History of a [not so] Boring Town

Have you or someone you know ever grown up in a super small town and said that when they “grew up” that they couldn’t WAIT to move away? Yeah, I grew up in a town like that.

One of those tiny towns where all my friends said they’d never come back. In fact, there was a song written about our little ol’ town to that effect. A song by one of my all-time fav bands growing up, a punk-ska band that originated in Florida – because everything amazing comes from Florida like Publix Subs, Lilly Pulitzer (shop local at The Palm on Park!) and Boca Grande Beaches, for instance. A band by the name of Less Than Jake (I hear they’re also big in Japan, just sayin’).

To hear its awesomeness, here’s their song direct from their album “Hello Rockview” and YouTube channel; but don’t stop there, this “boring town” gets better. So, so much better!

 

Ok, so where do things look up?

How about my birthday, for starters. For the last 31 years, I’ve had pretty much the worst birthday date in the history of birthday dates. I was born the day – one day – after Christmas, December 26. One my Canadian friends would call “Boxing Day.” Why is that so bad? How about for the last 31ish years I’ve heard… “here’s your Christmas… aaaaand birthday gift!!” *hands me combined gift*

Tis’ the season to give and not receive. Totally cool with that, but still, had I been born on Christmas in July, that’d be total awesomeness. Well, my friends, I’m happy to say the

Chris Demakes_Ashley Houseman 2

John (my hubby), Chris DeMakes, Me on his 1st Solo Tour at The Celtic Ray Irish Pub, 12/26/14

suckiness streak ended 2 years ago… when Chris DeMakes, lead singer of Less Than Jake, decided to do a “solo tour” and not ONLY play in my hometown at my favorite Irish Pub, The Celtic Ray, but he’s played the last 2 years in a row ON MY BIRTHDAY. Not going to lie, the holy grail of all birthday gifts came to me this past year when not only did Chris sing (& dedicate!) my favorite Less Than Jake song “History of a Boring Town” (see above), he – along with the rest of The Ray – sang “happy birthday” to me. Mind. Blown. Best. Birthday. EVER!

 

Chris Demakes_Ashley Houseman 1

Me, my bestie Kellee & Chris DeMakes on the 2nd Solo tour at Celtic Ray, 12/26/15

Yay, a great birthday tradition for me, so what makes this town even more awesome? How about my job, and my newest co-workers-of-a-team? My hubby, John, and I work together as a real estate team we call Houseman & Co with Coldwell Banker Sunstar Realty… and as of a few months ago, we have had the opportunity to work alongside another team – THE DeMakes Team – composed of papa Doug DeMakes and the one and only, Chris DeMakes.

 

It’s ok, you can be quasi-jealous. We daily have the pleasure of brushing shoulders with a world-renowned rock star celeb who was also not only one of our favorite musicians growing up, but is one of our lifelong family friends.

 

Doug DemakesDoug Demakes started in the real estate biz in 1980 with a main concentration in new construction and residential sales.  He says his favorite thing about having his son Chris in town when he’s not on the road is “Spending time together, and working out as a family at Krav Maga with the Shumans ATA Martial Arts and “getting excited for Chris’ new addition in December 2016!”  When it comes to working together, Doug feels that Coldwell Banker is a generous and giving company. Even when Chris is on tour, we’re multi-tasking while he’s on the road and working [everywhere and] anywhere from Florida to California to England, whatever the real estate need is for our customer, we can take care of it from the bus – phone or computer. One of us is always available, whether we’re entertaining on the road or in town at the office, we’ve been in [and selling] Florida for 40 years!”

Chris is quite the busy guy, and when he’s not on the road rocking out his talents, he’s at the office, he’s spending quality time with clients, he and dad are at the closing table. When I asked him what his favorite thing about real estate is, Chris replied, “Seeing the joy on the faces of first-time home-buyers when I help them find their dream home. Such a rewarding feeling!”

So what brought all this awesomeness together into an inspiration for a blog? Simple. I’m going with my bestie, who we’ll call Nurse Kellee, to witness Less Than Jake “Make Warped Tour Great Again” and rock the faces off of thousands of fans this Friday (July 1st, 2016) in St. Petersburg, Florida at Vinoy Park.

