your home and making it shine in the market!

Mom and I really enjoyed Inman’s latest article “10 Spring Cleaning Tips to Help your Listing Shine” counseling agents on the importance of getting your home ready to list.  We thought it best to share raw and ‘as is’ because if you’re serious about selling and serious about getting top dollar, then this un-sugarcoated list is for you!  🎥 Check out our video for an introduction and highlights.  As always, if you or someone you care about is thinking of a move, think of us! We’d love to serve you!

Cheers, Stephanie & Meriellen

spring cleaning tips

10 Spring Cleaning Tips To Help Your Listing Shine

Get a head start before you even hit the market BY NICOLE SOLARI

With the abundance of sunshine, everything blooming and people eager to get out and about, spring is the perfect time for sellers to spruce up their home and jump on the market.

A little elbow grease can produce surprising positive results and help the listing look more appealing to potential buyers.

Here’s a 10-point spring cleaning checklist. Give it to your would-be homesellers to help them sell faster.

Maximize curb appeal

Have sellers get the yard in shape as quickly as possible. Clear away lingering leaves, trim shrubs, mow the grass, wash down the sidewalks and driveway, and even pressure-wash the house to make it sparkling clean.

Photo by Eduard Militaru on Unsplash

Give the exterior a facelift

If it’s looking shabby, suggest that sellers paint the front door, shine the metalwork, buy a fresh new mat (nothing too crazy) and frame the entry with spring-blooming plants or perennials in handsome bright-colored pots.

Clean the windows, inside and out

Nothing says “good ongoing maintenance” like sparkling clean windows with pristine sills.

While they’re at it, ask sellers to remove heavy draperies, and install new — or freshly-laundered — curtains that filter, rather than block, light.

Start spring cleaning in the kitchen

Let’s face it, the kitchen gathers clutter and grime like no other room.

Food stained appliances, lingering cooking odors and greasy surfaces can make the whole house feel dirty. So, sellers should start the spring cleaning in the kitchen by decluttering the counter, removing all refrigerator magnets and stashing small appliances so the countertop space looks endless.

Then, tell sellers to clean everything ’til it shines! Clean hardware and cabinetry (use special cleaners for wood), renew countertop surfaces using material-specific cleaning products, clean the oven and wash down all appliances inside and out!

Breadmaker / Shutterstock

Make bathrooms shine

Like kitchens, bathrooms can make or break a sale. So, sellers should make sure all fixtures are hospital clean and polished, install a spring-fresh shower curtain and liner, and declutter and clean countertops.

Organize makeup and products in bins you can easily tuck away. Tidy towel racks and other hangers, and bathrooms will be showroom ready!

Introduce spring colors in other ways

Adding some new light floral or bright colored bedding and towels can give the home a fast and easy makeover. Find spring-hued accent pillows for added style and a refreshed look.

Switch winter accessories for their spring and summer counterparts

Have sellers swap winter wool rugs for lighter spring or summer floor coverings (such as sisal), and change out the winter mantel or table decor for a more spring-like motif.

Or leave those spaces bare, and make them shine with a good polishing.

Bring spring inside

For a little freshness, cut flowers can add a spot of color and create a real aroma that no diffuser or home spray can match.

Avoid pollen-laden flowers that can set off buyers’ allergies, such as some lilies.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Reorganize your closets

Cleaning out clutter all through the home is a must — and closets count.

Sellers should get rid of non-clothing items stored on shelves, and then store heavy winter clothes in the attic (or a rented storage space) to immediately make closets look more spacious.

Finally, they should rearrange clothing on new hangers and in boxes to make closets will look fresh — and huge!

Clear out the garage

Much like closets, garages become catch-alls, especially during winter when you’re less apt to venture outside to put items away (or even in the trash).

This is the place and time for sellers to start sorting items into “trash/recycle,” “store elsewhere” or “sell/donate” piles, and then follow through once everything is sorted!

Have your sellers check these 10 things off the list, and they’ll have a huge head start when they put their house on the market.

Nicole Solari is owner and managing broker of The Solari Group in Solano and Napa Counties in Northern California. Nicole runs one of the highest producing brokerages in all of Northern California.

{Article image credited to Africa Studio / Shutterstock}

More About the Cole Team:

Cole TeamThe Cole Team, Meriellen Cole Arenz and Stephanie Cole Patterson, is a full-time mother/ daughter led team with over 45 years of experience dedicated to tenaciously protecting their client’s interests. They epitomize integrity, energy, hard work, and creative service in every detail of a real estate transaction. They have earned respect in the North Atlanta community not only for their unparalleled professional track record and high ethical standards but for being an honest, hard working team that does absolutely everything in their power to ensure their client’s success. They have worked in every aspect of the industry representing sellers, buyers, and investors in the residential market. To learn more about this mother/daughter team, watch this video.

Connect with the Cole Team online: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Phone: 770.316.3110

Spring Cleaning: 5 Questions To Ask As You Clean Out Your Closet

Spring Cleaning: 5 Questions To Ask As You Clean Out Your Closet

Hello! I’m Morgan from It Is What We Do. I am so excited to be over here on Cumming Local today. My best friend, Ashley and I run a fashion blog called It Is What We Do. On our blog, we share about all things fashion! Ashley and I love to shop and we love to travel. We try new products and look out for the perfect pieces to add to our closet. Check out our photo below…


This month is all about spring cleaning and a big part of that in my house is tackling the closets! I have slowly started the process, but I need to finish the job. I have 5 questions I ask myself when picking what to keep and what to get rid of. Today I am sharing those tips/questions with you all. Spring is a great time to take on this project. It is also a great way to make room for new clothes! That is motivation enough for me to get cleaning!

