In this series, I highlight the businesses I like to refer to my friends, family, home buyers and sellers in the Pierce County area. This month I’m talking about Blue Max Meats in Puyallup & Buckley, WA.

Community Recommendation Series: Blue Max Meats

Is butcher loyalty a thing? Because once I went to Blue Max Meats, I knew it was something special. No other butcher in the area has this kind of amazing employees. We have gone to many of the different butchers in the area I have never been so impressed with the meat and service like I am at Blue Max Meats. They have two locations, Puyallup and Buckley, and are frequently very busy, but they have gone above and beyond to make enforce social distancing in an effort to make everyone in their space. The company was started a little over 8 years ago and has done nothing but grow since then. Additionally, I always appreciate businesses that keep their customers up to date on social media, and with all the changes that 2020 and COVID brought, I was never stuck wondering hours of operation or what meats they discontinued.

Here’s what others have to say about Blue Max Meats:

Our family has been blessed to find Blue Max meats in the PNW. Their meats are always fresh, top quality and the service is like no other. Even on their busiest days there is someone always eager to help. -Kerry

I love getting the different flavored pepperoni sticks, they’re so fresh. Their 2-dollar huge avocados are yummy too! I’m always helped as soon as I walk in. The guys are all so friendly, love this place, it’s my new candy store and I’m lucky enough to live right next door! -Crystal

Great meats! Especially their teriyaki and black pepper jerky and brisket hamburger! Never buying meat from the grocery stores again! -Rick

You may also like: Community Recommendation Series: The Adriatic at Oakbrook

In this series, I highlight the businesses I like to refer to my friends, family, home buyers and sellers in the Pierce County area. This month I’m talking about The Adriatic at Oakbrook in Lakewood, WA.

Community Recommendation Series: The Adriatic at Oakbrook

We are thrilled to introduce the Adriatic at Oakbrook, a new dining experience led by Chef Bill Trudnowski. Located at the Oakbrook Golf Club in Lakewood, WA, their delicious and fresh house made ingredients will keep you wanting to come back for more! Be sure to reserve your table as only a limited amount of indoor dining is available. There is takeout for delivery or curbside pick-up. Their specials include: 1/2 Off Bottles of Wine on Wednesday’s, Happy Hour all day Monday and Tuesday, Golfers – enjoy 10% off Dine In and Take Out orders!

Here’s what others have to say about The Adriatic at Oakbrook:

This is always been one of my very favorite restaurants and their food is excellent. My favorite used to be the shrimp with the spaghetti squash but now I’m developing a new favorite. But everything is so good and if you haven’t tried his mushroom soup it’s not to be missed. -Joyce

We had an amazing brunch today with our family, served by the wonderful Nikki—she is absolutely the BEST! Eggs Benedict was awesome, stuffed French toast, and BLT’s were delicious! Don’t forget the Bloody Mary’s- always a treat!!! The biggest portions & even served with fruit & scones, for an extra special touch! We will definitely be back! -Emily

They have the best staff and I mean from server to bartender to cook to chef!! Always a great experience. Clean and trustworthy. Open to the public not just members. Happy hour all day on Monday and Tuesday. And my favorite!! Wine Wednesday = half off bottles!! Highly recommend. -Beki

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Selling your home for the most money is a top priority of most sellers. If you’re planning on selling your home within the next few months, there might be some home improvements to make beforehand that can really increase your home value. Here are 4 upgrades to make before you sell your home.

Upgrades to Make Before You Sell

Update Cabinets

It’s not necessary to replace your cabinets as it may not make financial sense, but giving your cabinets a refresh can be one of the best upgrades to make before you sell. Start with a fresh coat of paint, preferably a color that is trendy and will appeal to home buyers when you sell. Next, change out the hardware. You may be surprised at how much a difference these two simple updates can make. Just updating your cabinets can turn a kitchen from a dark and isolated room, to a bright and welcoming room.

Light Fixtures

Go through your home and see what light fixtures could use come updating. Replacing light fixtures can make a large difference in your home’s appearance. If you don’t have the budget to replace all the fixtures in your home, start with the ones in the kitchen and above tables as those make the largest impressions in a room. Then move to the main living areas, and replace the bedroom fixtures last. A bright statement fixture can really tie a room together and thus make the room feel more expensive which can increase your selling price.

Paint

Adding a fresh coat of paint to all of your walls is one of the easiest and most effective upgrades to make before you sell. Sticking with a neutral palette will ensure you don’t scare away potential buyers, and will help your home appear more cohesive and move in ready. It’s also a good idea to give your front door a fresh coat while you’re at it. The front door is the entryway into the home, and can make a lasting impression on home buyers.