Want to know when the Vans Warped Tour ’16 is making a stop near your house? I’ve included the schedule, the killer line-up as well as the direct link to get your tix… because if you haven’t been to Warped Tour at least once in your lifetime, your bucket list is missing an action item –  and that, my friend, would make you a victim of living in a boring town!

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Less Than Jake live at Vans Warped Tour ’16 in Dallas, Texas (photo credit: Mike Brooks)

 

MON.
JUN 27
NEW ORLEANS, LA
MARDI GRAS WORLD
WED.
JUN 29
NASHVILLE, TN
THE FAIRGROUNDS NASHVILLE
THU.
JUN 30
ATLANTA, GA
LAKEWOOD AMPHITHEATER
FRI.
JUL 1
ST. PETERSBURG, FL
VINOY PARK
SAT.
JUL 2
ORLANDO, FL
TINKER FIELD
SUN.
JUL 3
WEST PALM BEACH, FL
PERFECT VODKA AMPHITHEATRE AT THE SOUTH FLORIDA FAIRGROUNDS
TUE.
JUL 5
CHARLOTTE, NC
PNC MUSIC PAVILION CHARLOTTE
WED.
JUL 6
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA
VETERANS UNITED HOME LOANS AMPHITHEATER AT VIRGINIA BEACH
THU.
JUL 7
SYRACUSE, NY
NEW YORK STATE FAIR: GRAY LOT
FRI.
JUL 8
CAMDEN, NJ
BB&T PAVILION
SAT.
JUL 9
WANTAGH, NY
NIKON AT JONES BEACH THEATER
SUN.
JUL 10
HARTFORD, CT
THE XFINITY THEATRE
MON.
JUL 11
SCRANTON, PA
THE PAVILION AT MONTAGE MOUNTAIN
WED.
JUL 13
MANSFIELD, MA
XFINITY CENTER
THU.
JUL 14
DARIEN CENTER, NY
DARIEN LAKE PAC
FRI.
JUL 15
BURGETTSTOWN, PA
FIRST NIAGARA PAVILION
SAT.
JUL 16
COLUMBIA, MD
MERRIWEATHER POST PAVILION
SUN.
JUL 17
HOLMDEL, NJ
P.N.C. BANK ARTS CENTER
TUE.
JUL 19
NOBLESVILLE, IN
KLIPSCH MUSIC CENTER
WED.
JUL 20
CUYAHOGA FALLS, OH
BLOSSOM MUSIC CENTER
THU.
JUL 21
CINCINNATI, OH
RIVERBEND MUSIC CENTER
FRI.
JUL 22
AUBURN HILLS, MI
THE PALACE OF AUBURN HILLS
SAT.
JUL 23
TINLEY PARK, IL
HOLLYWOOD CASINO AMPHITHEATER
SUN.
JUL 24
SHAKOPEE, MN
CANTERBURY PARK
TUE.
JUL 26
MILWAUKEE, WI
MARCUS AMPHITHEATRE
WED.
JUL 27
MARYLAND HEIGHTS, MO
HOLLYWOOD CASINO AMPHITHEATRE
THU.
JUL 28
BONNER SPRINGS, KS
PROVIDENCE MEDICAL CENTER AMPHITHEATER
SAT.
JUL 30
SALT LAKE CITY, UT
UTAH STATE FAIRPARK
SUN.
JUL 31
DENVER, CO
PEPSI CENTER ARENA LOT
MON.
AUG 1
ALBUQUERQUE, NM
BALLOON FIESTA PARK
TUE.
AUG 2
PHOENIX, AZ
PHOENIX EVENT COMPLEX
FRI.
AUG 5
SAN DIEGO, CA
QUALCOMM STADIUM AT JACK MURPHY FIELD
SAT.
AUG 6
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA
SHORELINE AMPHITHEATRE
SUN.
AUG 7
POMONA, CA
POMONA FAIRPLEX
TUE.
AUG 9
LAS VEGAS, NV
HARD ROCK HOTEL & CASINO
THU.
AUG 11
NAMPA, ID
FORD IDAHO CENTER
FRI.
AUG 12
AUBURN, WA
WHITE RIVER AMPHITHEATER
SAT.
AUG 13
PORTLAND, OR
PORTLAND EXPO CENTER

Miami #SquadGoals: Coldwell Banker’s 2016 Social Squad!