  1. Does It fit? This seems like an obvious question. So many people hang onto clothes because they have a goal to fit back into those clothes. That is a great goal to work toward, but if you have been saying that for years then it might be time to get rid of the clothes that don’t fit. Make room for clothes that flatter your shape. If in the end you hit that goal of getting back down to the size you want what better way to reward your hard work by going out and buying some new clothes. New clothes are a great reward.
  2. Would you buy it in a store right now? If you are on the fence about whether or not to keep something, ask yourself if you were in the store shopping would you buy it. If the answer is no then get rid of it! I always think that when I am looking at some of my clothes. It really will make you stop and evaluate a lot of the clothes you own.
  3. Is it flattering? I have done this so many times. I have kept something because I like it and it still fits but it just isn’t all that flattering on me to wear. So instead of getting rid of it, I just hang on to it thinking it will magically look good on me. If you have some clothing that just doesn’t make you feel great when you put it on, then bye-bye clothes! Why wear clothes you don’t feel good in?If you know you aren’t going to wear them it is better to clear out the space in your closet. Having clothes that flatter you and make you feel good in your skin are so important. I love having options in my closet that I know I can easily throw on without putting too much thought into it, and feel good about what I have on.
  4. Have you worn it in the past year? If the answer is no, then ask yourself why. Is it because there has been no need to wear it. For example if you have a great classic dress, but haven’t had the need to dress up then you should keep that item. But if you have everyday clothing that you haven’t worn in a year or more it is probably time to part ways. I am so guilty of breaking this rule!! This is one thing I am trying to really implement when going through and picking what to clean out and what to keep. Sometimes going through your clothes like this shows you some great things you have that you might have forgotten about. It can be like a treasure hunt and you may pull out things you haven’t been wearing that you will start wearing all the time.
  5. Is it comfortable? This is a question I have to really ask myself. I am so guilty of buying something I love but after I wear it I realize it isn’t the most comfortable thing to wear. I still keep it but rarely if ever wear it. This mostly applies to shoes for me. There are times I buy a top or dress and realize it is not something easy to wear, so it just sits in the closet collecting dust. I am trying a lot harder to be more diligent when I shop to realize this before I buy something.

Now that you have cleaned out your closet you can organize everything better. I have started color coding my clothes. Before I would have everything in random order and forget about certain clothes. Now that I have it color coordinated it makes it easier for me to see and know what I have. If I am looking for a blue shirt then I have an easy way to search through all of my blue shirts.

Another great way to orgainze your clothes is my catergorizing them. You can put all of your t-shirts, button downs, blouses together. This is another great way to have those clothes easy to go through. If you need a nice blouse then you know you have one section you need to look through.

One motivation for cleaning out your closet is the ability to sell some of those gently used items and make some money. I have started using Poshmark and have loved it. It is a great way to get rid of clothes you don’t wear. The money you earn you can use for new clothes! For clothes I don’t think should re-sold will get donated to a local charity. Find somewhere you know will put the items you donate to good use. Both are great ways to stay motivated to clean out your closet.

Here’s to spring cleaning & getting organized! Cheers!

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PS – After you have cleaned out your closet and have items to donate, please consider donating to one of our local non-profits here in Forsyth County.

Morgan Brock has been married to her husband Jeremy for 12 years and is mom to two boys, Bennett and Walker.  She graduated college with a degree in Finance but never loved working in that field.  She has always had a love for fashion and shopping.  Her goal is to help people find great clothes that they love and feel confident in. She finds so much joy in that.  She is also a frugal shopper, so she loves sharing where to find great deals.  Her belief is you don’t have to spend a lot of money to look your best!  All of this led Morgan and her best friend, Ashley, to start a fashion and lifestyle blog.

To read more about our contributing writers, click here. 

Southern Way Insurance Agency: 10 Tips To Love Your Home

Southern Way Insurance Agency: 10 Tips To Love Your Home

Spring is in the air and it is time for us to all get out and spruce up our homes! I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love this time of year (minus the pollen overload). For us, the time is spent enjoying the mild weather outside and spring cleaning inside. When you start planning how to best spend your next few spring weekends, take these tips to love your home into account. PS – These are in no particular order.

1 – Time to change your air filters in the home.  This will not only help your air conditioner run more efficiently, it will help with those nasty spring time allergies.  You should be replacing the furnace filters at least every 3 months.

2 – Change the direction of the ceiling fans. Make sure you have your ceiling fans running counter clockwise to provide that nice cool air!  In the winter, fans can run clockwise and help spread the heat throughout the room.

3 – Shut down the fireplace.  If you have gas, you can turn the gas off and shut the damper until you need the fireplace again. If you use logs it’s a great time to clean the ashes out and shut the damper.

4 – Clean your gutters.  Now is a great time to get up on that ladder or on your roof and get all of the debris (leaves/twigs) out of your gutters.   This will help the water drain away from your home so you don’t get any water damage to your home or foundation.

5 – Re-finish your deck.   If you have a wood deck, it is probably needing a good cleaning and a fresh coat of paint/stain.