Landscaping

Curb appeal goes a long way in attracting potential home buyers. Do you have a large empty strip of bark that could use a nice flower bed? How about pruning the shrubs and trees? Even if you don’t plan to sell your home right away, you might consider planting some perennials so they are well established by the time you want to sell your home. Attractive landscaping is a great way to make a positive lasting impression on future buyers.

You may also like: Tips to Finding the Perfect Western Washington Neighborhood

In this series, I highlight the businesses I like to refer to my friends, family, home buyers and sellers in the Pierce County area. This month I’m talking about The Melon Seed Deli and Frozen Yogurt in Tacoma, WA.

Community Recommendation Series: The Melon Seed Deli and Frozen Yogurt

Next time you’re in Tacoma and looking for a delicious local deli, you’ve got to check out The Melon Seed Deli and Frozen Yogurt! They offer delicious slider sandwiches, chili cheese fritos, chili dogs, salads, and high-quality frozen yogurt with toppings galore! They also have plenty of seating with free wi-fi. It unusual to find an eatery that master everything they serve (especially when it ranges from chili dogs to frozen yogurt) but The Melon has done just that. They have even been nominated for King5’s Best of Western Washington contest in the Sandwiches category. It’s a must stop joint in Tacoma!

Here’s what others have to say about The Melon Seed Deli and Frozen Yogurt:

This place is the bomb!! We went after seeing it on TikTok and I was expecting chaos. There was a line around the building, but the staff were so professional and efficient, and so nice even amid the craziness. 10/10. Will definitely be back. -Tyler

It is in my opinion and everyone I have met who has eaten here that they are The Best Sandwich shop in Tacoma. Amazing selection (Turkey Bacon & Chutney is my favorite) not your regular ham & cheese shop they do it right with flair and flavor! Spiked Tuna is my daughter’s favorite. The staff and owners are family owned locals that are part of our community. These people exude class and are always in high demand. I recommend you call ahead. -Mike

A group of us went to support this business today and we were NOT disappointed. We tried a handful of different items on the menu and EVERYTHING WAS DELICIOUS!!! You have to try the Bahama Mama. It’s worth every penny plus a tip. This an easy MUST TRY RESTAURANT. -Mer

You may also like: Community Recommendation Series: Fiesta Taqueria & Tequila Bar

In this series, I highlight the businesses I like to refer to my friends, family, home buyers and sellers in the Pierce County area. This month I’m talking about Fiesta Taqueria & Tequila Bar in Puyallup, WA.

Community Recommendation Series: Fiesta Taqueria & Tequila Bar

Fiesta Taqueria & Tequila Bar serves top notch Mexican food and tequila! Fiesta Taqueria was started to provide locals their signature gourmet Mex cuisine. They wanted to elevate Mexican street food to an art. From Carne Asada, with tender skirt steak seasoned to perfection, to Fiesta Molcajete served in a traditional “molcajete” stone grinding bowl, you’ll find the fiesta of flavors tantalizing. Don’t forget to try their famous Street Tacos, Tortas, or Burritos, and wash them down with one of over 150 different tequilas available! Real Mexican Street Food and Gourmet Mex in the heart of the Puyallup Valley.

Here’s what others have to say about Fiesta Taqueria:

One of the best margaritas I’ve ever had. The steak fajita burrito is my new favorite and their salsa bar is fantastic. They give you hot bean dip for your chips as well. The portions are also huge. -Nathan

I’ve eaten indoor when avail and outdoor, as well as take out. The food here is amazing no matter how you have it. I mostly have the ceviche and the arroz con pollo. I can’t say enough how delicious their food is. Their tequila selection is fabulous. -Tia

OUTSTANDING FOOD, very very friendly service, totally recommend it!! Moved from California 3yrs ago very disappointed in the Mexican food in Washington, found a new place to enjoy!! -Robert

We came in for lunch and the food was amazing. My new favorite Mexican restaurant. Sorry El Toro, you’ve been replaced. The staff was friendly and welcoming. We will be regulars. Chicken taco salad, cheese quesadilla and supreme Fiesta burrito, chimichanga supreme burrito w/picadillo. Amazing. -Leia

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A large part of what makes a house a home is the neighborhood that surround the house. Amid the excitement of searching for the perfect house for you and your family, don’t forget to pay attention to its surroundings. After all, a neighborhood you love, may be worth sacrificing an extra bathroom or white cabinets. Here are 4 tips to finding the perfect Western Washington Neighborhood.