It’s officially official. Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC has announced another lineup of stellar [social] peeps to represent the entire Coldwell Banker brand for the 2016 Generation Blue Experience [aka #GenBlue] for this year’s hottest location yet… Miami, Florida!

Personally, I’m beyond humbled to be asked to return to the ‘Squad for the 4th year in a row, as this socially savvy group is compiled of some of the most brilliant social media personalities in the industry.

This year’s line-up:

Taylor Corey:                  @taycorey
Andrea Geller:                @AndreaGeller 
George L. Rosario:        @BIG_George_NYC
Sunny Lake:                    @bhamsunny
Kim V. Colaprete:         @seattledivas
Chavi M. Hohm:           @chaviH
Heather M. Ostrom:    @RosevilleRockLn
Sharon Steele:               @sharonsteelenj
Sean Carpenter:           @SeanCarp
Ashley Houseman:      @brokerEXCLUSIVE
Audrey Maine:              @audrey_maine
Linda Aaron:                 @skynnard
Melissa Mummery:     @melissa_mummery

 

I guess that means it’s time to hit Elite Fitness with Trainer Carrie [most patient trainer EVER] in between tweets and it’s now socially acceptable to buy that “Squad Goals” shirt I’ve been eyeing at Target. Forget “fetch”, thanks for making “squad goals” happen, Alexandra!

2016 Gen Blue Social Squad (1)

Bucket List: Realtor.com Pro “Realtor of the Day” [check!]

Hundreds. Thousands. [Hundreds of thousands?] of Realtors® all over the world share and market their listings on social media marketing daily.

Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. LinkedIn. Snapchat. Just a few of the favorite avenues that help get you and your seller’s goods in front of a seemingly limitless global audience at the click of a button.

Likes. Loves. Favs. Double-taps. Comments. Shares. Retweets. Just a few ways for people to show you some love, support and straight up help you to boost your goods to the top of the their news feeds or timelines to help you to increase your visibility among their network to get your listing in front of an even bigger audience and hopefully, a potential customer.

Receiving this kind of love and support on social media is always exciting, encouraging and more often times rewarding – I mean, who doesn’t love leads, referrals and new potential customers – right?

In the small little part of the world known as Houseman & Co, this ultimate compliment was given to us today, as we had the opportunity to be featured as the “Realtor of the Day” with Realtor.com Pro®. Not only was our b-e-a-utiful condo in the desirable Harbor Walk Condominium with stunning sunrise and sunsets views from 3 balconies featured as the listing of the day, our Realtor.com profile was also featured on the main page of their Instagram profile. Basically, in the world of social media love, likes and shares – this is the upmost compliment to us as a growing team, to our seller, to Coldwell Banker, and to me as a whole.

Thank you, Realtor Pro® for the feature. Thank you! Who knows, maybe my next step will be a co-hosting a commercial [in plain English] with Elizabeth Banks?! Yes, please!

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Post by @RealtorPro on Instagram featuring @HousemanAndCo as their #RealtorOfTheDay

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@RealtorPro’s profile on Instagram featuring Ashley Houseman’s Realtor.com Profile

 

11 Hollywood Inspired Must Do’s While Attending Gen Blue

Last year, my husband and I added few extra days to our Generation Blue Experience to make a little time for vacay. It was our first “us” trip without our two sweet minions (see what I did there?) since our honeymoon 5 years prior. Result = a HUGE success, which leads to our now 6 day venture in the land of the rich and famous – 6 days in Hollywood and the ‘Hills, SO much to do and so little time!

Our “itinerary” last year was inspired by some of our favorite flicks that took place around the Big Apple, so to keep the merriment going, we’ve revisited some of our favorite films that were filmed in (or around) Tinseltown to inspire us to make a few pit stops while we’re west coast bound.