6 – Take your lawnmower in for a tune up.   Your local hardware store can do a tune up and sharpen your blades for less than $100.

7 – Trim trees and bushes.   You shouldn’t have any tree limbs within 8 feet of your home. You should trim your bushes so that they are at least a foot away from your home. As an added bonus, this will help keep the critters away!

8 – Air conditioner (HVAC) tune up.   Wouldn’t you rather be proactive and have your HVAC checked out BEFORE we get to the hot months of June, July & August?  You will be glad you were proactive!

9 – Pressure wash your home/sidewalks/outdoor furniture.    You can rent a pressure washer for less than $100 for the day if you do not have one.  It is amazing what a good deep cleaning will do for your home’s appearance!

10 – Change the batteries in your smoke detectors.    We have all had that awful “beep” noise to remind us to change the batteries.   They always seem to happen at the worst times! For a good laugh, check out the video below of one of my favorite Friends’ episodes:

Craig Crawford has over 25 years in the insurance industry.   He graduated from Georgia College and State University in 1994 with a  major in business.   He joined Southern Way Insurance Agency in 1999 as an owner in the agency.   Craig became an Accredited Adviser in Insurance in 2006  (AAI).


Connect with Craig online: Facebook | Website

To learn more about Craig and our other contributing writers, click here.

10 Reasons To Love The Bees

10 Reasons To Love The Bees

Bees are arguably one of the most important creatures on Earth. They pollenate about 80% of flowering plants, they provide habitats for other animals through their pollination, and we depend on them to pollinate a large majority of our food crops.

However, bees are in crisis. In the US alone, we have lost over half of our bee hives since World War II. Pesticides and seeds coated in neonicotinoids take a large part of the blame, and explain the drastic decrease in bee colonies since the 1940s. Without bees we lose plants, animals, food….we simply may not exist. Saving the bees is paramount!

Here are 10 easy ways you can love the bees:

1. Share
It’s important that we share our knowledge of bees and how to preserve their colonies, especially with younger generations. The more we know, the more we can all implement small changes that make a big difference! A great resource for kids, is the Kid Kits Bee Inspired challenge! Join here for weekly activities delivered to your email: http://eepurl.com/djKYsf

2. Don’t Spray!
Do not use chemicals or pesticides in or around your gardens and lawns. Chemicals and insecticides cause damage to honeybees and their systems. Pesticides can also saturate the pollen of flowering plants, be carried back to the hive, and end up in our honey. For a free guide of ways to manage weeds and insects without toxic chemicals, sign up for emails here: https://naturallycurated.activehosted.com/f/3

3. Dedicate space to a native habitat garden
Devote an area of your yard or garden to a safe haven for bees and insects. Plant native plants in large quantities and let them grow wild (no need to weed, dandelions and clover are plentiful bee food). It will not only give bees a place to call home, but you will reap the rewards of treating them well! I love to visit Scottsdale Farms in Milton for help picking native plants.

4. Plant bee-friendly flowers
Pristine yards are waste land for bees. Give bees plenty of areas to forage and cross-pollinate by planting bee-friendly flowers in pots and in gardens. Be sure you are not spraying chemicals or using neonicotinoid (pesticide) coated seeds.

5. Make a bee waterer
Give your new bee friends a place to get a drink. Use anything from a bird bath to the base of a pot to make a bee friendly watering hole. You can add pebbles or large marbles to shallow water to give the bees a place to land.

6. Make a bee hotel
A bee hotel makes space for solitary bees to nest. Use natural materials to pack a container that will keep the inside dry. Mount near bee-friendly plants, at least a yard off the ground, facing south to south east… then, wait for overnight guests!

7. Buy raw honey from local producers
Raw, local honey contains pollen and hasn’t been damaged by processing. It’s better for you, and helps keep apiaries running. Supporting local producers who are committed to sustainable practices, helps to protect local bees. You can get an all-natural, raw, unfiltered and award-winning Georgia local honey set, here: https://www.naturallycurated.com/giftboxes/honey-set

8. Meet a beekeeper…or become one!
Get to know your local beekeeper better, through your continuous support of them. You can also look up a local bee association and get involved. You may even decide becoming a beekeeper yourself is something you would like to do! Check out the Forsyth Bee Keepers Club at: Forsythbeekeepersclub.org

9. Support local, organic farmers.
What holds true for honey, should be a general guide for you too! Buy local, seasonal foods. Look for farmers who are not spraying their crops, use high quality seeds, and are concerned with sustainability. Visit a farmers market, join a CSA or get to know a local farmer in order to support conscious farming. We love getting seasonal produce from conscious farms like Cane Creek Farm and Gibson Farm of Cumming! The Cumming Harvest and nearby farmers markets are also a great way to support local farmers.

10. Get active!
It’s important that we share our concern for bees with others! Distribute information, speak to your local legislatures, and make sure your HOA and local businesses understand the part they can play. You can also teach and encourage your neighbors to make some of the same small steps you are, and consider becoming a bee activist!

For more information, or to help fund an educational hive in Georgia, visit www.naturallycurated.com and sign up for Bee Inspired emails!

Elizabeth Hood is a local mom and wife who is passionate about conscious living. She is also the owner of Naturally Curated, a concierge gift box company based in Cumming. Her business supports high quality brands, US made products, small businesses, and eco-friendly practices.