Tips to Finding the Perfect Western Washington Neighborhood

Note Your Most Frequent Stops

Make a list of all the places you visit on the regular so you know how far the western Washington neighborhood would be from your frequently traveled locations. These places include your gym, church, grocery store, relative’s house, or shopping mall. For each neighborhood you’re considering moving to, list how many miles and how many minutes it would take to drive there. The gas money alone may steer you toward a closer neighborhood. The last thing you want is to regret purchasing a house because it’s too far from your amenities.

School District

Even if you don’t have school age children, buying. A home in a Western Washington neighborhood within a good school district will lift the overall neighborhood safety as well as make your home easier to resell in the future. If you do have school age children, visit each school the home in question is zoned for and make sure it’s to your liking. It’s frequently difficult to opt in to a certain district if you are out of bounds, so make sure you’re setting up your kids for success.

Take a Stroll

Before signing your closing paperwork, make sure to walk round the community on a weekend. Are there a lot of families out and about doing the same thing? Or are most people sticking indoors with the blinds shut? Are people friendly who you pass? Are the parks and common areas well taken care of? Answering these questions will give you a good idea of the sense of community and can also be an indicator of safety. You want to know what to expect when you move into your new home.

Trust Your Gut

The Western Washington neighborhood may be safe and in a good school district, but none of that matters if you don’t feel comfortable there. Can you see yourself spending time on the front porch? Do you see yourself building lasting relationships with your neighbors? Do you think your kids will get along with the neighborhood kids? Your neighborhood can have a huge impact on your daily life. It’s worth the time and effort to research, to make sure you’re moving into the perfect place for you and your family.

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In this series, I highlight the businesses I like to refer to my friends, family, home buyers and sellers in the Pierce County area. This month I’m talking about Crumbl Cookies in Puyallup, WA.

Community Recommendation Series: Crumbl Cookies

Who doesn’t love a gooey warm chocolate chip cookie?! Crumbl Cookies is home of the world’s BEST chocolate chip cookie. They also have a weekly rotating menu that gives you a variety of new flavors to choose from each week. You don’t even have to leave your home to have an exquisite freshly baked cookie. The delivery drivers can bring fresh cookies straight to your home. But, if you’re out and about and want to visit the store, Crumbl Cookies will welcome you with the unmistakable smell of freshly baked cookies. To all you foodies out there looking for a great photo op, Crumbl provides beautifully made cookies presented in a perfect insta-worthy pink box.

Here’s what others have to say about Crumbl Cookies:

BEST cookies!! We love the set up at the store, easy to order, no wait times and the staff is always so friendly and helpful! We are obsessed and we look forward to the new cookie lineup every Sunday!! The best is the warm Snickerdoodle but we always enjoy trying new cookies!! –Liz

I LOVE Crumbl! My family and I go here every Friday to try the new weekly flavors. The staff is very friendly and the store is always so clean. And of course the cookies are YUMMY! If you are ever in the mood for a treat, make sure you stop by. –Karly

I have a few friends who have said that Crumbl cookies were the absolute best. I kind of avoided them as I typically just like a cookie and nothing “extra,” but, let me tell you…from the first bite of these delicious cookies, I will be a regular for life. Truly the most delicious cookies I have ever had. –Stephanie

To learn more about Crumbl Cookies, visit: https://crumblcookies.com/

You may also like: Community Recommendation Series: Simply 3 Boutique

More people are working from home these days due to the novel Coronavirus. Companies have adapted and pivoted to the work from home lifestyle and some companies have made the decision to allow their employees to work from home for the unforeseeable future. So with all this added time at home, you need to be able to relax and unwind at home. It needs to be a sanctuary that brings you peace. For everyone feeling the need of a little change up, here are 5 simple tips to make your space feel like home.

5 Simple Tips to Make Your Space Feel Like Home

De-clutter

One of the best ways to make your space feel like home is to de-clutter. A cluttered space is a cluttered mind. Remove all boxes and any piles of “junk.” Take time to finally go through those boxes in your office and create more space. You can even start small with one cabinet at a time, but reorganizing what you already have is the best way to find joy! You might also find that you have a bunch of items to donate or throw away, so taking trips to the donation center can help clear your space (and serve as a tax write off).