1. Golf ‘n Stuff – Karate Kid
Location: 10555 Firestone Blvd, Norwalk, CA 90650
Karate Kid Golf n Stuff

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who hasn’t wished they could’ve tagged along on Daniel and Ali’s first date full of go karts, bumper boats, arcade games galore with a little hand holding in the photo booth? Ok, maybe not tag along, but definitely have your inner kid just dying to go there for yourself. Yeah, that’s me. Golf n’ Stuff is actually family fun park that’s still around today – and it’s on our hit list.

2. “McFly House” & “Enchantment Under the Sea” Dance – Back to the Future
Location: 9303 Roslyndale Ave & First United Methodist Church of Hollywood, 6817 Franklin Ave
BTTF McFly Guitar Dance

 

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t tell you how many years growing up I asked for a “hover board” for Christmas or just *wished* I could find the ultimate prom/homecoming dress to resemble Lorraine’s iconic attire from Back to the Future’s (I & II) “Enchantment Under the Sea” Dance. This trilogy has been (and probably forever will be) in my top 3 all-time favs, which is why getting a glimpse of Methodist Church of Hollywood (where the dance was held in the gym) on Franklin Ave, as well as checking out the McFly Residence in “Lyon Estates” is on list of places to pass by.

3. Randy’s Donuts – Iron Man 2
Location: West Manchester Ave, Inglewood, Los Angeles
Randys Donuts Ironman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some like to travel for the sights, I like to travel for the food. In this case, the combination between the two is epic – as in the sunrise scene of Iron Man 2 where Nick Fury finds Tony Stark/Iron Man/Robert Downey Jr after this birthday bash lounging – literally – in the donut of the famous Randy’s Donuts. Although this is no fancy cuisine, who can turn down a hot, fresh glazed donut and a good ol’ cup of joe?

4. Rodeo Drive – Pretty Woman
Location: Rodeo Drive is a two-mile long street, in Beverly Hills, California
Pretty Woman Shopping

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julia Robert’s character was sent out enjoy the ultimate shopping spree – with or without a personal shopper – along Beverly Hill’s Rodeo Drive. Here you’ll find the most desirable window shopping as well as do some heavy plastic dropping at some of the world’s most exclusive designers such as Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry, Fendi, Prada, Roberto Cavalli, Giorgio Armani, Etro, Tiffany & Co, Chanel and Cartier.

5. Sunday Drive through the Hills – Weezer’s “Beverly Hills”
Location: Beverly Hills (residential areas)

“…Beverly Hills, that’s where I want to be! Living in Beverly Hills…” Here is where my inner “Realtor” kicks in: Mansions. Lush landscaping. Potential Previews properties heaven. Not to mention, some of these residences are owned by the most famous faces in the world, which is why we’ll be cruising through the ‘Hills jamming out with Weezer with the dream “rolling like a celebrity!”

6. Hollywood Sign & Griffin Park – Friends With Benefits
Location: Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills area of the Santa Monica Mountains
Friends with Benefits Hollywood Sign

 

 

 

 

 

H. O. L. L. Y. W. O. O. D. The most iconic symbol of Hollywood is the Hollywood sign itself. One can arguably say that when you think of Hollywood, THE sign is the very first thing to populate your thought process – which is no surprise as to why it is on the list of things you must see. Although there is an overabundance of flicks to choose from that frame up this site, one in particular tops off the others – where Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis hike up to the top of the sign and climb into one of the “O’s”, where LAPD shows up demanding them to jump down. Frozen in fear, Timberlake can’t jump, and is forcefully removed from the sign via helicopter. Hilarousness.

7. Rose Bowl – Draft Day
Location: 1001 Rose Bowl Dr, Pasadena, CA 91103
rose-bowl-stadium-531570

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is going to be a stretch… although Draft Day was NOT filmed at the Rose Bowl (nor has a Rose Bowl reference, for that matter), I’m doing a throwback to some personal family ties. My brother, John Hall, was the place kicker for the Wisconsin Badgers (ON WISCONSIN!) during the 80th  Rose Bowl Game on January 1, 1994 where the Wisconsin Badgers defeated the UCLA Bruins 21-16. Draft Day features the Badgers and hubby and I have tix to watch the Bruins take on Utah Saturday, October 04, 2014 at 7:30pm. Lifelong mission to see the famous Rose Bowl in person: fulfilled.