Connect with Elizabeth online: https://www.naturallycurated.com

Also, you can read an article all about what she does with Naturally Curated subscription boxes on a spotlight article we did – Unique Gifts Worth Giving

Loving Your Kid Even When They Annoy You

loving your kid

Loving Your Kid Even When They Annoy You

I’m asking for a “friend”… Does your kid ever annoy you? Yeah, my kids never annoy me either. But for the sake of my “friend,” let’s pretend he’s not the only one.

When your kid is snuggly and in a good mood, they are so lovable. But when they do that thing that just drives you crazy…I mean when my “friend’s” kid does something that annoys him…how do you still feel the love for your kid?

Here are 10 real-life ways to still feel the love for your kid even when they annoy you:

  1. Go to your bathroom, lock the door, and sit on the toilet. If that doesn’t give you the break you need, do some yard work, wash a car, put in some ear buds (music optional), check the mailbox, whatever it takes to get a break.
  1. Spend some time with another dad’s kid. Other people’s kids are always more annoying than your own kid. A little perspective always helps.
  1. Consider all the annoying things you do, then remind yourself who loves you despite these things. Knowing you’re loved…even when you’re annoying…helps you love others…even when they’re annoying.
  1. Give them some screen time. Yes, I know screen time equals bad parenting. But sometimes your mental health is more important.
  1. Pause and think…you’re going to miss this annoying kid one day.
  1. Pawn your kid off on someone else. Ask a friend if your kid can come over and play with their kid. Invite another kid over to play with your kid…to be a buffer.
  1. Give your kid a break. They’re just a kid.
  2. Send them outside to play. If it’s below 25 degrees, send them to their room to play. Every kid needs some alone play time.
  3. Annoy your kid back. You won’t win the “Mature Parent Of The Year” award, but it might make you feel better. FYI…that award does not exist.
  4. Ask God to help you see your kid like He sees you when you are annoying Him. Ok, maybe you don’t annoy God. But no one is 100% lovable all the time. And God still loves you no matter what.

Ok. Ok. I’ll be honest with you. All “friend” references are really me. I just didn’t want to admit it. But I’m not alone, right?

My three kids are awesome. But sometimes…

Our kids annoy us at times. They may truly be annoying during those times. Or we may just be on edge and, honestly, anything would annoy us at that time. Either way, we can feel love for our kid when this happens.

Casey Ross has been married to Julie for over 20 years and is the dad to one daughter and two sons. Casey and his family share some common loves: the Atlanta Falcons / United / Hawks, Mexican food, Hilton Head Island, and just about any kind of competition. Julie and Casey mentor engaged couples, lead married small groups, and lead small groups called Starting Point at their church. If Casey is not at home or work, you can probably find him at Chick fil A enjoying a Frosted Coffee and a Diet Dr Pepper or working out.

Connect with Casey Online: Blog | Twitter | Facebook 

To read more about Casey and our other contributing writers, click here.

World Cancer Day: Together We Can Make A Difference

Going into this article, I didn’t really know what to say—I just knew that I had to say something good. I knew I had to say something good for all of the fighters, the warriors, and the angels in heaven who live or have had to live with this terrible disease. I knew that I had to say something good for all of the families who have lost a loved one to this dreadful, tragic, and painfully common illness. But most of all, I knew I had to say something good for you, my readers. I knew that I’d have to speak truth about something that creeps up every year on the 28th of November like a piece of my dreaded past just waiting to pounce and devour every single ethical shred of my soul. I knew that I’d have to talk about cancer.

Whether we all want to say it or not, this devastating disease has made its mark on everyone. It has slithered its way into our lives and ejected its fangs when we least expected it. It maybe even managed to find a home in the one we love most, or perhaps worse: us. For me, it made its mark in one of my childhood best friends. We were on the same cheerleading squad, and even after a tiring practice or a day of standing in the suffocating Georgia heat, she was always smiling. Always laughing. Always running at full speed ahead, and always supporting me like I’d never been supported in my life. But then, one day, she got sick, and the days of cheerleading practice were replaced by hospital visits and chemo. I vividly remember going to visit her after her surgeries and standing by her side just as she stood by mine only months before.

She was a beautiful soul. Looking back, I don’t think I’d ever met such a strong, determined, and good-willed person at such a young age. Over the years, she became a role model, a pageant queen, and a fighter. By the time we hit eighth grade, monthly Dairy Queen trips became tradition, and we were making plans that would never become reality—all thanks to the monster that is cancer.

I remember the day when she lost her fight. I remember it like someone remembers her worst nightmare, and it almost felt like one except there was no waking up. It happened over Thanksgiving break of my freshman year of high school; I was in my room, propped against my bed, fiddling on Instagram and thinking about the impending weeks at school. When my mom came in and gave me the worst news I’d ever received, things were never the same. In the months that followed, I tried to cope with her death, tried to deal with the fact that she was gone, but the thing about grief is that when it finds its way into your heart, it never wants to leave. To this day, I still feel the weight of her absence. I still carry the guilt of not being there enough in her final weeks, and I shed quite a few tears, but I know that she’s watching over me in heaven, along with everyone else that she loved.