Make and create your bed

Your bed is your haven! Take an extra 2 minutes every morning and make the bed. After a long day, seeing that your bed is made and ready for you is very relaxing. Making your bed in the morning will help you kick start a day of productivity. In addition to making your bed each morning, pick up some new pillows for a refresh in color. These can be simple throw pillows, or even a new pillow sheet color. Adding something new and exciting to your haven can help make it inviting.

Wall décor

Your walls should smile back at you, especially the walls in the rooms you hang out in the most. Add personality to your space with frame of your family, temporary wallpaper, a travel poster, or maybe a mirror to make the place look bigger. The best part about this is that you can be totally creative and curate a wall of décor that makes you smile!

Lighting

Balance the room with lighting. A bright space can help energize you, with floor lamps in 2 corners and maybe one next to seating (like a couch or corner chair). With all of the light, you’ll feel like the space is larger and you’ll feel ready to unwind.

Scent

When decorating for the 5 senses, don’t forget smell. A candle in the kitchen and the bathroom while you shower, make your home feel like an oasis. Some people also leave dryer sheets in dresser drawers or coat closets for more extra fresh moments in the space.

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The VA home loan offers some unbeatable benefits for active military members and veterans. From $0 down, to no mortgage insurance, to relaxed credit requirements, the VA home loan is definitely worth exploring while searching for a home. Here are the top 4 benefits of the VA home loan.

Top Benefits of the VA Home Loan

$0 Down Payment

The down payment is typically the most challenging hurdle for prospective home buyers, especially first-time home buyers. Qualified veterans can obtain a VA home loan without making any down payment at all. Compared to Conventional and FHA home loans, this translates to significant savings upfront. Conventional home loans typically require at least 10 if not 20 percent down, while FHA home loans require at least 3.5 percent down. The amazing benefit of being able to purchase a home with $0 down is that veterans get to fulfill the American Dream without having to spend years saving up for a down payment.

No Mortgage Insurance

A lot of first-time home buyers are going with an FHA loan since the down payment required is 3.5% (as opposed to the conventional 10 or 20 percent). The down side to paying 3.5% down is that it comes with mortgage insurance of a few hundred dollars a month (depending on the loan amount). The VA home loan doesn’t require monthly mortgage insurance. Skipping the monthly mortgage insurance will help veteran home buyers save hundreds of dollars per month.

Low Interest Rates

Typically, the VA home loan offer the lowest interest rate of all loan types. Since the VA guarantees a portion of every VA loan, financial institutions can offer lower interest rates than other loan types (0.5 to 1 percent lower than conventional rates). On a 30 year $250,000 loans, the difference between paying 4 percent and 4.75 percent equates to $40,000 in savings over the life of the loan. This is one of the top benefits of the VA Home Loan.

Flexible Credit Requirements

Veterans don’t need a perfect score to secure home financing. In fact, the flexibility of credit score allows more veterans to secure a home loan than if they went with a conventional loan. Some lenders allow scores as low as 580 which is significantly lower than the 620 minimum score for other loan types. The flexibility of credit requirements allows veterans to buy a home faster as they don’t need to spend years on credit repair.

You may also like: Financial Benefits of Owning a Home

In this series, I highlight the businesses I like to refer to my friends, family, home buyers and sellers in the Pierce County area. This month I’m talking about Simply 3 Boutique in Spanaway, WA.

Community Recommendation Series: Simply 3 Boutique

Simply 3 Boutique is a women’s clothing and kids boutique. They also specialize in home décor and accessories. Simply 3 Boutique is located in Spanaway and is recently popular for their holiday pajamas/apparel and Christmas décor (ornaments, and other tree accessories). This is the perfect boutique for Washingtonians as they have woven a PNW theme throughout their items. Mountains, camping, and forests are popular themes you’ll see printed on their clothes and home décor items. Additionally, they have new inventory every season to fit your clothing and home décor needs. Community is very important to this boutique as they often participate in Sip and Shop events around Pierce County, and well as encourage their customers to support small businesses, especially in the COVID era. If you aren’t’ able to make it into their shop, they also have a user friendly online shopping portal where you can ship their inventory to your home. They are open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

Here’s what people have to say about Simply 3 Boutique:

“This boutique has a wonderful selection and I can’t wait to purchase more to add to my collection!” -Maria

“Lots of cute stuff and tons of inventory!!” -Shawna

“I love that they have matching mama and kid clothing! Shirts, sweatshirts, dresses, pajamas, and more. Perfect for twinning and picture worthy! Every mama needs at least one matching outfit with her kiddos, and Simply 3 Boutique can hook you up!” -Rose

To learn more about Simply 3 Boutique, visit their website at https://www.simply3boutique.com/

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