8. Balboa Island (The Banana Stand) – Arrested Development
Location: Oceanside Wharf boardwalk, on Balboa Island in Newport Beach
Arrested Development Banana Stand

 

 

 

 

 

“There’s always money in the banana stand…” the famous words of George Bluth in one of the must underrated comedy series of all time, in the life of the Houseman household. Featured along the beautiful boardwalk of the Balboa Pier, this is one of many places to visit for some beautiful views and a chance to dip your toes in the Pacific. You may also want to check out the Santa Monica Pier, Venice Boardwalk and Malibu.

9. Dolby Theatre – Academy Awards/American Idol
Location: 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028
Oscars

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Lights, camera, action! How many famous faces have visited this venue? Hundreds, thousands… probably way too many to count. And who will be sitting amongst the seats of the stars? YOU!! Our opening session which will be jam packed with some incredible speakers and lead by someone super famous (see “must do” number #10) and will be another event in the book, right behind American Idol and the Academy Awards.

10. Hollywood Game Night – Jane Lynch Selfie
Location: My. Camera. #Selfie
Jane Lynch_SELFIE_Social Squad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Selfies” are totally the thing right now, especially after Ellen Degeneres walked into the crowd to take one the most epic selfies with some Hollywood stars ever taken with a few faces such as Jennifer Lawerence, Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Channing Tatum, Meryl Streep, Jared Leto and Kevin Spacey. Although the Social Squad hasn’t quite hit “A List” status, I like to think that they’re a pretty stellar group – which is why I went ahead and created the ultimate Gen Blue selfie with Jane Lynch (host of Hollywood Game Night & Fox’s GLEE Star) just in case we don’t all fit into the picture.

11. Universal Studios Hollywood – Despicable Me
Location: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608
Despicable Me

 

 

 
“It’s so FLUFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFY!” I think I spit out my soda when I heard this in theaters since it was so stinkin’ cute! This animated feature is fun for kids of all ages (yes, that’s adults too) and is loaded with these adorable yellow beings called “minions.” Minions are the mastermind behind everything that is genius, and hilarious, in this movie and is also a ride at Universal Studios – in which you will have the opportunity to experience since this will be the location of our CLOSING PARTAAAAAY! That’s right, last year we were livin’ it up in the American History Museum, this year we’re closing down an entire theme park – just because you bleed blue and are a part of the Generation Blue Experience! I couldn’t imagine being a part of any other brand other than Coldwell Banker, not only because they know how to put together one incredible lineup of speakers to help us to grow our business, but they sure now how to throw one heck of a party for its brand. Can’t wait to see everyone this week at #GenBlue!!

Consciously Uncoupling

A blog somehow tying “Consciously Uncoupling” and “Real Estate” together to follow soon. Very soon.

In the meantime, enjoy Tracy Miller‘s take on the matter with her thoughts in the New York Daily News Article, “‘Conscious uncoupling’: Gwyenth Paltrow explores spiritual side of divorce on Goop”

Well done, Tracy. Well done.

Pre-conscious uncoupling. Or cosciously coupled.

Prior to conscious uncoupling, Gwyneth and Chris enjoyed happier times while consciously coupled.

The original post signed “Love, Gwyneth & Chris” can be found here in their March 25th, 2014 blog post on Goop.

You can follow Ashley on Twitter at @brokerEXCLUSIVE, Tracy Miller at @MillerTracyL or the New York Daily News at @NYDailyNews 

Thanks for checking out my real estate blog and http://www.ConsciouslyUncoupling.com

Pimpin’ the iPad (first of many video blogs)

It finally happened. I caved. I’ve now joined the the Apple-loving world of obsessed iPad users.

Thanks to help from hubs and iMovie, here’s the first of many iPad video blogs to come. Enjoy, this is just a snippet of our wonderful (& often quite random) marriage.