I tell you that story not to share my personal experiences, but to shed some light on the devastating reality that is childhood cancer. As you may know, World Cancer Day just passed, and it got me thinking about what I could do to make a difference. It got me thinking about how, if we all banded together as a community, we could not only help children and families, but also the millions of others affected on a daily basis. Together, we could make change. So, with all that being said, if you have the opportunity to donate to or volunteer at a local hospital, take it. If you have the opportunity to make dinner for a cancer patient suffering from chemo or major surgery, do it, and if you have even the smallest chance to love someone with this condition, love them with all your heart, soul, and mind. You see, there might not be a cure for cancer, but there is a cure for battling cancer in isolation.

Morgan Champion is an ambitious North Forsyth High School senior who believes in the power of serving others, reaching for her dreams, and having a positive attitude—no matter her circumstances. Besides writing for “Cumming Local,” Morgan enjoys volunteering at her church, at the Forsyth County Peer Court, and at various clubs and organizations throughout her school.

To read more about Morgan and our other contributing writers, click here

50+ Date Night Ideas In & Near Forsyth County

date night ideas

50+ Date Night Ideas In & Near Forsyth County

There are plenty of places to spend a date night or day in or near Forsyth County. I thought today I would compile them together in one list. Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy each other’s company. I know for me, it’s always so refreshing to be out with my spouse and no kids!

In Forsyth County

Located all over Forsyth County, you will find some great spots to spend time with a loved one or even a group of couples. Whether it’s a tasting event or to grab drinks or even a night out with a group of couples – you can find plenty of date night options right here in Forsyth County.

Vickery Village:

Pinspiration: Want to try something different for your next date night? Sign up for a splatter date night package at Pinspiration. They have several packages available. Check it out on their website.

Tanners & Cherry Street Brewery: On Saturdays at 3pm, you can stop by for a tour of this locally owned and operated brewery. This makes for a fun afternoon activity and then you can eat dinner afterwards at Tanners or one of the other Vickery Village restaurants.

Branchwater: We like to eat here for special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries. Chef Todd is so talented! They also have a great patio and live music during the week.

Nido Cafe: Nido is definitely a great breakfast and lunch spot. In the evening, it has a beautifully romantic environment. And with good Spanish wine, tapas, and chocolate – my heart is happy! I recently shared an article that I believe you will find helpful – Nido Cafe: 5 Reasons To Go For Dinner This Weekend.

Cinco’s: The rooftop bar makes Cinco’s appealing when the weather is warmer. Even when its cold outside, the patio downstairs has warmers to allow you to dine outside and stay warm. And can you ever go wrong with Mexican food?

Happy Belly Kitchen: Happy Belly Kitchen is a wonderful restaurant that you can’t forget about. They keep the grab n’go fridges filled with dinners to take home for an “at-home date.” And they are a fabulous location to enjoy a healthy and delicious dinner together. When it’s warm, you can dine outside as well.

Village Italian: This restaurant was closed for quite some time due to a water pipe busting leaving lots of water damage. But they are open again! We love everything we have ever tried here. If you haven’t been, definitely go support this small local business now that they are open again.

Collection at Forsyth County:

Cheeky: Recently we went to Cheeky for drinks and apps. We sat at the bar area and enjoyed some chips and guacamole with our margaritas. A little tip from me to you, go early during their happy hour for half priced apps.

AMC Theater: Catch a newly released movie at the movie theater. With all the great restaurants, you could easily grab dinner in the Collection and then head to the movies.

Talk of the Table: We love going to the wine tastings at Talk of the Table. They are also a great place to stop by and pick up a bottle of wine to take home for an “at-home date night.”

Grub Burger: We love this place for a date night. The burgers and the boozed milkshakes are to die for! I especially like it because I can get a burger with a gluten free bun here. And the buns are really fabulous.

Marlow’s: Marlow’s has always been one of our favorite places to eat dinner at when we visit the Collection at Forsyth. I love their lettuce wrapped burgers and the summer salad. I also love their drinks and appetizers. The environment and great staff help the situation as well.

Jim n Nick’s: My husband loves BBQ so we try to eat at Jim n’Nicks from time to time. They have some great specials so be sure to check that out before heading there.

Mellow Mushroom, Ichiban, Ted’s Montana Grill, Carrabba’s, and Zoe’s: These are all great date night options for you! We have our regular places and I’m sure you have yours. But I wanted to mention these because Collection at Forsyth has a great variety of restaurant offerings.

Around Forsyth County

Lake Burrito & Malvi: Oh how we love all things about Lake Burrito. We are big fans of the food and staff. We could literally eat Lake Burrito multiple days in a row and be happy. The food is always fresh and full of flavor. If you didn’t know – they have an amazing breakfast on the weekends. If the kids are spending the night with their grandparents, we will definitely grab breakfast before they come home. And for such and dinner, I love their chicken soup and my husband loves their pineapple pork in a burrito. We also like to visit Malvi for dessert. Be sure to check their hours before heading over.

Take a Painting Class: I think doing a painting classes together would be so much fun. There are great options through AR Workshop, Pine & Pigment, and Pinot’s Palette in Johns Creek. Be sure to check out their schedule and sign up for one!

Cumming Fairgrounds: Sometimes there are events going on at the Cumming Fairgrounds. Be sure to check their calendar to see if there is anything going on – www.cummingfair.net

Go Hiking Together: We love to hike Sawnee Mountain! This is always a great date day experience. The Indian Seats hike is easier than the Mountainside hike. Just thought you’d like a headsup on that!

Have A Picnic At The Park: Of course this totally depends on the weather, but if it’s a nice day a picnic would be lovely! Grab a sub from Publix or make your own meal at home, then head over to one of our parks for a beautiful picnic lunch or dinner. Here is a list of our parks – 20+ Parks To Visit in Forsyth County

Going Shootin’: What’s more romantic than a little friendly competition. Rent a gun or bring your own to Country Folk’s Superstore Gun Range and rent a lane. In fact, often they run a special for $25 on Friday from 4-8pm. For the $25 you receive: 1 lane, 2 shooters, and 1 target. Sounds exciting to me! Here’s a tip – expedite your check in process by printing off the documents online and signing them in advance.

Listening to Live Music: Believe it or not, we have many restaurants in Forsyth County that offer live music. You will want to connect with each of the restaurants directly for exactly what they have to offer.

Have A Date Night At Home: Sometimes an “at-home date” is just what you need. We do this often when we want to have a date night without having to use a babysitter. Just get the kids to bed a little early (ours like to read before bed so it’s special for them to go to bed and be responsible for turning off their light at 7:30pm) and either cook dinner together, grill, or order takeout to share. We also like to get a Redbox movie or binge on shows on Hulu or Netflix. So if you have a good show recommendation, let me know!

Tam’s Backstage or Tam’s Tupelo: Both of these restaurants have excellent food! We like Tam’s Backstage as a place for celebrations. We’ve been there for multiple birthday or anniversary celebrations. Their grilled lobster is amazing! At Tam’s Tupelo, we really liked the wings appetizer.

Stars & Strikes: I tend to think of Stars & Strikes as a place to go with the family. But it’s also a super fun date night. Cosmic bowling or just regular bowling is a way to laugh and compete with each other. Check out their daily specials to see if you can use one of them to save some money too!

Lake Lanier: You can take a day trip to Lake Lanier and rent a boat to take out on the water. Or you can even stay at the resort up there. Lake Lanier is also home to many events and activities. Check out their website for more things to do there.

The Ice: I’m gonna be real honest here. I cannot ice skate. So what could be more fun than doing something you aren’t comfortable at doing? You gotta just sit back and laugh. Ice skating will cause you to hold hands and lean on the wall a lot!

Let’s Roll: Roller skating doesn’t just have to be for kids. I think being a kid with your partner is always the best equation for a great date night or day. When we go roller skating, it takes me straight back to middle school. Hahaha!

Antique Shopping: Something we love to do is hop in the car and drive around looking to do some antique or yard sale shopping. You can check out our website calendar for any yard sales. And you can check this article out for finding antique stores: Antique Stores in Forsyth County.

Near Forsyth County

Main Event: At Main Even – you can eat, bowl and play games. It’s located in Alpharetta so it’s not too far away. They offer daily specials so make sure to check their website for more information on that.

Andretti’s Indoor Kart & Games: Just as the name describes you can drive indoor karts and play games here. But that’s not all – you can eat there as well. Be sure to check their website for daily specials and prepaid deals.

Take A Cooking Class: I love to cook so being able to do it with my husband is a win in my book. We have browsed the options on groupon. But our favorite one is through Sur La Table. They offer all types of classes. We have always wanted to try the Big Green Egg class. But I’ve loved the ones we have done. Highly recommend it!

Top Golf: If you have never experienced Top Golf, then you’d got to check it out. I love a good healthy competition. Top Golf was a great place to do that. And the best part is it doesn’t matter if you are good at golf or not. I think luck plays into it for sure!

Ponce City Market: In just under an hour you can be to Ponce City Market for a great night out. We love all the food options there. And dessert is even better. Last time we were there, I took notes just for you. Check out 5 Reasons Ponce City Market Makes A Great Date Night.

Chattanooga, TN: When I think of day trips with the family, I always think of Chattanooga because it’s a only a few hours away and we love it there. But it doesn’t just have to be the family. It could be a great way to sneak away for the day. We enjoy the Tennessee Aquarium and lots of the restaurants (plus ice cream at Clumpies). Check out our last trip to the Tennessee Aquarium.

Dahlonega: Dahlonega is one of our favorite places to go on a wine tasting tour. Our favorite winey is Three Sisters, but really we love them all. To find more wine tasting locations in North Georgia, check out our post – Top Ten Locations For Wine Tasting In North Georgia.

Avalon: You could spend the whole day at Avalon and be totally content. When we have gone for a night out – We like to start at Cru Wine Bar for some wine, then head to Brine for seafood apps and finish the night out at Rumi’s splitting a delicious Peruvian meal. And don’t forget about the movie theater here. It has lazy boy recliners you reserve before you head there. It’s seriously the most comfortable movie watching , i’ve experienced. Here is a list of all the restaurants in Avalon.

Chuy’s: You may have noticed a theme. I love Mexican food. We love eating at Chuy’s because it’s tex-mex. We used to have to drive to Atlanta to dine here but now there is a location in Alpharetta!

Want to head into Atlanta? Our friends at 365 Atlanta Family put together a great list of ideas in Atlanta that won’t disappoint. Find over 75+ Date Night Ideas in Atlanta.

What is your favorite place to go out on a date?

Rachael Walkup has lived in North Georgia all her life. Since 2006 – The Walkup family has made Forsyth County their home. Along with being a wife and mom, Rachael is an avid blogger, social media expert, and owner of CummingLocal.com. Her time is spent promoting local events and small businesses in North Georgia.  With a background in Marketing and Sales, coupled with her experience in Project Development and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Rachael offers consultations and classes to help clients reach their fullest potential.