Adventures in First Time Home Buying (what to look for and what to avoid)

[Blog content featured on Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter, May 16th, 2013: http://blog.coldwellbanker.com/adventures-in-first-time-home-buying-what-to-look-for-and-what-to-avoid/]

There’s nothing more exciting than researching homes on the internet, sifting through hundreds (maybe thousands) of photos of homes listed for sale until you narrow down the possibilities and compile your list of those you’d like to see in person. In most cases, a picture is truly worth a thousand words.

On numerous occasions, I’ve had the pleasure of walking through homes with First Time Home Buyers to discover some of the most outrageous and interesting features a house could possibly possess. Some in which you wish the Realtor would have posted pictures of, so you could’ve ruled it out as a possibility and saved yourself the gas and your precious time to see it.

Epic Fail: Roadblock for Resale!

Epic Fail: Roadblock for Resale!
Blog content featured on Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter, May 16th, 2013: http://blog.coldwellbanker.com/adventures-in-first-time-home-buying-what-to-look-for-and-what-to-avoid/

Homes with holes in the floor (we could see the dirt fill below), bathrooms with the door against the toilet, homes that were previous crime scenes (which I found out later via “Googling” the address), an ENTIRE home that was a dedicated shrine of Dale Earnhardt Jr (I’m a fan, just not an entire house of it) and my personal favorite:  a bidet in the middle of a bedroom, yes, a bedroom.

It’s tough to see yourself in a home when either photos don’t do a good home justice or when a potential home is washed out by clutter or issues that are hard to look past. Here’s a few tips to help you to weed out the bad ones from the diamonds in the rough:

Do Your Homework:
Go online:  Did you know that most Realtors can send you listings via email to check out from the web from the comfort of your couch? Use their services to check out homes! Their MLS will be your most up-to-date source for what’s available on the market. Also check out www.ColdwellBanker.com and their app as well.
Do the Drive-by:  If it’s a good possibility, drive by the home and see if you like the location. This will help you to weed out more homes than you think.

Look Past the Surface:
Good Bones:  If shag carpet and gaudy wallpaper isn’t your thing, don’t sweat it. Those are cheap fixes to a home that may have great bones. Look past the things that are easily replaceable and look at the layout of the home, as adding an addition is way more expensive than that gorgeous granite you’ve been dreaming of.
Don’t Fall for the Bells & Whistles: Quite opposite of the last tip. A home may have some sweet upgrades like solid countertops and stainless appliances, but you aren’t too crazy about the layout. Just remember, you can always customize the home down the road but living in a home with an awkward layout can eventually get annoying. It’s more expensive to do a total renovation (knocking down walls, permits, etc) than it is to buy an entire stainless kitchen on a Memorial Day sale.

Think About the Future:
Resale, Resale, Resale:  That small bedroom that is a decent “office” now may not be a considered good-sized bedroom for a buyer down the road when you’re trying to sell, as this personally cost us 10+ buyers when selling our home!  Don’t compromise on things that you think may hinder your chances of selling the home in the future.
Replacement Costs:  Buying a home is an investment, especially if you have to replace a ton of stuff inside. Take a closer look at things like the roof, air conditioning unit, pool pump, and other high ticket items that could be in need of replacing. It’s good to budget replacement costs into your yearly budget, but you don’t want to take on a home that needs everything replaced all at once.

A Home Fit for a Family:
Busy Streets:  If you have or plan on having kids, that’s great, just make sure the house accommodates them! Any parent of a toddler will tell you that living on a busy street is one of the scariest things in the world as you watch cars fly by your driveway. Consider an area that has less traffic and will be safer for the little ones.
A Tub:  As silly as it sounds, you will want a tub in the guest bathroom. Unless you want your sweet munchkins taking over your master every night until they can bathe themselves, save yourself the insanity and make sure there’s a tub in the guest bathroom for the little ones.

These are just a few things to think about when you’re looking to buy a home for the first time. When in doubt about certain things, always consult your Realtor, as they are your best source of information in the home buying process.

No matter what your first time home buying adventure is like, just remember, you could always have a bidet in the middle of your bedroom.