Ways to Save Money at Costco

Ways to Save at Costco

Ways to Save Money at Costco

Hi there, Rachael here. I have had a Costco membership for a few years now and I absolutely love shopping there. The staff is always helpful and friendly. And I know I’m saving money buying in bulk. Over the last few years, I’ve made note of a bunch of ways I save money (and time) at Costco. I thought these were helpful and just wanted to share with you! Hop they help you to save money as well!

Please note: These are in no particular order.

Watch Sale Prices & Save Receipts

If a product you have purchased goes on sale within a few weeks of purchasing, you can get the difference returned to you. Perfect example of this – I purchased filters two weeks ago. Last week, I discovered they were on sale. I just ran by there with my receipt and a $10 credit was applied to my credit card. You just have to make sure you are holding on to your receipts.

Risk Free Buying

Their return policy is amazing. I’ve returned many items because we didn’t like the product. I love the fact that if we try a salsa and don’t like it, we can return. Or if I purchase a shirt or pjs for the kids, they can be returned for not fitting. I believe that Costco’s return policy is very generous.

2% Back On Purchases

With the executive membership, you can get 2% back on all your purchases at the end of the year. If you play your cards right you may get your membership free. This year I’m trying something new. I have the Costco visa card plus the executive membership. Hoping by having both my Costco membership will be completely free because it will be paid for by cash back.

Downgrade Membership

Not earning enough cash back? You can downgrade your membership at any time if you aren’t earning enough cash back. Again, they want you to be satisfied with what you have whether it’s a product or their membership.

Look at Pricing in Store

The pricing always tells a story. You can tell if you need to stock up or wait just by looking at the price. According to a recent study, this is the formula to look for… $0.99 = Costco’s price, $0.98 = Retailer’s price, $0.97 = Marked down from the original price, and ending in $0.00 is manager markdown. If there is an asterisk on an item tag, that means it will not be carried there anymore. A little tip from me to you – I’ve learned over time that when you see something you like, you might want to buy it because its possible it won’t be there when you come back.

Frozen Products = Great Deal

Any items you might want in the frozen section, you can be assured they will save you money. Frozen fruit for an example is always a good buy. The frozen veggies are also great to have on hand. If you have an additional freezer, you can stock up on meats, breakfast foods, etc. Bulk always seems to save you time and money!

Costco Gift Cards

Did you know that you don’t have to be a member to be able to shop at Costco. If you have a friend wanting to try it out, buy them a Costco Cash Card. They can use that to shop and try it out. Isn’t that wonderful!?


Costco is the place to go to find an excellent deal on tires. You just have to catch them when they are on sale. And as an added bonus, Costco takes care of flats, rotating the tires, pressure checks, and any other tire maintenance for life (and for free)!

Grab a Rotisserie Chicken

I literally grab one or two of these every time I’m in Costco. When I get home, I shred up the chicken into bags of 3 cups. One chicken typically gives me 6 cups of shredded chicken. After I shred the chicken, I reserve the bones in another bag in my freezer. Once my freezer bag is full, I make Bone Broth.  My advice – always grab a rotisserie chicken at Costco!

Kirkland Bottled Water

Kirkland’s (Costco’s brand) bottled water runs just under 9 cents a bottle. And they come in 40 packs. If I have room in my pantry, I like to grab a pack every time I go to Costco. If you have an additional fridge where you keep drinks – these waters are great to have in there!

Gas Prices

Gas also runs lower than most places. If you have a Kroger plus card, Costco runs a few cents less than Kroger most of the time. And if you have a Costco credit card, you get 4% back on gas purchases during the first year.

Costco Credit Card

To me this is a HUGE added bonus to have. Like I said before, we recently switched our credit card company to the Costco Visa Card. What’s great about it – is the cash back option every year. We get a percentage back on groceries, gas restaurants, Costco purchases, etc. Based on my calculations, the money we get back should pay for our membership and put cash in our pocket.

Split Bulk Items 

This is something I personally love to do. Some items will save you money when bought in bulk but they won’t if you don’t consume them all. For us, that’s sometimes falls into the produce category. I can share a bag of apples or a 4 lb veggie tray with a friend. We both get a lower price and we can eat all the produce before but goes bad.

Eat in the Food Court

I lean towards eating at Costco every time I shop. You just can’t beat $1.50 for a hot dog and soda. I love to get my hot dog bunless and I add sauerkraut. My kids love their pizza and it’s a huge piece so they usually split it.

Buy Kirkland Brand

I’m being super honest here – I’m not a loyal brand person. I just get whatever is the cheapest. And usually Kirkland brand is cheaper. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the brand too. All the products I have tried have been great. From workout pants to apple juice to spices, I’ve liked them all. My favorite is the Kirkland brand wine! It is always less expensive and really good. That’s a win win in my book!

Make a List and Stick to it

To really save money at Costco, I have found that I have to make a list and work really hard to stick to it. That isn’t always very easy especially when things are on sale. But I try my best. If I stick to my list I feel much better about what I’ve spent because I know that I got everything we needed. I use ziplist (an app) to organize my list. I just add items to my list through the month and once I get to at least 10 items, I make a Costco run.

Shop the App or Website

I have heard that people have found some good deals online. I haven’t done much shopping online. But I did take peek and I see what others have mentioned. Nothing I needed was on sale but I may check from time to time moving forward!

Do you have anything to add? Comment and let us know what your best money or time saving tips are for Costco.

Rachael Walkup has lived in North Georgia all her life. Since 2006 – The Walkup family has made Forsyth County their home. Along with being a wife and mom, Rachael is an avid blogger, social media expert, and owner of CummingLocal.com. Her time is spent promoting local events and small businesses in North Georgia.  With a background in Marketing and Sales, coupled with her experience in Project Development and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Rachael offers consultations and classes to help clients reach their fullest potential.

Tools for 2018: Relax


tools for 2018 relax

Tools for 2018 – Relax!

Each week on Thursday for the month of January we are sharing Tools for 2018. We are currently in the final week of our tools for success this year. To check out the other weekly topics – click here: Week One: Getting Healthy with Meals or Week Two: Getting Healthy with Fitness, Week Three: Finances

Life is busy, hectic, and responsibilities are at an all time high. To put it simple life is stressful! I know it and you know it. But what do we do? Well, I think we all just need to relax. We need to carve out time to rejuvenate. Now I know that’s hard because I stay pretty busy myself. But, I have found that you can replace some other things you do with times of rest and rejuvenation.

Here are some examples in no particular order:

  • Instead of watching tv – read a book

If you have a Kindle check this out: Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans (a free month trial)

  • Instead of going out shopping – get a massage

You can see a round-up of the spas or massage therapy options in Cumming by clicking here.  If you’re looking for a deal – Groupon has plenty of options for places in or near Cumming. Click here to see what deals there are. And use promo code SALE3 for 20% off.

Also, Bliss Mama Wellness has a great membership deal. They have several options ranging from $60-110 a month. Check out all they have to offer by visiting their website – http://www.blissmamawellness.com/membership-deals

  • The weather has been chilly, but get outside if you can

Forsyth County has great walking trails between all our 20+ parks and the Greenway. Enjoy them! Click here for more info on our parks.

  • Instead of getting lost on social media – disconnect more

I just read this blog a few years ago and it really inspired me. We do spend too much time on our phones. It’s a great practice to disconnect nightly. We don’t need to escape on our phones anymore. We need to connect! Click here to read the blog on divorcing your phone.

  • Instead of cooking at home – go out to eat

I have it factored into our schedule that we eat out at least once a week or every other week. This takes the pressure off me from cooking every single night! It’s like a night off. And those nights are always less stressful for me. Maybe even pick a night where the Kid’s Eat Free from our directory!


What else might you add to our list of ways to RELAX?

Husbands, Touch Your Wife

Touch Your Wife

Husbands, touch your wife in front of your kids.

The end. Okay, if you want more details, keep reading.

Husbands, touch your wife in front of your kids. Let your kids see you hold her hand. Hug her. Put your arm around her. Kiss her. Put your hand on her leg.

Touch her just because you’re glad she’s next to you. Not because you want something from her. You know what I mean.

Keep it PG. They are kids, after all. Don’t do something that will cause your kids to need counseling one day. Or don’t add one more thing to the list of reasons they’re going to need counseling because of you.

Your kids have a front row seat to your life and your relationship with your wife. You are modeling for them how a person…a man…a dad…a husband should act and react. The question is: What are you modeling for them?

Your kids get to see you communicate with your wife. How do you talk to her? Do you really listen? Do you seek to understand?

They get to see the conflict between the two of you. That’s not a bad thing. They also get to see you resolve that conflict and move forward.

They get a front row seat to your physical relationship too. And if you think your physical relationship (PG touching) should be kept from your kids, you are actually hiding something very valuable from them.

When you touch your wife in front of your kids, what happens?

Yes, they might pretend to be grossed out. They may make throw-up noises or roll their eyes, but they secretly like it. Why?

Kids desperately want to know that their parents love each other. They need to know that their parents like each other.

Touching your wife in positive ways shows your child that you love your wife. Yes, it’s just one way to show love to your wife. There are many ways. But touching your wife in front of your child is a powerful way.

Kids who feel like their parents love each other feel secure. And that security produces confidence. Confidence in…

• themselves.
• their abilities.
• their relationships.

They can face what the world throws at them because they have a strong foundation to return to at home. When they feel good about the most significant people in their life, they feel good about themselves.

You’re also setting their future relationship with their spouse up for success. By demonstrating loving and respectful touching between a husband and wife, it helps them know what is appropriate and inappropriate touching. And they will look for a spouse one day who touches them with love and respect.

So, husbands touch your wives. And do it with no expectation that it will lead to anything. Do it simply because she is close to you and you love her. And your kids are watching.

Oh yeah, men. If you touch your wife in front of your kids, it’s sometimes known to have positive consequences when your kids are not around too. Wink wink

Casey Ross has been married to Julie for over 20 years and is the dad to one daughter and two sons. Casey and his family share some common loves: the Atlanta Falcons / United / Hawks, Mexican food, Hilton Head Island, and just about any kind of competition. Julie and Casey mentor engaged couples, lead married small groups, and lead small groups called Starting Point at their church. If Casey is not at home or work, you can probably find him at Chick fil A enjoying a Frosted Coffee and a Diet Dr Pepper or working out.

Connect with Casey Online: Blog | Twitter | Facebook 

To read more about Casey and our other contributing writers, click here.